Floyd Mayweather Jnr recalls the reaction of his friends on the day he set himself up as an independent boxing business and told them: ‘The time will come when I make a hundred million dollars in one night.’
He says: ‘They told me I was crazy.’
That was when he broke away from Bob Arum, who is the promoter of the other combatant in the richest fight of all time.
Manny Pacquiao will also earn more than $100million in Las Vegas on May 2.
But Mayweather takes special pride in being his own boss as they break the boxing bank.
As the master of his own destiny, the man who calls himself Money dictated when this mega-mega-fight between the two best boxers on the planet would happen.
‘Five years too late,’ cry the critics. ‘It’s all in the timing,’ smiles Floyd.
Five years ago they would have split $60m at most. Five years ago only the boxing fraternity would have been paying attention. Five years ago we would have pitched up at his gym when we liked.
Now Mayweather will bank upwards of $180m, Pacquiao $120m.
Now the whole wide world is waiting their collision with bated breath.
On this frantic Tuesday, heavy security guarded the Mayweather Boxing Club for his media day. Cameras from more than 30 television stations, scores of journalists and his usual crew of friends and admirers await and eventually witness a nominal workout in that overcrowded, overheated room.
Ironically, given that the human threat to his unbeaten record is from Manila, the location is in a mini-Chinatown.
Does Floyd eat Filipino?
There are Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese cafes… but no restaurants specialising in Philippines food.
Mayweather arrived, somewhat on the late side, in his new, state-of-the-art, very expensive Mercedes Party Bus. He was preceded into the parking lot by his latest girlfriend driving an even costlier white Rolls Bentley coupe.
The rest of the super-charged fleet stayed home in the mansion’s garage.
Floyd was followed to work by an LAPD police car. Only this time they were not chasing the man who has had his run-ins with the law. They were guarding one of the most important assets of the city of Las Vegas, which stands to profit by billions in big fight week.
All in the timing.
‘This thing just grows and grows,’ says Mayweather. ‘We now have one of the biggest fights ever in boxing history. And its not only about the money.
‘One fight won’t define my legacy. What about the 47 I’ve already won?
‘It’s an important fight. It wraps everything together – the money and my boxing.
‘But if one fight defined everything this would be the only one I’d have needed.’
And after this, he says, there will be only one more.
Because it no longer amuses him like it did.
‘I’m pretty much done with all this,’ he tells a few of us summoned into a pocket in the middle of a crowd of people and cameras huge enough to do justice to a royal wedding.
‘It’s not fun like it was back then,’ he explains. ‘It’s business now. I don’t really enjoy it any longer.’
He promises to fulfil the sixth and last fight of his mega-millions Showtime pay-per-view contract: ‘Final one at the MGM Grand in September.’
Why always the MGM Grand Garden?
He grins, shakes a right wrist wrapped in a glittering diamond and gold bracelet.
It reminds him of the first time tickets for a fight of his there sold out inside six minutes and he happened to mention he had noticed a bejewelled watch in a shop window at one of the MGM hotels.
‘They just went and got it as a gift for me,’ he says. ‘Ran to about $400,000.’
He’s come a long way from the drug-strewn, gangland streets of Grand Rapids, Michigan where he grew up in poverty.
But much as those baubles are stamped with the hallmarks of his journey to wealth and fame, Mayweather knows it was a human quality which made it possible.
‘Loyalty,’ he says. ‘Loyalty is the heartbeat of boxing. Whenever I need something the MGM get it for me. When I fight one of the biggest fights of all time, I take it to the MGM Grand Garden.’
The clamour around him never stops but there have been heavily hyped events like this before which have turned into anti-climax for the public.
Will this one be worth the money, at $10,000 for a ringside seat rising to more than $200,000 on the black market, at virtually $100 per pay-per-view buy here in America?
It’s all in the timing: ‘Our names are way bigger than five years ago. You have the two best in the world fighting each other, at the pinnacle of their careers. And our styles should work. It’ll be exciting.’
Not that Mayweather is exactly jumping around in frenzied expectation: ‘I’m not excited. This is another fight for me. Yeah it’s big but basically it’s no different from all the others. Once we get in that ring it’s a level playing field.
‘At my age (38) I’m over getting nervous about an opponent. I’m past getting wound up. What I have to do is get in that ring and be myself. Be the best Floyd Mayweather.’
That, he is sure, will be enough to win.
The fight sells itself. But he carries a quiet air of confidence.
There is much speculation about Pacquiao storming his fabled defence but he says: ‘We’ll see. I know I can make adjustments to any fighter. Whatever he does, I can assess and make changes if I have to.
‘I’m calm, smooth, calculated and thinking five steps ahead of any opponent. But can he adjust? He’s a reckless fighter. We saw that when he got knocked out by (Juan Manuel) Marquez.’
All in the timing?
Mayweather is grateful that Pacquiao has survived long enough to play his part in what is fast approaching a half-billion dollar extravaganza.
‘If I fought as reckless as Manny,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t be here today. I’d be beaten up, worn out. I’ve controlled my fights.’
Pacquiao has also fought more often so by that assessment it is fortunate for him, Mayweather and their bankers that he is two years the younger.
Mayweather pauses and adds: ‘If I hadn’t made that decision to be my own boss I wouldn’t be where I will be in the Grand Garden on May 2.’
Wherever he goes in his adopted home town, be it a booming casino, a heaving night club or his favourite fast food joint Fatburger on the Vegas Strip, Mr Money brews up a storm.
One created by the nature of the desert blows into the marquee in which we are talking. Chairs and tables fly.
As most of the group run for cover Mayweather plays pretend scared, then strolls into his gym.
It seems nothing frightens this man who arrived for work this day in a convoy of ludicrously expensive vehicles.
Not a Nevada sand storm. Not Typhoon PacMan blowing in from the Philippines.
Source: Daily Mail');