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Sports

Is Floyd coming to town?

Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing sources said yesterday that Floyd Mayweather Jr. may come over in two to three weeks to check out the country where the man who facilitated his biggest paycheck is from. Mayweather was supposed to fly in earlier but the trip was delayed by a few days because he underwent a minor procedure to remove a cyst in his shoulder.

It’s not certain why Mayweather is arriving or if he’s showing up at all. A source claimed he was invited by a promoter “to case the joint” before finalizing plans to bring over a band of NBA players in the summer. Another said he intends to put up a wellness, rehab and health center in the heart of Manila.

Or he could just be curious about the Philippines particularly as it’s a hotbed of boxing and Filipino fans by the thousands, maybe millions, were on the other side of the fence when he faced Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last May.

Mayweather, who turns 39 next month, has officially retired from the ring. He has unretired twice before so his credibility isn’t exactly unshaken. Mayweather recently walked away with a 49-0 record. Retiring at 50-0 has a nice ring to it but Mayweather doesn’t seem interested in leaving behind an exciting legacy.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, has announced his April 9 rubber match with Timothy Bradley will be his last fight. But if the money is right for a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao, will they turn down the chance to make more millions?

Mayweather’s farewell fight was a yawner against Andre Berto last September. The bout drew a pay-per-view audience of only 550,000. Three of Mayweather’s last four fights failed to breach the million mark, indicating a slippage in popularity. The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight raked in 4.6 million, a new world record. It took the Filipino icon to deliver at least $240 Million to Mayweather’s bank account. Mayweather hadn’t earned more than $80 Million before the Pacquiao deal.

Last month, Mayweather went all over the world, touring with his entourage. First stop was the South Pacific island of Bora Bora where he was joined by Justin Bieber. Mayweather traveled to Dubai where he tried out an indoor skiing arena with artificial snow and bought a $1.1 Million diamond-encrusted Hublot watch (he also owns a $2 Million Jacob and Co. Rainbow Tourbillion), went to Kevlavik in Iceland, Moscow in Russia, Istanbul in Turkey, Bucharest in Romania, Nice and Saint Tropez in France, Milan and Rome in Italy, Bucharest in Romania, Cairo in Egypt and Shannon in Ireland.

* * *

Early last year, he was booked to travel to Australia but his visa application was denied because of his prison record. Among the conditions of his visit were taking over an entire floor of a hotel for his 31-strong entourage, a 24-hour service crew of a butler, chef, make-up artist and barber and an endless supply of gummy bears. Last November, he was supposed to do a UK tour and promoters were ready to cough up 100,000 pounds for each of at least eight stops. The tour never materialized.

Mayweather has managed to remain in the spotlight even in retirement. A few days ago, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor called him out to fight after the self-proclaimed The Best Ever made racist remarks. Mayweather said McGregor gets away with murder in media because of the color of his skin while he’s branded as cocky and arrogant for blurting out the same things. McGregor’s rant bordered on the ridiculous when he said he would agree to fight Mayweather on a purse split of 80-20 in the mixed martial arts fighter’s favor. Mayweather didn’t even bother to react but at least, he was back in the news.

When Mayweather retired, Oscar de la Hoya said he wouldn’t be missed. De la Hoya said the fight game is better off without Mayweather whom he described as boring. Whether you like or hate Mayweather, it doesn’t matter to him. In the ring, Mayweather was the ultimate villain whom fans paid money to watch win or lose, depending on their preference. The longer Mayweather stayed unbeaten, the more some fans wanted to see him bite the dust. Mayweather never really cared if he was booed or cheered. What mattered to him was the money he made from his fights.

It was estimated that in his career, Mayweather bankrolled at least $650 Million, about $250 Million more than what Mike Tyson pocketed. So when Mayweather drops $1.1 Million for a watch, it’s no big deal. Mayweather is proud to declare that he staged his own fights so he never shared revenues with a promoter. Business adviser and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and boxing power-broker Al Haymon accompanied him all the way to the bank.

Maybe, someone could bring Mayweather to the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena and interest him in fighting Pacquiao in the world’s largest indoor stadium. Will he behave or will he turn off fans with outlandish remarks?

ACIRC

AL HAYMON

ANDRE BERTO

BEST EVER

BORA BORA

EGYPT AND SHANNON

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

JUSTIN BIEBER

MAYWEATHER

MILLION

PACQUIAO

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