“Even though I only have two fights left, you know, some days I think about signing a new contract and extending,” stated Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I'm thinking about it. I'm not 100% sure, but I'm thinking about it.”
When athletes are competing in what is largely known as a “contract year”, productivity is paramount. In other popular American sports, merely putting up good numbers with a solid winning percentage is usually enough to justify the demand for a multi-million dollar, long term deal.
In the unique sport of boxing, prizefighters aren’t so fortunate.
It’s not enough just to win titles in several different weight divisions to achieve high-dollar, mainstream success. A prizefighter must ultimately gain the approval of the real bosses of boxing, the paying customers, to be able to demand the kind of money Floyd has grown accustomed to earning.
It’s a case of simple economics when discussing the business of boxing…if the demand isn’t there, the money won’t be either. A prizefighter doesn’t have the security or benefit of participating in a larger and more mainstream, money making league. He’s essentially a sole proprietor.
“Money May” acknowledges this in the same interview with FightHype.com.
“There's a lot of people that may not know who Floyd Mayweather is. You must realize this, there's a difference between me and any other athlete,” observed the pound for pound king of boxing.
“You have to pay extra money to see me; you can watch them for free. You can just turn on any local cable or satellite network and see athletes, but with me, you have to pay. That's the difference.”
“You gotta pay that extra money, so if you don't pay that extra money, you know what? You may not know who I am because I'm not just any ordinary athlete. I'm an exclusive, mega superstar. To watch me from your home, it costs almost $100.”
Due to the unconditional support from his legion of insane fans, as well as his guaranteed contract with Showtime Sports, Floyd has been able to disregard the popular sentiment of the discerning fight fan and march to the beat of his own drum up to this point.
But with underwhelming PPV figures since signing the lucrative fight deal with Showtime Sports, only eclipsing the 1 million purchase mark one time in his last four outings, does Floyd currently have the leverage to continue ignoring popular sentiment while picking and choosing his opponents without regard to the paying customer? Does he currently have the power and influence to sign another blockbuster deal with CBS/Showtime?
When Mayweather initially signed a six-fight/30-month deal with CBS/Showtime in February of 2012, the pound for pound king had previously generated 9.6 million buys and $543 million in television revenue in nine PPV events throughout his tenure at HBO. With the numbers to support his growing popularity among fight fans, Mayweather had become the biggest commodity in boxing circa 2012.
Fast forward to the final quarter of 2014, where we’ve seen the emergence of a saturated PPV market. With seven major PPV events on this year’s boxing calendar, the fight fans haven’t been as anxious to unconditionally shell out $75 dollars for a Mayweather PPV event.
As a result, Mayweather’s grasp of the PPV market has somewhat diminished.
Although he remains the top boxing office draw of the sport, Floyd’s allure has steadily declined without the benefit of an attractive opponent like Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Canelo Alvarez…or Manny Pacquiao.
On ESPN’s popular morning show “First Take”, sports writer and commentator Stephen A. Smith, an admitted Mayweather sympathizer and supporter, publicly denounced the prospect of Floyd Mayweather facing anyone other than the eight division world champion and Filipino icon.
“Manny Pacquiao is the fight we want to see,” Smith stated on behalf of the majority of mainstream and casual boxing fans.
“There is nobody clamoring to see Floyd Mayweather fight Amir Khan. We want Manny Pacquiao."
"If Floyd avoids Manny Pacquiao and tries to sell us a fight with Amir Khan, not only will I believe that he’s ducking Pacquiao, I will sit here and advocate that nobody buy that fight.”
Once again, it’s a case of simple economics when discussing the business of boxing…if the demand isn’t there, the money won’t be either.
Every prizefighter is in business for himself. He’s the one who’s ultimately taking the risks in the ring and putting himself in harm’s way for our entertainment. A boxing always has the final say, and no one can put a gun to head and force him to fight.
There’s no one stopping Mayweather from fighting who he wants, where he wants, and for what amount of money. But if Floyd expects to make the same kind of money that he’s enjoying at the current time, he’s going to have to recognize that the great fans of boxing have a significant and powerful voice.
The same voices who created his stardom have the power to tear it down.