Take some bad press and brilliant in-ring work and then mix in great boxing genes, street smarts and sharp business instincts, and you have the Floyd "Money" Mayweather machine. Over a 17-year boxing career, a kid from less-than-ideal beginnings in Grand Rapids, Mich., has literally built himself into a cash cow who is benefiting from a great deal of the milk his talents produce.
At 36, he isn't a kid anymore, but his last fight and consistent earning power are proof that he's still in the prime of his livelihood.
Things haven't always been perfect, but when you'll make $41.5 million for a night of honest work, who can criticize without exposing a heavy dose of haterade in their blood?
Mayweather is guaranteed to rake in that enormous total when he faces Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. No other fighter in the history of the sport has ever been guaranteed as much, per Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News.
Like every ultra-famous person in the world, Mayweather has his detractors. Some hate his bravado and flamboyant behavior, but Mayweather told David P. Greisman of Boxing Scene that it was all part of the master plan:
Everything was a business plan. My business plan was to be very, very entertaining. Be very wild. Turn it on when it’s time to turn it on, turn it off when it’s time to turn it off. And that’s what I did. I built my fan base. I became a pay-per-view star. I became a household name. That was the ultimate goal. It was just a business plan that I had.
It’s nothing fake. You’ve just got to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. That’s what I was talking about with the young fighter in my gym, Adrien Broner.
Broner is attempting to be Mayweather 2.0 so to speak, but he seems to have trouble "turning it off" when necessary. Perhaps that skill will come with age and maturity, or maybe there is only one Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Money has mastered the art of making himself respected by pure boxing fans, lovable enough to those not put off by his style and profitably hated by fans who can't tolerate the business plan.
In all three cases, people show up in droves to watch him perform. To quote Russell Crowe from The Gladiator: "Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"
While Mayweather is my pick to defeat Alvarez on Saturday, in victory or defeat, who can call Money a loser? It is hard not to respect a perfectly executed plan.
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