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Money Matters: An Exclusive Conversation With Floyd Mayweather

There’s a scene from “HBO 24/7: Mayweather-Mosley” where a single sentence from the trash talking Floyd Mayweather encapsulated the pound for pound king of boxing’s motivation.

“Shane Mosley said I fight for money. You f*cking dummy, I’m a prizefighter! That’s what I’m supposed to be fighting for, a prize, duh!”

It’s no secret that Mayweather’s incentive to put his health on the line inside of the squared circle is the almighty dollar. You’ll never hear Mayweather suggest that he fights for the thrill of it all. Instead, he treats his art as a business. A business that has seen him rake in record breaking purses, sign lucrative contracts and has topped the Forbes list for highest paid athlete in both 2012 and 2013.

This conversation with “Money” isn’t about who he’s going to fight next (“I don’t know yet,” he says with a hint of sarcasm) or another inquiry as to why he and Manny Pacquiao haven’t been able to get on the same page for a super fight (“He had his chance and he blew it”). Nor is it about the alleged $10 million he bet on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl (“We laughed about that, absolutely not true”) or the whereabouts of Ray J (“I never kicked him out of TMT”). Honestly, all of those questions yield the same answers that are prefaced with “Like I said before.” But when you talk about money, Mayweather indulges.

For Mayweather it’s about business, big business. It is about how to sustain when so many of his pugilistic peers have fallen upon financial hard times once they hang up the gloves. It’s about investing in those around you and making sure your whole team flourishes. It’s about The Money Team.

When you look at the career arc of some of the most prominent fighters in the sport, many careers end with a whimper and the overlapping narrative tells a cautionary tale of financial strife. It’s become an epidemic where fighters spend like there is no tomorrow until tomorrow actually shows up.

But Mayweather isn’t one of those fighters.

“What we try to teach here with The Money Team is success. Not fame, success,” Mayweather says over the phone, with an extra emphasis on success. “A lot of people out there have a famous face but nothing in their bank account. Just because you walk the red carpet does not mean that you are successful.”

In the pantheon of nicknames, perhaps Mayweather should consider changing his to Floyd “Success” Mayweather considering all that he’s done to almost singlehandedly keep a sport many thought to be dying afloat. But even with his success as a professional boxer, Mayweather has made arguably a more significant impact on popular culture with the way he handles his business. Everything Mayweather does is always in the interest of increasing his earning potential. Ultimately, he could care less about the mere concept of fame unless it has to do with raising his stock.

“What’s the use of having a famous face with nothing in your pocket?” Mayweather asks rhetorically. He quips about reality show TV stars, models and how just about anyone can walk a red carpet these days. He’s hanging out in Los Angeles a few days removed from the Grammy Awards and it appears that walking around the City of Angels has brought Mayweather to a point where he’s concerned about the abundance of so-called celebrities milling about. “There are a lot of people in this world that are like that. We can take all the pictures you want but let’s go to the bank account and see what you really have.”

Mayweather isn’t necessarily trying to mock those seeking their fifteen minutes of fame. Rather, he finds it important to teach those around him the significance of longevity and not relying on fame to get you to fortune.

“I talk my daughters all the time and tell them that all of these reality television shows are okay to watch when you want laughs, but look up to women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama because you have to respect what they have done behind the scenes,” Mayweather says about preventing his daughters from getting sucked into the world of fame. Not much is written about how Mayweather protects the women around him, but rest assured that he has their best interests at heart.

“These days a lot of these girls are doing the same thing,” Mayweather says. “They are in a magazine for free. They walk red carpets for free. They’ll make an appearance at the club for two thousand dollars but how long are they going to do that? Until they are 40 or 50 years old? In Los Angeles you see all of these ‘aspiring actresses’ but every night they’re at the club. What for?”

Of course, you’ve seen Mayweather in the club, but he has good reason for that. “If they aren’t paying, I’m not playing,” Mayweather says with a laugh.

