"It takes more than just being able to fight inside the ring. You have to have a certain look, you have to have a certain charisma, and if you don't have that, you got to have a promoter that can put you in that position to take you to the next level. I mean, you got fighters out there that get a couple dollars, they get a couple pair of shoes, they may get 'em a pair of Christian Louboutins, they got 18 pairs of Jordans now in they closet, got 'em a little girlfriend and went and bought 'em a nice pair of shades...that's when they think they made it...Well I'm here to tell you, you didn't make it," stated retired undefeated former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, who had a lot to say about fighters today and the next superstar in boxing. Check it out!
BT: Floyd, a lot of young fighters look at your career as the blueprint to success. If you could give them some advice on how to navigate the ups and downs of this tough sport, what would it be?
FM: There's a lot of young fighters out there that are real young. I mean, you have a lot of young guys out there that can fight their ass off. There was a young kid the other day that I seen in my boxing gym that was working. I don't even know his name. He's like the top amateur in the country. Small guy. Very, very, I mean, reminds me of myself when I was young. You got fighters that are 16 and 17 that want to turn professional. I tell them to focus on school. That's what's important. School is important. My dad is working with a little young fighter that's a hell of a fighter; little 16-year-old kid, Devin Haney, little young kid. Do I want to promote the kid? Absolutely, but I think right now, at the age of 16, what's very important is education. Education is very, very, very important for these kids. I wasn't fortunate enough; you know what happened with me. My mother was on drugs. I didn't come up in a stable home. My father went to prison. When I was 16, I was on my own. I had to become a man at the age of 16. But everyone, all these kids are rushing to turn professional. Professional boxing is wear and tear on the body, honestly. To all fighters that's reading this interview right now, remember, the most important thing about boxing is not taking punishment; dishing it out, but not taking punishment.
BT: To avoid taking that punishment though, you've got to have the right tools, the right technique, and the right team in place. Do you think this younger generation of fighters are getting the type of training and promotion they need to prepare them for a long, successful career in this sport?
FM: There's a lot of good trainers out there that don't get credit. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad is a good trainer. We have another guy that we're working with that fought Roy Jones, Lou Del Valle, he's a hell of a boxing trainer. Cornelius Boza Edwards, you know, he played a major, major role in my career. He never gets the credit that's due. When I was with Top Rank as a fighter, he was working in the Top Rank office. He was really the matchmaker. Believe it or not, Boza Edwards was really the matchmaker. That's who was the matchmaker at Top Rank when I was over there. They can speak about certain individuals, but I know Boza used to do all the ground work.
BT: Man, that seems like such a long time ago when you were with Top Rank.
FM: Yes, very long ago. I was a professional fighter for 19 years. I was with a promoter who I thought wanted the best for me. When it was all said and done, the promoter only wanted what was best for him. My fighting style, I consider my style world-wide, so if a promoter was to promote, I would want to spread out and be promoted everywhere. That's the only thing I wanted. I didn't want to just be promoted in one area, but that's what they do, and they didn't even promote me in the urban market. I was a fighter that was promoted in the Spanish and Latino area only instead of my promoter stepping outside the box going to find someone that can help take me to the next level in the urban community and worldwide. You gotta realize, sometimes you gotta spend a certain amount because you gotta look at the bigger picture and see what you're going to make long-term and on the backend. I'm not just saying this just to say this. If I was a fighter right now in this era, these fighters think, "Just because I'm with Al Haymon, I'ma get the same perks Floyd Mayweather got. Just because I'm with Al Haymon, I'ma have the same type of Bugatti." This took years and years and years of hard work, not just inside the ring, not just in the boxing gym, but outside the ring with me and Al working day in and day out, up late, us working together as a team. That's how we got to where we got to.
BT: You mentioned not being promoted in the urban market. There are black fighters that are technically better than others inside the ring, but they have a more difficult time being marketed and really crossing over outside of the ring. Why is that?
FM: Give me an example!
BT: Okay, take someone like Errol Spence, or better yet, Terence Crawford?
FM: I know Terence Crawford, right, but tell me who else knows Terence Crawford? I can't never take nothing away from Terence Crawford. I'm proud of him. He's been going out there day in and day out doing what he's supposed to do. And Errol Spence, you know, he's a hell of a fighter, right. Inside the ring, he's going to go out there and do what he's supposed to do, but at the end of the day, it takes more than just being able to fight inside the ring. You have to have a certain look, you have to have a certain charisma, and if you don't have that, you got to have a promoter that can put you in that position to take you to the next level. I mean, you got fighters out there that get a couple dollars, they get a couple pair of shoes, they may get 'em a pair of Christian Louboutins, they got 18 pairs of Jordans now in they closet, got 'em a little girlfriend and went and bought 'em a nice pair of shades. That's when you know; whether it's a fighter or any other entertainer, once they buy the shades, that's when they think they made it. These fighters think, "I'm 20 and 0 with 19 knockouts. I'm fighting on TV. I made a couple hundred thousand. I done went and bought me some jewelry, I got a Benz, I got a nice little house I live in. I made it." Well I'm here to tell you, you didn't make it!
Like I said before, once again, I think these fighters get misled. They think, "Oh yeah, I can fight, so I'ma be rich." It doesn't work like that. What you're going to do is you're going to make some cool money and you're going to go to level 45. You want to reach level 100, but you're going to stay at 45. You can still be a million dollar fighter and you can be undefeated. If he's happy with making a million dollars or 1.5 [million], if he's content with that, then I take my hat off to him, congratulations, but me, I don't believe in settling for less. All I gotta say is this, look at all of these fighters. When guys get a nice timepiece or a nice [Mercedes-Benz] S550, they get some chains, you know, they get a little entourage and they feel they made it. I mean, to each their own. Some are content with that. Me, I wasn't content. People always ask me, "Floyd, what was the limit for you?" I said, there wasn't no limit. I was never moved by a car. I was never moved by a watch or nothing. Without none of that stuff, I just had the will to win just in life, period. When you got the will to win, nothing else matters.
BT: Is there anyone out there now who might have all the traits you mentioned to make it to level 100?
FM: We have a lot of fighters that's under our banner that we're trying to take to that next level. They ask, "Who's the next Floyd Mayweather?" There will never be another Floyd Mayweather, but we will try to get as close as possible to finding the next Floyd Mayweather.
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