x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Floyd Mayweather prepares to fight Saul Alvarez as ‘the last of my breed’

Floyd Mayweather Jr has been picked as a favourite over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, 23, a redhead who is Mexico’s biggest sporting hero and is undefeated in 42 fights. But the level of his competition has been nowhere near that of Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather, left, and Saul
Floyd Mayweather, left, and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez pose during the final news conference Wednesday. The pair are scheduled to fight on Saturday night at Las Vegas for Mayweather's WBA Super World and Alvarez's WBC junior middleweight titles. John Locher / AP Photo

LAS VEGAS // By now, most people who care know as much about Floyd Mayweather Jr as they will ever need to know, thanks to the reality TV shows in which he is featured before every big fight.

There is the fleet of exotic cars in three different cities and the mansion where Mayweather and his entourage hang out.

Rappers and other boxers drop in occasionally, and on payday, Mayweather hands out stacks of $100 bills to the considerable number of people in his employ.

It is big, flashy, and about as real as reality TV gets. But as Mayweather prepares for Saturday night’s fight against the undefeated Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, we have learned even more.

So here are a few tidbits about Mayweather you may not have known: He likes cheeseburgers. At 3 in the morning on the Las Vegas Strip, he and the posse can often be found at Fatburger.

He can lose at the sports book.

Mayweather loves to post pictures on Twitter with six-figure wins on his bets, but acknowledged this week he lost a big bet Monday night on the NFL’s Houston Texans.

He can name every car on duPont Registry, his favorite online shopping site. He owns many of them, almost all in white and in fleets at homes at Las Vegas, Miami and Los Angeles.

He spends big money, sometimes as much as US$200,000 (Dh734,620), for handbags for his female friends. Then he buys them something called “Baginizers” to make sure everything inside is organised.

He is in business with a Chinese company that manufactures his The Money Team apparel. His business partner is named China Mike “because everybody’s got to have a nickname.” Mayweather has a nickname, too, though it is different than the one he had when he first started boxing professionally 17 years ago.

He was Pretty Boy Floyd then, before America discovered him as the villain they would pay to watch and before he had the cars and the mansion on a golf course.

He is Money May now, and he is the highest-paid athlete in the country. And he will make at least $41 million to fight Alvarez, bringing his take for the year in two fights to a whopping $73 million.

But Mayweather earns it because people who do not like him will pay to see if he will lose, and his fans will reach into their pockets to cheer him on for another win.

The pay-per-view access will cost a record $75 this time, leading promoters to boast that this could be the richest fight ever, surpassing the 2007 bout between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. That may or may not happen, but the idea that Alvarez might be the one fighter with the stuff to finally beat Mayweather has made this one of the most anticipated fights in years.

Mayweather was a less-than-fashionable 37 minutes late to the final pre-fight news conference Wednesday at the MGM Grand casino, not that it mattered.

“I’ve been here before. I know what it takes,” Mayweather said. “I was born to be here, born to be at this level.”

Mayweather has been picked as a favourite over Alvarez, 23, a redhead who is Mexico’s biggest sporting hero and is undefeated in 42 fights. But the level of his competition has been nowhere near that of Mayweather, and he will be fighting at 152 pounds (68kg), two pounds below the 154-pound mark where he holds his title belts.

“I’m not just ready,” Alvarez said. “I’m ready to win.”

Mayweather’s whopping guarantee is made possible by pay-per-view sales and ringside seats that sell for $2,000. Still, promoters say they hope to get near the two million mark for viewers from pay TV, helped largely by the Hispanic market backing Alvarez.

In the end, though, it is Mayweather who is the star of this fight, just as he has been for almost every fight of his career.

“I feel like I’m the last of my breed,” Mayweather said.

“I earned it the hard way.”