Okay, thank you, operator. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today on this conference call with eight-time, five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. Before I introduce Leonard, who will introduce Floyd, I wanted to do make a couple comments. First of all, Floyd Mayweather is the face of boxing and his face is actually on the cover of this week’s ESPN The Magazine. That magazine is a special fight issue with half the magazine dedicated to The One, and that magazine will be on newsstands this Friday and throughout fight week. Congratulations, Floyd.
I would just like to take this opportunity to tell Floyd Mayweather that he has many times acknowledged my role in his career and I want to tell him at this time that I appreciate him for affording me the opportunity to be part of his career and the Mayweather experience since 2005. His hard work and dedication to his craft and his perfectionism as an athlete and an individual always challenges me to stay positive and do the best job possible for him and the Money Team. Thank you very much, Floyd.
And now, without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and turn this over to Leonard Ellerbe, CEO, Mayweather Promotions to make the formal introduction. Leonard?
Thank you, Kelly. The One. I’d like to thank everyone for joining us in on the call
today. Mayweather versus Canelo, The One. Everyone knows this is the most anticipated fight in the history of the sport and we have every indicator that this is going to be the biggest fight in the history of the sport. It started out with the fight going on sale, the fight selling
out in the first day, breaking Floyd’s old record against De La Hoya, $19.5 million at the gate.
Next, when you look at the closed circuit we opened up with 12,000 seats. We sold them out as well. We opened up 13,000 more and we’re about to sell out of them. When you look at the closed circuit as it relates to the restaurants and bars, right now, currently, we’re at 50% higher than we were at Floyd and De La Hoya in ’07.
As it relates to the movie theaters, tracking very well right now. Several of the movie theaters
are sold out right now. The fight will be shown in over 542 theaters nationwide and every indication we have thus far, we’re going to do a big, big number there.
When it comes to sponsor activation, this is the most activated event in the history of the sport. Corona, AT&T, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Valvoline, Mexican Tourism board, Insurance, Nature and Nutrition, and Bacardi Spirits. Tremendous support from our sponsors.
As it relates to the fan participation, the ticket demand is unbelievable at this point when it comes to the interest as it relates to the advertising. We have the biggest advertising plan ever, a record number as it relates to the cable and satellite business. It’s at an all-time high. Showtime, CBS support has been phenomenal thus far. They rolled out every one of their assets from the NFL on CBS to the college football on CBS, and you’ll see that over the next week-and-a-half, the promotion. It’ll be everywhere.
So without further ado, I’d like to introduce the eight-time world champion in five different
weight classes, the face of the sport, the highest paid athlete in the sport and the guy who makes this whole thing go, none other than Money Mayweather himself.
Hey, how are you all doing today? Thanks for having me. Thank you, Kelly, for the kind words. Thank you, Leonard, for doing a tremendous job. You guys have worked day in and day out for me to be in the best position. Mayweather Promotions is going to continue to bring you guys the biggest and the best fights. I just want to thank everybody because without you guys and without the support and without the media outlets I don’t know where my career would be. So I want to thank everybody. That’s on my mind today.
Obviously, your goal is to retire undefeated and have a Hall of Fame career. You’ve also talked about the mark you want to make as a promoter and that you are making as a promoter. When you think about your career being done and your children and your legacy, what do you want to look back on and say you accomplished not only as an undefeated fighter but the mark you left? What kind of things do you want to say?
Also, what do you look forward to in retirement – spending time with your kids, those types of things? Can you just kind of share that with us?
Well, as far as my children, the most important thing and the great thing about my career was I was able to put them in a comfortable environment. They were able to get a great education that
I wasn’t able to get. My family has been in a comfortable position for 17 years, so that’s a great thing. The mark in the sport of boxing was that I brought that … to the smaller guys … the sport as far as just making smart moves like getting the best so you can receive the best, leaving my mark in sport as far as cleaning up the sport. It’s all about just giving the fans excitement but, like I said, on an even playing field as far as random blood and urine tests. That’s not just in the sport of boxing, but in all sports when you’re competing at the highest level.
