Switch on any of the sports channels right now, and you might think you’ve been transported back in time. While live sporting action has been at a standstill, they have been forced to fall back on re-runs of classic games and events to occupy the schedules. We’ve seen it in every sport you can think of, but in the world of boxing, that impression is brought into even sharper focus. Here, the headlines have been focusing on the 90s champion Mike Tyson and his potential return to the ring. He might also face off once again against his old adversary Evander Holyfield.
But there is one boxer who has never strayed far from the headlines since winning his first professional bout almost a quarter of a century ago. Floyd “Money” Mayweather is as regular a fixture in the celebrity gossip pages as he is in the sporting press. He’s a handful of sports pros to have netted more than a billion dollars in his career. Yet the man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is as famous for spending as he is for earning.
The big spender
Mayweather is notorious for going on spending sprees that go beyond the bounds of extravagance. He once spent $6.5 million at a single stroke on a brace of Bugatti Veyrons. He added to his vast collection of automotive exotica that also includes Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even a $4.8 million Koenigsegg.
Mayweather also adores his timepieces. A collection of watches valued at $7 million sounds impressive, but in 2018 he capped that by purchasing The Billionaire watch, a 280-carat diamond one-off that had a price tag of $18 million.
Other well-publicized purchases include a $50,000 jewel-encrusted case for his beloved iPod and regular haircuts from barber to the rich and famous Jackie Starr. But it is Mayweather’s fondness for a wager that has caused the biggest headlines, not to mention controversy. He has a passion for sports betting and is rumored to have wagered more than $13 million in various bets on Super Bowl XLVIII. He is also a regular sight at the high roller blackjack tables in Las Vegas.
While Mayweather loves to shout from the rooftops about the bets that go his way, he has also been known to sustain heavy losses. We all know the saying about how the house always wins, and at one point, he was facing debts of $50 million. Taking alongside a growing pile of unpaid tax demands goes some way towards explaining his regular returns to the ring.
The serial retirer
Boxers retiring then making a return to the ring is not an unusual phenomenon. It’s been seen time and again, and the temptation of “one last payday” can be too compelling to refuse. After all, here it is all down to the individual – you don’t see it with stars of football or baseball, as what team is going to select someone way past their peak, regardless of how good they were 20 years earlier? With boxing, there are no such obstacles.
Mayweather, though, has taken the practice to extremes and has now retired on three different occasions. The last return was for that infamous encounter with UFC fighter Conor Mc Gregor in 2016. The fact that McGregor had never boxed professionally didn’t seem to matter. Fans were quick to visit sites like ComeOn to place their bets and rushed to the pay-per-view platforms to watch the action. The result? Mayweather won the fight quickly enough, and also pocketed an estimated $275 million before announcing his retirement once again.
What next for “Money”?
Till now, Mayweather has kept the door open to a possible return. This year, there was talk of a fight in Saudi Arabia against another UFC star, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who said he had been offered $100 million to fight Mayweather in the Middle Eastern nation. Mayweather indicated at the time that he would not rule out the idea if the price were right. However, he also made it clear that the purse would have to match the $275 million he earned from fighting McGregor as a minimum. He said on Instagram that fighting Nurmagomedov would be “fun, easy entertainment” and secure his children’s financial futures.
Conor McGregor himself has also been talking up the possibility of a rematch. The Notorious went so far as to say it is inevitable that the pair will meet again and that this time, the man from Ireland has Mayweather’s measure and has worked out where he went wrong in their previous encounter.
However, while Mayweather is usually a man fond of mischievously stoking any social media rumors, recent weeks have taken their toll, refusing to be drawn on the topic. Mayweather’s life has been dogged by tragedy and loss on various sides. First came the sudden death of his former girlfriend and the mother of his children, and just a few weeks later, his uncle also passed away. Now, Mayweather seems determined to leave his boxing days behind him.
That’s not to say he has lost his appetite for money and excess. Leonard Ellerbe is the CEO of Mayweather Promotions and says his business partner has the goal of doubling the billion dollars he earned in the ring through property investment. Ellerbe told Insider magazine that Mayweather is consistently making investments and that his ultimate goal is to make even more money through property than he did as a fighter.
Still, if there is one thing we have learned about Mayweather, we should expect the unexpected. The rumors persist that we might not have quite seen the last of him in the ring. Each man has his price, and in typically forthright style, Floyd has named his at $600 million. Surely even for a man named money, that figure is the stuff of fantasy? Where Floyd Mayweather is concerned, you should never rule anything out.