• Steve Bunce

Mayweather's lamentable legacy

Steve Bunce September 2, 2014
Buncey's Boxing Podcast: McGuigan, Selby, Moore

The life and time of Floyd Mayweather will probably be remembered for generating close to a billion dollars in revenue from his fights, serving time for assault and being accused by Fifty Cent of not being able to read.

It sounds preposterous but I do wonder what we will remember most in 10 years' time? Sadly, I doubt it will be any of his performances from inside the ropes; it's the money that lingers and not the 36 minutes of perfection and, so far, 46 fights without defeat.

Buncey's Vaults

Butterbean walks away after knocking out Shane Woollas © Getty Images
  • Butterbean was in London in 2001, tucked away in a north London gym hitting bags and talking about life as a 'boxing freak'.
  • Butterbean, real name Eric Esch, is "boxing's naked servant", I wrote. "He has been shown [on TV] more than any other boxer in history but still he is considered a freak." Butterbean had dropped from 28 stone to 24 stone for his planned fight at Wembley.
  • At that point he had lost just once in 68 fights and 61 of his fights had been shown on TV. 'I'm not a freak inside'. He was not and he could fight. He won at Wembley in one round, proving just too good for Scunthorpe's Shane Woollas.
  • Butterbean was still fighting last year, still considered a freak in the boxing business and his record is now 91 fights, 77 wins, 10 defeats and four draws. He was, I have to say, a pleasure to interview.
  • As reported in The Independent, April 26, 2001

Floyd and Fifty Cent have a troubled recent history and both accuse the other of ruining the friendship. Floyd claims Fifty interfered with his fighters and Fifty claims Floyd is clueless. The arrogance is sickening when the pair are in the same room, trust me.

A few days ago Floyd countered Fifty's offer to donate millions to charity if Floyd read the first page of a Harry Potter book, with an offer to share a ring with the scrawny rapper for $12 million (£7.2m). It's not going to happen.

Fifty neatly countered, live on American television, with an offer to make it easier for Floyd by switching Harry Potter's magical reality for Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Too many people laughed at the quip from Fifty Cent but it was, I reckon, a low blow and, trust me, I'm not a big fan of Floyd the man.

Recent visitors to Floyd's gym in Las Vegas, which only seven years ago was an anonymous retreat without a sign, have reported increasingly bizarre behaviour from the unbeaten multiple-weight and multiple-belt millionaire. His gym attracts devoted hordes, they wait in hope outside behind rope to get a nod from the bouncers; if your face fits, then you are going in to lead the cheer leading. If you are really lucky one of his many helpers will sell you a half-empty jar of vaseline that was used to smear the champion's body: The price is just fifty dollars. How weird is that?

So against the backdrop of used Vaseline jars, Dr. Suess and evidence that at 37 he is in the twilight of a glittering career, Floyd Mayweather prepares for his rematch with Argentina's Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand - where else? - on September 13. Their first fight back in May was good, not close, but hard and Maidana certainly had his moments in what many believe to have been one of Floyd's poorest performances. I simply thought Maidana had his number but just didn't know enough.

Certainly Freddie Roach, who has been goading the entire Mayweather clan for about six years, is convinced that Mayweather is a "shot fighter". Roach trains Mayweather's one-time bitter enemy Manny Pacquiao and has never given up hope of a showdown between the pair. Roach has borrowed a great line from a 1970's Martini advert and insists that the fight can take place "anytime, anywhere, any weight."

It is not going to happen soon, that is for sure, and Pacquiao will fight again in Macau on November 22 against Chris Algieri. The pair are on a 28,000 mile and 12-city publicity tour to stir up the pay-per-view figures; it is good sales and not good wins that will secure Pacquiao a fight with Mayweather.

And, please, let's not forget what Floyd has achieved and how much Vegas owes him. His fight last year with the brilliant Mexican Saul Alvarez had a live gate of $21m (£12.7m), 26,000 additional seats sold in Vegas at closed-circuit screenings and Floyd made $19,000 (£11,500) every second. There were also 550 cinemas across America screening the one-sided fight; forget green eggs, my friend! I bet he had no trouble counting his $41m (£24.8m) purse, which is something he will do again after the Maidana fight.

Floyd Mayweather can count the likes of Justin Bieber among his entourage © Getty Images
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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.