Mayweather Promotions, we don’t want to stack our company with a ton of fighters. Every fighter that’s under our banner, we cannot promise them that they will be world champions. I think about that and I talk to fighters about that all the time. The only thing we can do is keep our fingers crossed. The only thing Leonard can do is do his job, and I’ll play a major part. The key is working hand-in-hand with the future fighters. That’s what it’s about, the fighters, the present fighters and the future fighters. The key is working with them, trying to show them a way that I can hand my torch to them so they can take it to the next level. That’s what it’s about. It’s about helping these young fighters grow and taking things to the next level.
When you look around at your team as it is right now with your father in your
corner, Roger’s still there and much of the turmoil with the jail sentence and all that behind you, and as you head into this fight how would you compare your level of contentment and happiness with how things are around you right now heading into this fight?
I’m only human. Some days are better than others. Some days I have good days, some days I
have bad days. You know, that’s life. … What I try to do is I constantly tell myself this: just like you smile on sunny days, you have to smile on rainy days. That’s what I constantly tell myself. I’m happy to be working back with my father. Of course, he’s a perfectionist. I’m a perfectionist. No one is perfect, but we strive to be the best that we can be. The only thing I can do is try to become a better person each and every day. Each and every day I try to become a better person.
I know you came up the hard way, particularly when it came to the guys in the top positions being willing to give you the opportunity to face them. Ever since you’ve been at the top, though, you’ve been giving a lot of these younger guys that opportunity that wasn’t afforded to you back in the day. I was just wondering, do you think it’s easier today for these younger fighters to get that type of opportunity to fight the best, to get a shot at that top spot compared to when you were younger and coming up?
Of course, it’s a lot easier now to fight … boxing is tainted, is watered down. I feel like there are too many belts, it’s too many champions. It’s like I said before – I don’t think I told you this – but it’s so crazy how I beat Miguel Cotto for the WBA Junior Middle Weight Champion, right? So how did Austin Trout beat Cotta for the WBA championship and how is Canelo the WBA champ?
Like I said before, these are things I just don’t understand what’s going on with the sport. I think we should have one belt and that’s it. Like I said before, I think the sport is real, real tainted now. It’s not like it was before where you got guys that had to work their way from the bottom to the top. When I was fighting I wanted to fight Oscar De La Hoya way back when. I couldn’t get the fight. I couldn’t get the fight until I was on my own, until I got my own company. I wanted to fight Miguel Cotto when he was undefeated. I couldn’t get the fight.
Sometimes they say, “Well, Floyd Mayweather’s opponents was handpicked.” That’s a good thing. I want to come in and think they put me in a position to where if I did have an easy career and I made a lot of money, then I feel like my team has done their job.
I commend my team. Leonard, you’ve done a tremendous job because when I sit back and I think about my career, I say you know what? I had a cool career. I didn’t take any punishment. If they say these guys were handpicked, they was handpicked to make $40 and $50 and $60 million, then you know what? Leonard, you’ve done your job. You’ve done a tremendous job. If you’ve done that, keep doing the same thing. Keep handpicking them. If they’re going to keep paying, keep handpicking them.
One last question on that note, Floyd. As far as these younger guys getting that opportunity to fight you, do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing when they get that opportunity so
quickly as far as when it comes to their hunger and things of that nature?
It’s so crazy. I didn’t fight him when he was 40 (Canelo fighting Shane Mosley). So what’s so crazy is I didn’t fight Shane Mosley when he was 40; I fought him when he came off one of his biggest victory. People seem to forget that. I never fought nobody for a vacant belt. Everybody I fought, I fought a champion, a guy that was a champion.
These are the things that I did in the sport. Like I said before, it’s not my fault. It’s about timing and it’s about having the right team. That’s what I got. I got the right team.
