By Sean Crose
Anyone on Twitter Wednesday afternoon could have typed in the word “Mayweather,” and been treated to a blow by blow of an important event in contemporary boxing. No, it wasn’t a fight – it was, instead, the placing of a flag on a battlefield.
For Floyd Mayweather, arguably the pound for pound best fighter on earth, was approved to become a boxing promoter in Las Vegas. Although some may not find that in and of itself to be a big deal, it’s enormous news for the fight game.
The truth is that Mayweather will now no longer need Golden Boy Promotions to promote fights in Las Vegas. The relationship between the fighter and Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya has never been good. Now it might well be severed. Permanently. Make no mistake about it. The two have gone from being frenemies to being outright competitors.
Of course De La Hoya may not have a whole lot to worry about right away. Golden Boy is an established giant, after all, a well oiled machine that can carry as good a promotion as any. Mayweather Promotions, on the other hand, is arguably an organization which is going to go through a lot of growing pains before it reaches the top of boxing’s mountain.
Still, there is certainly a need for both De La Hoya and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum to be concerned about Wednesday’s developments. Mayweather, after all, is backed by the powerful and enigmatic Al Haymon. And Haymon has a whole lot of popular fighters at his disposal. If and/or when Haymon decides to take those fighters he can over to Mayweather’s outfit, the entire boxing landscape will be altered.
However things work out, though, Mayweather is smart enough to say he wants to expand boxing’s fan base. He’s also ambitious enough to declare that he might promote MMA bouts as well as boxing matches. The Nevada Athletic Commission was clearly impressed with Mayweather’s credentials, as it voted unanimously, 5-0, to grant him a promoters license.
“The outlets are totally different now from when I started out,” Mayweather was quoted as saying in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We’re building a fight at such a high level. It’s not just about attracting boxing fans. It’s about everyone.”
One has to wonder how Mayweather would possibly be able to return the sport of boxing from societies margins, where it’s arguably been for close to twenty years now. Yet it’s worth noting that Mayweather is correct when he claims he’s proved boxing can be successful without an overtly destructive fighter as the face of the sport. In other words, if anyone can be boxing back into the mainstream, the guy they call Money may be the one who can.
Perhaps this was why the commission was so warm with Mayweather during Wednesday’s hearing. “The commission usually finds issues with applications for a promoter’s license,” Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Journal-Review wrote, “whether it’s financial or personal.” Yet the commission clearly wasn’t concerned with Mayweather’s past criminal offenses or with the way he’s handled some of the millions he’s earned.
No matter what else can be said about the man, Floyd Mayweather has proven himself to be an enormously successful athlete – the most successful on earth, in fact. The question now, however, is whether or not he will be a successful promoter, as well. The transition from boxer to promoter clearly went well for De La Hoya. It seems to be going well for Mike Tyson, too. Will the same be able to be said of Mayweather?
As always, time will tell the tale.