Speaking publicly for the first time since the announcement of his exclusive multi-fight venture with Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corporation, Floyd Mayweather Jr. promised excitement on HBO’s rival network “for the next 30 months” during a Thursday press conference in Detroit.
Under the terms of a “revenue-sharing arrangement” with Showtime Pay Per View, which could have the five-division titleholder fighting “six times over a period of 30 months,” Mayweather will make his first-ever appearance on Showtime Pay Per View against Robert Guerrero on May 4.
“Showtime and CBS, I’ve got to take my hat off to them. They did a tremendous job and I am happy to be a part of this family. It’s not just Showtime, it’s CBS too,” said Mayweather of a deal that could be worth a guaranteed $250,000 million, according to an online report by Forbes’ Magazine.
“I have to give everyone their just due and credit. They are partners, came together and gave me a great deal and one I couldn’t refuse. I couldn’t ask for a better deal. I am comfortable in this new relationship and my team is happy too. It’s like a new marriage and I feel good about it. I will be ready to go May 4, Cinco de Mayo. It’s going to MayDay and May-Per-View.”
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Mayweather was at the MGM Grand in Detroit, where his Mayweather Promotions was touting Saturday night’s Showtime-televised IBF junior middleweight title defense by Cornelius Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) against veteran Ishe Smith (24-5, 11 KOs) at the Masonic Temple Theater.
“As you all know this event is being co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Floyd Mayweather,” said Stephen Espinoza, who was hired as Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming in November of 2011.
“As you also know, Mr. Mayweather has been in the news this week as the result of a little announcement he made about a deal with Showtime and CBS, which we are very, very proud of. We look forward to a very long relationship.”
“It is going to be a great fight this Saturday night on Showtime. I am telling everyone right now, if they don’t have Showtime already, they have to go out and get it,” said Mayweather.
“You can’t miss Floyd Mayweather or Mayweather Promotions fighters who are fortunate to be fighting on this network. For the next 30 months I will give you excitement. You can believe that.”
Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts), who is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto for the WBA’s junior middleweight belt last May that according to Forbes, netted Mayweather a total of $45 million.
“I am happy to be the face of boxing and give the fans the excitement they are looking for,” said Mayweather, who turns 36 on Sunday. “It is all about hard work and dedication. I do that every time I prepare for a fight and Mayweather Promotions’ goal is to do that too. My career is not over yet.”
Mayweather’s bout with Guerrero includes a rematch clause, as well — for his fourth straight fight — random drug testing to be administered by United States Anti-Doping Agency.
“I don’t think people give me the credit that I’m due for dealing with the drug issues in our sport,” said Mayweather. “I’m the pioneer when it comes to making sure fighters have an equal playing field when we fight. We need to take random blood and urine tests to make our sport fair and safe.”
Mayweather was named “The Best Fighter,” or, what is essentially Fighter of The Year at the ESPYs’ in July of last year.
“I have done it my whole life and I have always worked hard to be the best. That was my goal from the very beginning,” said Mayweather.
Mayweather offered praise to Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), a 29-year-old winner of 15 consecutive bouts during a run that includes nine stoppages.
“Robert Guerrero is a champion. For this guy to be mentioned with some of the top fighters in today’s time, he must have done something right or correct in his career. This is a guy who I know I can’t overlook. I have to push myself to the limit. I have to dedicate myself and I have to do what it takes to stay at the top,” said Mayweather.
“Guerrero is a very aggressive fighter. I am starting to train. As a matter of fact, this week I was out on the basketball court with some young kids working on my cardio. I have to build my cardio up to fight Guerrero. I will not overlook him. I don’t overlook anyone. I know that everyone who fights me is gunning for me, so I have to be ready for what they are ready to give me.”
As for Saturday night, Mayweather touted Smith, who has won three straight, two of them by knockout, since falling by unanimous decision to Fernando Guerrero.
“I promised Ishe a title fight and I lived up to my side of the bargain. Now he has to go out there, perform and get the job done. It’s great to showcase J’Leon Love too, a local Detroit fighter who now trains out of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. He is a very exciting fighter and I am looking forward to seeing him fight too,” said Mayweather.
“Ishe Smith is not a walk in the park for K9 Bundradge. Ishe Smith is not Cory Spinks and he [Bundrage] needs to understand that. K9 is world champion and I give him credit for being in this fight, but he is going in against a great fighter in Ishe Smith and I think Ishe and Mayweather Promotions will prevail Saturday night.
Also to be featured on the card is an all-Michigan battle as Detroit prospect J’Leon Love (14-0, 8 KOs) takes on Derek Findley (20-8, 13 KOs), of Chicago.
“I actually work with J’Leon Love on a daily basis, so I feel like I am getting my experience as a trainer too,” said Mayweather.
“I get motivated just by watching the young fighters, going to the boxing matches and watching these young guys come up. Even though it is hard for me to go out to a boxing match, as it does get a little crazy when I show up, I have been doing it lately and being around the sport. Watching the fights is exciting and helps me stay motivated.”
“I am really happy right now,” said Mayweather. “Showtime, let’s do it.”
Photos by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org