One of the things I want to ask you about was is now that you’ve been through most of your
training camp for this fight and it is your quickest turnaround between the May fight and now the September fight I wondered, did you feel like you thought you would feel? As you talked about during the course of this promotion, you’re a little bit older now, perhaps a little bit wiser. Was it okay physically for you to go through that which you have not done for quite some time, having fights back-to-back with just four months in between?
I thought I was going to be kind of upset because I didn’t get a chance to take a vacation, but
actually, this camp went great. I was able to get right back into the groove, get right back in
there. Actually, it was a good turnaround because I was still sharp. I was able to be sharp. This camp has been tremendous. I’ve been getting good work, good solid work. The young guys have been pushing me. After this fight I look to fight in May and then fight in September again.
So you feel like from a physical point of view these turnarounds, after pretty much like a decade of not fighting this quickly between fights, it’s okay? You feel like … up against Canelo you’ll be maybe even sharper than when you fought Guerrero?
Well, thank you, but I wasn’t impressed with my fight against Robert. It’s probably because I
took over a year off, but I think I’ll be a lot sharper this fight because I got right back into the
groove of things. Like I said, we got a lot of young and up-and-coming talent in our boxing club that pushes me to the limit and keeping me sharp. I’m trying to outdo the young guys, so
everybody that’s … boxing club is competing against each other to be the best. The only thing that can do is make me better.
Leonard addressed it a bit in his opening remarks talking about the amount of closed circuit tickets that have already been sold, the fact that their gate record has already been broken of all time that you did with Oscar in ’07 and the fact that most people believe that this fight is going to be one of the top selling pay-per-views in the history of the sport, and some people think maybe it breaks the record you set in 2007.
What I’m curious to hear from your point of view is we know when Floyd Mayweather fights it’s a big fight, whoever it is. I’m wondering from your point of view, what do you think has made this one in particular even that much bigger than all of the other ones except perhaps the fight you had with Oscar. Why has this one resonated the way that it seems to have?
He’s young and I’ve seen guys 22 and there’s a guy 25 and … 30 and 0, a guy 26-0, but you’ve never seen a guy 44-0 versus a guy 42 and 0. Like I said before, in Mexico he’s a young rock star and everybody that they put in front of him he was able to go out there and do his job. He done it in a tremendous fashion. He’s a good, strong, solid boxer and I mean, it’s a very intriguing match up. Me not even being a boxing fan, I would want to see two undefeated fighters at the top competition against one another.
You think it’s in the sport there’s been this major pent-up demand for a true super-fight. You’ve had lots of big fights, but maybe not a true super-fight since you’ve fought against Oscar. Is that part of the reason that people have decided, for whatever reason, that Canelo was a guy that they think might have a chance to take that zero from you, and for that reason this is that big time fight?
I think that if me and Cotto had the same vehicle behind us when we faced each other, that night
would have been a lot bigger than it was. Like I said before, this is a very great big fight. I’m
pushing myself to the limit right now. Anything can happen. Any given Saturday, anything can happen. So I’m prepared for anything.
Is it just my imagination or have you gotten a little bit more mellow as the years have gone by? And I mean that as a compliment, man. I just don’t think you talk as much trash as you did a few years ago. Are you mellowing with age?
The thing is this: everything was a business plan. My business plan was to be very, very
entertaining, be very wild, turn it on when it’s time to turn it on, turn it off when it’s time to turn it off, and that’s what I did. I built my fan base. I became a mega-star. I became a household name. That was the ultimate goal. It was just a business plan that I had, you know what I’m saying? There’s nothing fake, but you got to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. That’s what I was talking about at my gym, actually with Adrian Broner, you have to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. It’s just business. It’s about being entertaining. I feel like if I didn’t step up to the plate and speak my mind or be flashy and flamboyant then I probably wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in right now. I think it’s a gift. It can be a curse because when you in this position and you at the top, it’s not just luck on my side. It’s been a gift, my career.
Being that you do hold so many records and what not, I’m curious. This fight most of us think at least has the chance to approach the 2.5 million pay per view buys you did with De La Hoya. How important is it to you, Floyd – let me ask you a different way. How much would it mean to you to break that particular record? Are those things important to you as well?
