The boxers going through their exertions weren’t the only ones working up a sweat at the Mayweather Boxing Club gym in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 10. The air conditioning wasn’t working properly or perhaps it was simply overwhelmed by the number of bodies on the premises. It was Media Day and the joint was packed. This Mayweather dude sure knows how to draw a crowd.
The Vegas-based undercard fighters were in attendance, as was British super middleweight Chris Eubank Jr., but the focus was on “Money May” and his business partner Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions.
Ellerbe had a bone to pick with those in the media who have reported that sales for the Aug. 26 event have been sluggish. “There’s never been a boxing event that generated as much interest from casual fans; we have already passed the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in certain categories on the international side,” he said, asserting that there was already $60 million in the hopper which, according to Ellerbe, is more than double what is currently in the till for the Golovkin-Alvarez fight in September, an event that reportedly has already sold out.
Ellerbe projects that the fight will smash all records in the U.K. and Australia and that the box office take will likely surpass the $103 million tally for the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the record for a single-day sporting event. “Our event will be star-studded and that’s putting it mildly,” he said, “The A-listers keep growing larger. Every CEO from every major corporation in the world wants to be there.” Ellerbe then threw out the names of Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Angelique Jolie as those likely to be in attendance on fight night.
When Floyd Mayweather took the floor (actually he was seated on a couch), he was relaxed and composed and introspective and his comments were largely free of the vulgarities that marked the Mayweather-McGregor pre-fight four-city tour. He complimented his Irish opponent as a “true warrior,” apologized for the slur he directed at McGregor that was offensive to gays and lesbians, and finally put to rest the false story, previously debunked, that he and Conor McGregor travelled from Brooklyn to London on the same plane.
Two members of the media asked if he would carry McGregor to give the fans more bang for their buck if he discovered early into the fight that McGregor wasn’t in his league. He evaded the question by promising that it would be an entertaining fight. “After August 26th when the fight is over,” he said, “everyone will be happy.” (Of course, as one of the principals and also the promoter, one wouldn’t have expected him to say otherwise.)
Leonard Ellerbe insisted that Mayweather was fixated on scoring a knockout, something he last accomplished in 2011, but Floyd made no mention of it other than saying that it would redound to Conor McGregor’s credit if he was able to last the full 12 rounds. He repeated statements he made the previous day to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith regarding McGregor’s advantages — “he’s taller, has a longer reach and youth is on his side; I guess everyone says power is also on his side” –but said his experience and boxing I.Q. would be the deciding factors.
A victory would elevate Mayweather’s record to 50-0 which wouldn’t sit well with many old-timers. This never came up during Mayweather’s back-and-forth with the assembled media, but Leonard Ellerbe said that it wouldn’t bother Mayweather in the least if some folks insisted on attaching an asterisk to it. The 50-0 benchmark, said Ellerbe, is something that Floyd was never concerned with.
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