LAS VEGAS (AP) — His middle name is Money, or at least it used to be before Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped flashing $100,000 wads of cash every time he saw a camera.
That doesn’t mean money is ever very far from his mind. Certainly not now, when he’s the richest man in the richest fight ever.
Mayweather has spent as much time this week talking about the mansion in Las Vegas, the home in Miami and the private jet that seats 14 than he has about Manny Pacquiao. He even figured out the math when it comes to dividing it up among his kids.
“Let’s say I make $200 million,” Mayweather said. “That means my kids for this fight will get $50 million apiece. I think I made a smart move.”
Indeed, Mayweather proved a smart businessman in signing for a fight that will likely earn him $180 million or more. But the smartest thing he may have done was delay the fight five years so it would be must-see TV, even at a record price of $99.95.
“Five years ago this was a $50 million fight for me,” Mayweather said, “and a $20 million fight for him.”
The frenzy for the boxing’s biggest event of the century continued to build Wednesday, even if the two fighters themselves were very subdued. They appeared at a final prefight press conference with nothing bad to say about each other, and couldn’t even bring themselves to scowl for pictures.
If the past five years were personal, with the two camps trading barbs, the fight itself is not. Pacquiao will be fighting for his legacy and a country desperate for him to win, while Mayweather will be fighting to add to his already substantial bank accounts.
That was apparent when Mayweather was asked if being undefeated was the biggest motivation for him.
“At the end of the day my daughter can’t eat no zero,” Mayweather said of his unbeaten mark. “She can’t spend a boxing ring.”
Money shouldn’t be a problem for the Mayweather family after this fight. Not with total revenue of some $300 million — and possibly more if the pay-per-view is the hit that network executives privately think it will be.
Mayweather won’t be the only one getting rich. Pacquiao will also share in the $120 million or so his side will pocket for the fight, beginning with a $25 million check from promoter Bob Arum the night of the fight.
“I don’t like to write checks of an amount I don’t have in the bank,” Arum said. “I can cover 25 so that’s the amount he will get fight night.”
Pacquiao said he couldn’t even conceive of the kind of money he makes now to fight.
“I used to sleep in the street starving and hungry,” the Filipino congressman said. “I can’t imagine the boy who slept in the streets was raised to this level where I am today.”
Both fighters finished their major preparation earlier in the week, with both facing challenges unlike they have seen before.
In Mayweather’s case it’s a southpaw who fights in spurts and comes from different angles, a style he will have to figure out early in the fight. For Pacquiao, it’s a defensive wizard who has fought 47 fighters and beaten every one of them.
“I think we can outpoint this guy,” trainer Freddie Roach said. “If a knockout comes it will be a bonus.”
Mayweather has been rather quiet about his strategy, preferring instead to talk about how he became the highest paid athlete in the world or promoting his websites. But he said his father, Floyd Sr., has crafted a game plan that will help him remain unbeaten after 19 years in the sport.
He said critics of the way he fights don’t really understand boxing, and that he doesn’t need to be great defensively to beat Pacquiao.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a very exciting fight,” Mayweather said. “But sometimes I shut guys out and they call it a split decision or majority decision. My hands are always tied behind my back. The standards are always set higher for me.”
The two fighters did disagree on which man was the one to actually get the fight to happen five years after it should have happened.
Mayweather said he kept calling his adviser, Al Haymon, telling him to make the fight because he wanted it so much. But Pacquiao said it was the pressure he put on since beating Chris Algieri in Macau last November that finally forced Mayweather’s hand.
“I feel I’m the one who really wanted this fight to happen,” Pacquiao said.