There’s one reason why Floyd Mayweather Jnr became the biggest earner in boxing history – he cut out the middle man.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that ‘Money’ is still focused on adding even more millions to the fifth-biggest bank account a sportsman has ever enjoyed.

Only golf icon Arnold Palmer, Vince McMahon (involved in WWE professional wrestling, arguably not a sport), Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and golfer Tiger Woods are more wealthy.

Mayweather hung up his gloves last year having banked $650m from his exploits in the ring, mainly due to have no manager or promoter in the glory years, writes Craig Birch.

The 38-year-old went out at the top, too, undefeated as one of the pound-for-greats having won an array of world titles at five different weights.

It made you wonder why he would be so keen to hop on his private jet, along with a 26-strong entourage, for an after-dinner speaking tour of the UK.

That concluded with his visit to Scott Murray’s Bar Sport in Cannock last week, where he talked about his life and times to just 300 enthralled spectators.

It wasn’t for the wage he picked up – that’s pocket change to him – or the shop worker from Dudley he’s apparently flew back to the US with him. They only met on the night.

It’s partly down to the relationship he enjoys with his supporters on our shores, after enduring lukewarm spells with American fight fans back home.

And it’s also a charm offensive which he hopes will pave the way for him to become the modern-day Don King as a promoter.

Back in 1993, King and Barry Hearn staged one of the biggest boxing events in British history when Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank battled to a draw at Manchester United’s Old Trafford home.

The younger Hearn, Eddie, bettered that in May 2014 with another second offering, Carl Froch versus George Groves, which drew 80,000 people to Wembley Stadium.

There’s now serious talk that Mayweather Promotions will join up with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing to stage shows in England, pitting ‘our guys against his guys.”

Mayweather may even apply for a promoter’s licence with the British Boxing Board of Control and possess an English world champion, Ashley Theophane, by the time he gets one.

He wasn’t just over here for a jolly up, clearly, this was a visit to establish serious links that could lead to some huge shows on our soil.

The outspoken ‘Pretty Boy’ might not be the most humble, but he’s an astute businessman and money continues to motivate him.

He said: “Thank you to the people who have supported me over the last 20 years and the UK fans haven’t just been good to me, they’ve been great.

“They embrace me with more love. In the US, when the media tell you there’s something going on that’s what everyone believes. But, as far as the UK goes, they stick with you to the end.

“Eyes are the keys to your soul and I would rather be hated for being honest then loved for telling a pretty lie.

“As long as god knows what I’m doing, that’s all that matters. I don’t need to use social media or the media at all to glorify it.

“All I want to do is work hard for the people that are inspired by me, because we all dream. If there’s something you believe in that you know you can do, go for it.

“I’d love to bring big fights over here, as a promoter, to the soccer stadiums. My focus is to bring big fights to the UK and help young fighters go that next level.

“That’s why I’m looking for the next Floyd Mayweather. I want to see what it’s like to be on the other end and look at it.

“Records can always be broken, someone might come along one day and better what I’ve done.”

Until Forbes do their latest ‘rich list’ to take 2016 in account, Mayweather remains the highest-paid athlete on the planet.

His ‘super fight’ with Manny Pacquiao last May broke every financial record in the sport, grossing a whopping $300million. Mayweather walked off with over a third of the take.

He’s the biggest boxing draw Las Vegas has ever attracted, with his swansong against Andre Berto that September his 12th straight fight to take place at the MGM Grand.

But Mayweather does regret he only got to fight outside of the US once, getting as far as New Mexico straight after making his pro debut.

In his early days with promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank, the boy from Grand Rapids in Michigan longed to see the world through boxing.

They split in 2006, with Mayweather buying his own contract out for $750,000. He then propelled himself to superstardom in the bright lights of Vegas, keeping most of the proceeds for himself.

He said: “I wanted to go all around the world and to fight in the UK, China, Japan and everywhere else. I wanted to touch the world and for them to be a part of me, but that never happened.

“I started getting bigger and bigger and, one day, I went to my promoter with a cashier’s cheque, I think it was for something like $750,000 or $1m.

“I don’t know the exact number as it’s been a little while but, from then, I became my own boss. When I was at the top, I owned all of my matches, which has never been done before.

“I worked hard to get to a point in my career where I could control the sport the way I wanted to, but it’s tougher to stay at the top than it is to get there.

“People want to be entertained. Fighters in this time think it’s just about being able to fight good. You need to have an aura about yourself.

“If you’ve made as much as I have from the sport, I guess somebody appreciates something.”

When his pro boxing journey began in the 1990s and culminated with his first world title almost two years to the day of his debut, the man at the lower weights was ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed.

Both were hardly likely to suffer from a crisis of confidence, but the exuberance of youth was behind Mayweather. They both possessed Lineal titles, Hamed a division down at feather.

It could have still have happened in 2001, when a then-career best from Mayweather saw him drop the dangerous Diego Corrales five times before his corner threw the towel in.

‘Naz’ instead chose Marco Antonio Barrera, who handed the weight-drained southpaw from Sheffield his only pro loss. He would only box once more before quitting.

It rankles with Mayweather. Dream bouts with his hero Genaro Hernandez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao all happened. Hamed did not.


Laughing all the way to the bank – Floyd Mayweather has earned mega money since targeting Naseem Hamed.

Mayweather said: “I was on my way to the very top when ‘Prince’ Naseem was there. He’s a legend, I commend and take my hat off to him.

“He was a real showman and, ever since I was a kid, I was the same. Everything I talked about, I was able to execute.

“I feel, a lot of the time, when you are flashy and flamboyant people call it cocky. It’s not cocky if you are backing it up.

“It was the way I’d fought my whole life, with razzle dazzle and a lot of flair. Earlier on in my career, I was very flashy and flamboyant.

“I was interested in fighting Naseem and, when we got to a certain point, I wanted to make it happen. He asked to be friends, but I didn’t want to.”

Mayweather went on to become the fight game’s biggest-ever star and, now, you wouldn’t recognise Hamed if he passed you in the street.

That 49-0 record has left everyone wanting his in-ring story to finish on an even number, a fight Brit Amir Khan would take in a heartbeat.

Khan has called out Mayweather and Pacquiao for years, but it will take untold riches for the man himself to step back into the ring. Pride doesn’t even come into it.

He said: “I couldn’t fight everybody, it has to make business sense. If it makes dollars, it makes sense. I’m strong enough to still fight, but would I want to?