On this day, Mayweather has been busy setting up his personal massage therapist, Doralie Medina, with interviews to discuss the launch of BadMedina Cosmetics. It’s just one of several investments Mayweather has made with the women around to. He has also invested in businesses started by the two mothers of his children with Melissia Brim’s Las Vegas based Devanna Love Boutique & Beauty Bar and Josie Harris’ Nappisaks line of baby shower gifting bags. The latest foray into the world of cosmetics is a venture that Mayweather has become a primary investor in and sees as a way to reinvest in those who have invested their time in helping Mayweather remain the pound for pound best fighter in the world. In the end, he wants everyone surrounding him to achieve longevity.

Longevity is something that Mayweather prides himself in. His dedication to keeping his body intact is well known around the world of boxing. His skills have never been in question but Mayweather knew long ago that simply winning fights wouldn’t cut it. His plan sprang into action the moment he bought himself out of a contract with Bob Arum for what now seems like a paltry $750,000 to strike out on his own.

To overcompensate for a lack of knockout power, Mayweather adopted an inflammatory personality that would make people want to pay to see him lose. The strategy was brilliant as Mayweather flipped the script on entertaining inside of the ring by being far more entertaining outside of it. The combination of a vexing personality and perhaps the most deft boxing skill set this generation has ever seen has turned him into the biggest cash cow in all of sports.

“You see All Access and the build for a fight and they ask why I do the things that I do,” Mayweather says of his trash talking and flaunting of money, which has admittedly been toned down as of late. “It’s because I understand the business of boxing.”

And his knowledge about the business of boxing is credited heavily to the shadowy figure known as Al Haymon. Haymon is man who has played a major role in Mayweather becoming the richest athlete in the world as well as assist the fighter on making the right business moves. If there was anyone that Mayweather would aspire to be (aside from himself), chances are it is Haymon.

“Al Haymon has probably never walked a red carpet but you can’t put a number on how much money he has made,” Mayweather says of the man who is seldom seen but is known as the mastermind behind landing significant fights for his stable of boxers. Not much is known about Haymon and checking his Wikipedia page only yields a skeleton of information. When Floyd talks about success over fame, he has have Haymon in mind.

Mayweather may be the boxer everyone loves to hate, but only a fool would hate his business acumen that has afforded him the luxury of having real estate in multiple cities, expensive cars, clothes and just about anything he desires. Call it obnoxious if you want to, but Mayweather says he can’t speak any other language.

“I’m not bragging or boasting but I’m not poor. The only thing I can talk about is nice things. I was ambitious enough to go out there and get it,” he says.

And as his career winds down, Mayweather is making sure every fight counts and every effort is made to make sure he doesn’t end up like many athletes who struggle once the only thing that they know has been taken away from them. For him, it isn’t just about having nice thing, it’s about keeping them. And only he is responsible for that.

“I don’t ever see these companies say ‘You know what, this athlete isn’t doing too well anymore, let’s raise money to give to him,” Mayweather says about the cold reality of the business world. “When somebody is in a rough predicament, everybody says what he shouldn’t have done with his money.”

Mayweather decided very early on that the biggest benefactor in any venture that he would be a part of would be himself. With a mindset that he’s just as responsible for success as he is for failure, Mayweather has become extra cautious about how he invests his money.

“I fund my own projects,” Mayweather explains. With Mayweather Promotions, the upcoming Mayweather Films and The Money Team clothing, Mayweather has made it a point to keep his circle tight and invest primarily in himself and those around him. And although he has been offered to participate in promoting other brands, Mayweather sees it as relatively pointless when he’s aware of being the main draw. “I start from the bottom and work my way to the top. You see all of these entertainers that are a face of a liquor or a brand but they haven’t put their own money up and are waiting for the company to go public and sell so they can get a piece.

“That’s not a bad thing at all but I believe in taking a risk with my own money. No different from TMT, I took a risk and am now making millions by spending my own money.”

Love him or hate him, as long as he’s making money off of your emotions, he’s good with it.

“Whether you write good or bad press, write about me. I’m relevant.”

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Andreas Hale

Editor-In-Chief
Andreas Hale is a former editor at websites including BET.com, HipHopSite.com and HipHopDX.com. Today, he is the editor-in-chief of Knockout Nation and has covered boxing and MMA for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard outlets, including FightNews.com, Fight! Magazine, Ultimate MMA, CagePotato.com and others.

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