Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers players held a silent protest over Sterling's comments
As if defending his perfect unbeaten record against one of the biggest punchers in boxing is not enough to keep him occupied, Floyd Mayweather is trying to buy the major league basketball team which is being torn apart by one of the worst racist scandals ever to darken American sport.
No wonder the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on earth nicknames himself Money Mayweather.
Floyd Jnr wants to put the $40 million which is his guaranteed minimum for Saturday night’s fight towards the $1.8 billion it will cost to purchase the controversy-riven Los Angeles Clippers.
Floyd Mayweather is trying to buy the LA Clippers
Interested: Floyd Mayweather Jr makes his way to the MGM Grand on Tuesday
Money bags: Floyd Mayweather arrives at the MGM Grand ahead of his fight against Marcos Maidana
Of Marcos Maidana, the Argentine slugger he is about to face in a Las Vegas ring, Mayweather says: ‘ He’s been superb in his last four fights. He has an 80 per cent KO ratio. So I can’t sleep on this guy.’
Of the Clippers, whose owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape telling his mistress not to fraternise with ‘black people’ including basketball players and has been banned from that sport for life, Mayweather says: ‘Do I want to buy the Clippers? Yes I do. I can bring together a group of people who can afford it.
‘Buying a major league franchise is something I want to add to our growing Mayweather Promotions business, which is no longer only about boxing. We are already in clothing, music, movies.’
Sterling is being ostracised by society as well as banished from basketball but in typically outspoken fashion Mayweather says of the disgraced Clippers boss: ‘Personally I can’t say anything negative about him. He’s always behaved beautifully to me. Always invites me to their games. Always sit me next to him and his wife. Though I don’t know about the mistress.’
LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for life by NBA
Banned for life: Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling cannot be involved in the team's operations after racist comments allegedly made by him were made public
Smart man. He is smoothing the negotiating path even though world welterweight title fight is only a couple of days away.
He does so as another piece of his corporate jigsaw appears to be falling into place.
Mayweather takes on Maidana in the MGM Grand resort, which has just announced plans to build a new 20,000 capacity arena in an open-air plaza on the Las Vegas Strip. Clearly, this is designed to bring a major league franchise to Las Vegas.
Mayweather says: ‘We will keep the Clipprs where they are at in LA.’
But the temptation would be there to move them away from the shadow of the more-loved Los Angeles Lakers to the sinful city he calls home.
The strength of his relationship with MGM is revealed when he says: ‘I love this place. They stage everything perfect and look after me beautifully. They have just given me a $400,000 Swiss watch encrusted with emeralds, as well as a $1.2 million Bugati to on in the garage with all the other cars from which I choose one each day to drive to the gym. They want me to feel comfortable. I do feel comfortable.’
Tirade: The recording stemmed from a conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano (right) after she posted this photo with Magic Johnson to her Instagram account
Incorrigible tease that he is, Mayweather is also hinting for the first time that he might box on after the last bout in his potentially $300 million, six-fight contract the Showtime TV network.
Four more unbeaten nights, starting Saturday, will take him to 49-0, the historic mark on which Rocky Marciano retired.
Might he go for one better and, for an almighty encore, even fight Manny Pacquiao, finally, in the richest fight of all time?
Until this week he has always said No but the tune has altered. Now 37, he says: ‘I’m human. I’m entitled to change my mind. I don’t know what I will do after the 49th fight. Sometimes I feeI I might quit boxing right now. I don’t have to fight any more.
‘But it’s not hard for me to get up early in the morning to go the gym, even though I sometimes lie in bed and feel happy about my career.
‘I am doing it for my legacy. I congratulate Manny on his victory over Tim Bradley. When I do retire I want to be sure that the only name anyone ever talks about when it comes to the history is Floyd Mayweather.’
Standing up: Protestors at Tuesday night's NBA playoff clash against the Golden State Warriors
Disgusted: Several groups made their voices known before the clash against Sterling
To that end, his mantra is still: ‘Hard work. Dedication.’
That and his strength of body and mind have defeated even the biggest of the tough guys he has faced and he says: ‘People don’t realise how strong I am. Not only physically but mentally. The opponents I face are big and strong and fast. But when it comes to the mental side they cannot get to my level.’
Whenever he does hang up the gloves his interest in the boxing arm of Mayweather enterprises will be on cleaning up the sport.
It disappoints the champion who has led the campaign against drug abuse in the ring that a number of his stable of fighters have tested positive recently and he says: ‘That’s not the fault of our company. There will always be some fighters who won’t listen. But there are less and less of them doing this and we will keep on talking to them.
‘I give blood and urine for tests. I’m a clean athlete. All natural. When this all first came up I was called a coward. Well if I am a coward I’m the richest coward in the world.’
Eye on the throne: Maidana will be the massive underdog against Mayweather on May 3 in Las Vegas
Rich enough to buy the LA Clippers, an investment which involves only one problem: ‘If we do this I can’t bet on games. Owners aren’t allowed to bet, which I love.’
More, he tacitly admits, than he loves the mothers of his children. Of his split with his latest girl friend, he says: ‘I have nothing negative to say about her. Sometimes you just don’t see eye-to-eye with people or the love’s not there.
‘But whatever the issues about me, I can say that my good outweighs my bad.’
It is likely, also, that he will outweigh Maidana in an event of which he makes this prediction: ‘This will be a helluva fight. He says he wants to knock me out. But I want to knock him out. And he must wonder why all these other bigger guys haven’t been able to go through me. Hmmm.’
This is Mayweather in full, fascinating flow but the audience comes to an abrupt end when he glances at that $400,000 watch and leaps from his seat.
‘Basketball time,’ he says. , Let’s go bet.’
Mayweather-Maidana and Khan-Collazo will be televised live on BoxNation late on Saturday night
Protest: Los Angeles Clippers players held a silent protest over Sterling's comments