It all depends. We still can break the record and we don’t have to do 2.5 because you have to
realize this: right now we’re talking about financially. This is the reason why: I think
when I was fighting Oscar, I can’t remember what it cost exactly at that because
that was ’07, so that was six years ago. Of course, the price of everything has gone up, so the
price of pay per view is higher now. So we don’t have to do exactly 2.5 to break the record
from a financial standpoint.
To touch on what he’s saying, obviously we’re speaking in terms of the gross amounts. In ’07 most homes were just standard definition and now, when you look at the cable satellite systems, about 80% of the homes are in HD now. Obviously, with charging $64.95 for the fight, those … make a difference.
I wanted to ask you, how much does it mean to your legacy that your insistence on Olympic style drug testing for fights has led to a different mindset in that area for a lot of fighters? Is that a big part of your legacy?
What’s so crazy is at first it was like everybody was saying, “Floyd, he’s a chicken. He’s
scared” and I felt like I’m not being a chicken or I’m scared. All I’m saying is this is the
only even playing field. I feel like if I step up the plate and I’m the best and I’m saying that I
want to be tested, I feel like every athlete should say it. Not just every boxer. Every athlete
that’s competing at the highest level should want to be tested if you’re a real professional.
Do you feel that you’re the guy who changed the sport a little bit?
Absolutely. I feel I was the first one to take an important stand on cleaning up the sport. Now you hear every fighter, even with Timothy Bradley versusMarquez, now Timothy Bradley is saying that he don’t want to fight unless Marquez tests. So you’re constantly hearing that. Now everybody, or at least the guys that understand how important it is, are now is saying, “I want my opponent to test. The guy that I’m competing against, I want him to take a test.” Like I said before, I started it all and now, like I said before, it’s done everywhere.
Considering the magnitude of this fight card do you think the stage might be too big for a 23
year-old kid who’s never been on one this size?
We’ll just have to see. I think it’s a little different from fighting on Floyd Mayweather’s under
Card to fighting Floyd Mayweather, so I think it’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes when it’s pressure a guy fights better, he competes better. We don’t really know. We have to see how the fight plays out. Hopefully the pressure and everything that’s surrounding the event makes them fight better. The only thing I want to do is give the fans a good fight, a very, very exciting fight. After this fight I have four fights left, so I’m not overlooking this guy, but like I said, I truly believe there’s a lot of pressure on Canelo at this particular time, yes.
What are your thoughts on Kenny Bayless being named the referee?
I just found out about that today. I mean, Kenny Bayless, he’s a great referee. He’s fair.
I think he’s going to let us fight. A lot of times you’ve got refs that’s always trying to break up the action, and Kenny Bayless is one guy – he’s not for the bull (****). He likes to treat every fighter fair.
I’m comfortable with whoever. My job is just to go out there and compete. It doesn’t matter
who is the referee or the judges. I just want to be treated fair, of course. I feel like both fighters should be treated fair. I feel like they chose the right judges. I feel like they chose the right referee. Now it’s time for me and Canelo to go out there and give you guys excitement.
I know you’re a big sports fan. I don’t know if you’ve watched the U.S. Open tennis tournament at all. What kind of tennis player do you think you would have been had you not been a boxer and is there a tennis player out there competing today that you think might make a pretty good boxer?
I don’t know. As far as tennis, I used to like John McEnroe. After
John McEnroe, Pete Sampras. But of course, Arthur Ashe was a legend. His name will always live on. As far as in Las Vegas, of course you have to take your hat off to Andre Agassi, Mr. Las Vegas along with Wayne Newton and myself. I got to, the Williams sisters, of course. Venus and Serena, man, unbelievable. … I used to like her (Serena) too. I remember how you she was and how good she was even then. She was a good player. So yes. What’s crazy right now is my Uncle Roger’s daughter is playing tennis. They are saying that in about in like six years she should be a professional.
