What better way to promote a thus far poorly received upcoming pay-per-view exhibition than to tease a future return bout that DID create massive interest?
Hall of Famer and former five-division world champ Floyd Mayweather is slated to face Japanese MMA fighter and popular YouTuber Mikuru Asakura this Sunday in a boxing exhibition at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. A capacity crowd of 36,000 is expected to attend the live event with a $29.99 price tag attached for fans to watch via pay-per-view.
The enthusiasm for this exhibition, at least in the US and Europe, has not been all that great.
So, it looks as though “Money” Mayweather will be teasing his last really big bout to help sell this upcoming one.
“I want to go out there this weekend and have fun [against Asakura]. Then I have another exhibition Dubai in November and me and Conor McGregor in 2023,” Mayweather told Sportsmail.
McGregor? The reporter bit on the bait and jumped down that particular rabbit hole. Will it be a “real” fight, like their 2017 bout or an exhibition?
“We don’t know if it’s going to be an exhibition or a real fight. But there’s been talks of both. I would prefer an exhibition…I am not into fights where I am going to take any real punishment.
“So, guys like Conor McGregor and guys that don’t really hit hard such as YouTubers or UFC guys, I don’t really mind colliding with those kinds of individuals but nothing where I am going to put myself in a position where I am going to harm myself or hurt myself.”
Mayweather-McGregor in 2017 reportedly generated over $600 million in revenue and bagged Mayweather and McGregor $280 million and $130 million, respectively. Why not revisit this pairing, even if it’s just as a promotional tool– a carrot to dangle in front of potential viewers– for bigger things to come?
Since officially retiring from boxing in 2017, Mayweather has had three exhibition bouts (against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, YouTuber Logan Paul, and former sparring partner Don Moore). According to calculations made by The Daily Mail in the UK, the boxing great has made upwards of $225 million from those endeavors after factoring in guaranteed purses, PPV percentages, promotional cuts, and sponsorships. He’s expected to make between $15-20 million, guaranteed, for this upcoming Asakura fight– just for the fighting part, before sponsorship and promotional earnings.
So, why not continue with this gravy train, which Mayweather once famously referred to as “legalized bank robbery,” for as long as it rolls?
“Everybody thinks that ‘retired’ means at home with your feet up and picking up weight. I prefer to go out, still entertain and have fun,” Mayweather once told TotalSportal, going into detail about why he prefers to remain an exhibition fighter and will likely stay away from “real” twelve-round fights.
“Just because I still go out, entertain and have fun doesn’t mean that I still wanna fight for 12 rounds.
“I think we’ve got a six-round exhibition. I think it’s gonna be very entertaining for the people, I think people are gonna love it. $35million for 12 rounds or $100million for six rounds – big difference.”
At 45, more than a decade removed from his physical prime as a fighter and five years after retiring from his professional career, Mayweather is still a top earner in the sport of boxing, maybe second only to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who’s in his physical prime as a prizefighter.
Face it, Floyd “Money” Mayweather has outsmarted everyone.