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Floyd Mayweather The New Crossover Star

BY David A. Avila ON October 15, 2009
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In 2009 BMM, that’s Before Mayweather-Marquez, the world of boxing wondered who would be the next blockbuster pay-per-view star.

That’s no longer a question mark.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather has arrived with his pockets full of “make it rain money,” humongous body guards and a color coordinated entourage that know their duties better than front gate Hollywood security guards.

Mayweather, whether you like him or not, is the new “it” guy when it comes to attracting boxing fans, sports addicts and the general casual viewers who are intrigued by the “it” factor of whoever is “it” for the day.

Bob Arum, the king of the promoters and the guy who helped Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali and many others, at one time promoted Mayweather and was unable to keep the Las Vegas fighter.

Arum knows a thing or two about promoting boxing and deemed Mayweather unable to draw an arena full of fans. The Las Vegas-based promoter was confident that the fighter formerly known as “Pretty Boy Floyd” could not out-draw Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto.

Then it happened.

Floyd Mayweather accepted Juan Manuel Marquez’s public challenge that was made during his post fight comments after knocking out Juan Diaz. Amid retirement, he saw a perfect opportunity to return to the sport.

The fight wasn’t the thing. Marquez was skillful, but too darn small. What was amazing was the ability of this fight to draw more than 1 million pay-per-views.

Top Rank’s Arum wanted to know the reason why and immediately set his army of creditable boxing people to find out why.

“Whatever it was, it was much greater than our expectations,” said Arum honestly about misreading Mayweather’s drawing power. “The reason is Mayweather is a celebrity now in the black community. That’s what drove the buys. The urban areas all over the country were tuned in.”

So for those people who think the black community doesn’t have interest in boxing, well, they’re sadly misinformed.

Arum also added that Mayweather has become a crossover athlete who is recognizable to the regular sports fans who aren’t necessarily boxing followers.

“He’s even in commercials now,” Arum said.

With Pacman and Cotto just around the corner, Top Rank now feels that the winner versus Mayweather would definitely make big business.

Arum is not hedging on who he feels will win the fight on Nov. 14.

“Manny Pacquiao might beat Cotto, but it’s a really tough fight,” said Arum by telephone from Cotto’s training camp in Tampa. “How can anybody think this will be a Pacquiao run over?”

Before Pacquiao accepted the fight, his trainer Freddie Roach considered Cotto the second most difficult opponent and Sugar Shane Mosley the toughest. He considered Mayweather the third most difficult opponent.

But money talks. Real Money.

Like him or not, Mayweather is the man, the pay-per-view man. And it looks like the winner of Cotto-Pacquiao will be facing the new pay-per-view king.

“All these promoters that are saying boxing is dead don’t know what they are doing. It’s a question of marketing,” Arum says. “Even with these resources due to the economy, it’s still doing tremendous.”

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