Comments (following question) What I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been betting on college football. So if you guys tune into All Access, this week All Access will be the best. Last week, I thought that was the best, but this week you guys get a chance to meet the females from the Money team, so it’s going to be an exciting show. I want everybody to tune in to All Access this weekend. This is show number three of All Access, Mayweather versus Canelo. You guys cannot miss this.
I just wanted to touch on the fact that a lot of English fans are coming out to see you in this fight, some even without tickets. What do you make of the fact that you’ve been taken to so well by the British public?
I can answer that for him. His phone went dead. He takes great pride in his U.K. fans,
obviously, and it goes back to ’07 when Floyd fought Ricky Hatton. The environment in the arena was something that we had never experienced before. Even up until this date I think it was the rowdiest crowd. The British fans are just phenomenal. After the fight when the fight was over Floyd gave thanks to Ricky Hatton and talked about the tremendous fan support with the U.K. fans. I think from that point on there was a love affair and it started from there. I think with each and every fight that Floyd has fought his British fan base has grown even bigger and bigger. He really, really appreciates the fan support because they are die hard fans. Here it was that Ricky Hatton, with all due respect, he took a beat down and they were still cheering their guy on, singing the song. They’re just die hard fans and that was one of the reasons why we signed the guy … Because like I said, Floyd has great love for his U.K. fans and hopefully one day soon we might make that trip over the pond.
I actually wanted to find out what it was … he said to us that he’d spoken to Floyd about Floyd thinking about moving over and looking at a place to live over here. I just kind of wanted to get his thoughts on our culture and what it was that he particularly liked about England itself.
Well, he obviously has put some feelers out there with looking for a place, a vacation place, but one of the things from the business standpoint, we’re looking to take a big event over there, and maybe in the near future.
I want to ask you about Mayweather Promotions being part of this fight which is going to do
huge on pay per view, break all these records. What is the status now? You’ve seen a lot of
other promotions. Where do you think Mayweather Promotions is compared to some of the
other major boxing promotions today?
Well, I wouldn’t compare our promotional company to any other company because we’re not
competing with anyone. As Drake says in his song, we started from the bottom and now we’re here. Obviously, Mayweather Promotions has the biggest fighter in the sport. With Floyd being the face of the company we’re able to attract all different types of talent. We’ve been taking our time working very, very slowly, but we’re going to make a lot of noise here in the near future – a lot of noise. Currently right now I have ten fighters that signed to Mayweather Promotions and seven of them are fighting on the card. We have seven of the eight fights on 9/14. We have Badou Jack who’s fighting the co-feature on the Fox show. He’s fighting Periban. We have a lot of young, good talent that they’re on the rise. Obviously, we have Ishe Smith and … Ishe would be a world champion and … fighting also on the card opening up the pay per view portion. So we have a lot of good young talent and we’re taking our time with the right talent. It’s about the quality, not the quantity. We’re going to take our time and we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with when the time is right.
Were you surprised at all, on this conference call there was very little discussion about what to expect in the ring itself between Floyd and Canelo. It was almost like there’s a foregone
conclusion that Floyd’s going to win one way or another. Did that surprise you; there wasn’t
more technique talk from questions about that?
Well, we don’t get caught up in the aspect of what everyone else thinks. That’s up to the media and the fans. From a preparation standpoint I personally know that Floyd, he’s preparing the same that he normally does for any fight and he’s treating this fight accordingly. In everyone else’s eyes, they see that this is Floyd’s biggest challenge to date and come next Saturday the world will see. We know what Canelo is bringing to the table. We’ve done extensive homework on the young man. He’s a tremendous fighter. He’s fought some decent competition thus far, but fighting Floyd Mayweather is like night and day. Floyd, with all due respect, Austin Trout, in my eyes, he was the best fighter that he’s fought to date. Floyd Mayweather is head and shoulders above a guy like Austin Trout. I think come next Saturday night the young man, he will be in for a rude awakening.