Floyd Mayweather's fistful of dollars
Rolls of newsprint on what we can hope was recycled paper.
Oceans of ink and vast amounts of color. Countless dedication on TV, internet and radio.
A place in popular culture and the one name which can often conjure an immediate reaction from just about any sports fan. Life in a bubble or perhaps a fish bowl. The constant eyes of individuals as well as cameras and smartphones.
No, we're not talking about the president. We are, in fact referring to none other than one of boxing's finest talents in history. Floyd Mayweather has once again assured the sporting world that his three hundred million (or more) dollar payday against Conor McGregor on August 26 is his last fight as a professional.
It's almost been two years since we last saw Floyd in the ring, or such is the case for some of us. The tragic reception and eventual turnout for his September 2015 supposed swan song against Andre Berto spoke volumes after what had transpired just four months earlier. Whip that dead horse, we will not. In what was advertised as his last contest, the then 38 year old Las Vegas resident effectively diced through Berto in a one sided affair and in doing so, he equaled the unblemished record of the late Rocky Marciano. 49 wins against no defeats. By the time the night was over, Floyd's boxing resume included 26 world title bouts alongside 24 contests versus either current or past world champions.
Are we not entertained?
If we only knew how many deniers and detractors of what's likely to be one of the most lucrative sporting events in the annals of time are just as anxious, albeit secretly to see what transpires in Las Vegas as those who can't wait for the first bell to ring. At the tender age of 40, Floyd truly seems ready to step aside and let the fighters fight and promoters such as himself well, promote.
"I gave my word to my children and I'm going to stick to my word," said the unbeaten champion on Thursday afternoon during an international media conference call. "I gave my word to Al Haymon. This will be my last fight."
Fans of mixed martial arts as well as those who have been eager since the second Bush Administration to see Floyd get his keister proverbially handed to him are waiting with bated breath to see what unfolds at the T-Mobile Arena. Just as is the case with Mayweather, Father Time is also undefeated, yet for $300 million, even Father Christmas would take the night off. Oddsmakers tend to agree and although "Money" isn't as heavily preferred as he was when the bout was initially announced, he's still a prohibitive favorite (-450), as seems to have been the custom throughout much of his career.
By contrast, Conor McGregor (+325) may have a puncher's chance of some kind. Since he won't be allowed to kick, grapple, knee or elbow his opponent, then it all seems to make sense. In any case, Floyd may find himself in a setting full of pro-McGregor, pro-MMA and pro-Irish fans. This was also the case with Ricky Hatton ten years ago, save the MMA and of course, the Irish. The MGM Grand Garden Arena was seemingly packed to the ceiling with boisterous, unquestionably inebriated English supporters who never stopped singing. As was the case then, Mayweather is ready at all costs and feels no need for concern.
"It doesn't have anything to do with the crowd," he said. "The only thing that matters is the two competitors. It's just about giving the fans excitement."
Returning to the issue of age, the 40 year old Sin City champion has learned to listen more to his body and appreciate the value of rest and recovery time. He commented, "It's not really the same, but with age comes wisdom and knowing your body. When you're young, it's fight, fight, fight and never let the body recuperate. I still work very hard at the age of 40 but I believe in rest. I have a team who helps keep my body intact."
In the past, the buildup to a Floyd Mayweather contest was often accentuated by the sound bytes of the pound-for-pound great insisting that his upcoming opponent is neither one to overlook nor show signs of disrespect. Such lines as "he's a hell of competitor" and "just make sure you tune in and buy pay per view" are ones to which we may have grown accustomed.
So, the recent admission that he may be slowing down or that McGregor has a real chance are among many familiar sentiments of which are often followed by a case of buyer's remorse. Could he possibly be serious this time?
"I'm being honest," said the self tagged "TBE". "I don't think that I'm the same Floyd Mayweather that I was 21, 10, 5 or even 2 years ago. I still have a high ring I.Q. and experience will always lean towards me. I've been in the ring at such a high level for so long."
There were other voices of agreement on the conference call on Thursday. One was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Network, Stephen Espinoza.
"There's really no excuse for not watching this fight," he said. "This is an event that has captured the world over. It's something we never expected to surpass after the Mayweather/Pacquiao event. This is a challenge to Floyd on a whole new level."
Mayweather vs McGregor
Date: Saturday, August 26
Venue: T-Mobile Arena
Location: Las Vegas
Division: Jr Middleweight (154 lb limit)
"At 130 pounds, it was against (Diego) Corrales," the former champion remembered.
"At 135, people like to talk about Phillip N'Dou. 140 was with (Arturo) Gatti because I wasn't there that long. The fight at 147 with Ricky Hatton and 154 against Miguel Cotto and again at 154 with how dominant I was against Canelo."
Do we have any idea where the bout on the 26th would rank? Does it still count?
Actually, it does.