Since retiring from professional boxing with an unmatched 50-0 record, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has turned his attention to promoting and mentoring the next generation of fighters.
Despite still being deeply involved in the sport on a daily basis, Mayweather says there is no temptation for him to come out of retirement.
“As of right now, I’m doing exhibitions,” Mayweather told CNN en Español’s Raul Saenz. “I’m 100% sure that I’m not fighting against any boxer anymore. So, that’s out of the question. I mean, just my faculties mean a lot to me. Money don’t make me, I make money and my health is more important than money.
“As far as me doing exhibitions and me fighting MMA guys, will I do that in a box ring? Absolutely.”
Considered one of the sport’s all-time greats, Forbes estimates Mayweather’s fight against Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in 2017 generated more than $550 million in revenue. Mayweather earned a reported $275 million, a sum generated both from his roles as fighter and also promoter.
Outside of the boxing ring, Mayweather was arrested in September 2010 after authorities said he punched Josie Harris – the mother of three of his children at his Las Vegas home – where she was living with his two young sons and a daughter.
The fighter pleaded guilty 14 months later to a reduced charge of misdemeanor battery and two counts of harassment. He was sentenced to three months, and he served two.
Mayweather was speaking to CNNEE ahead of one his fighters Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who boasts a so far unbeaten 23-0 record, taking on Leo Santa Cruz this Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.
‘The real atmosphere’
While most sporting events around the world have been played without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend’s bout has been moved from what would have been an empty Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut to Texas’ Alamodome, where around 10,000 fans are expected.
The NBA was widely praised for the success of its Disney World bubble, during which just two cases of Covid-19 were recorded, but Mayweather believes one of the crucial elements that most impacts sport at the highest level was missing.
“I’m happy we were able to move this to San Antonio so we can have the crowd, the real atmosphere,” Mayweather said. “Because when I be looking at boxing and there’s no crowd, I feel like I’m watching sparring boxing in a boxing gym. When there’s a crowd, there’s a different outcome.
“It’s no different from basketball. Congratulations to the Lakers, but it was like they were [playing] pickup ball because it was in a gym. But even if they were playing pick up, they are pickup champions. But I like it better with a crowd, because the crowd can shape things up a little bit.
“The crowd … if it’s on a basketball [court] or if it’s in an arena as far as with boxing … the crowd can shape things up and I like to see things up shook up a little, it’s a little bit better. So you’ve gotta deal with pressure when you’re on an elite stage.”
Davis, still only 25, is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and explosive fighters in the lower weight divisions. In Santa Cruz, a four-division champion, he faces by some distance his most accomplished opponent to date.
Davis has moved down a weight class to fight Santa Cruz for his WBA super featherweight title, though Davis’ WBA lightweight title will also be on the line.
Being a smaller boxer mentored by Mayweather has naturally put additional pressure and expectations on Davis’ shoulders. However, Mayweather believes it’s time for both of these fighters to create their own legacy.
“Anything I [do] now, my money is guaranteed because my name is engraved in stone,” he said. “I’ve proven myself for over twenty years of what I can do, and the numbers I can do on pay per view as well as streaming, so I’ve showed what I can do.
“Now it’s time for these young fighters to go out there on Halloween and show what they can do and I’m pretty sure Leo is in tip top shape, because Tank is in tip top shape and they need to go out there and do what they do .
“They are gonna have a crowd and we want the crowd to shake some things up to see what these guys can do under pressure.”