Floyd Mayweather’s Army of Clones

By Richard V. Powell on July 27, 2012
Floyd Mayweather’s Army of Clones
You take the silver or the lead. You smile as we tell you what we will give you or you will die.

Adrien Broner wants his big brother to be proud. Adrien Broner wants his big brother to recognize him as a chip off the old block…

A reporter asked Adrien Broner what was the first thing that came to his mind when heard the name Floyd Mayweather. “My big brother,” he said.

Broner’s mimicking of his “big brother” was evident last week in his fight against Vicente Escodedo. He wore a shirt into the ring that said Free Money May. He strutted and primped. He put on his best Pretty Boy Floyd impersonation. It sometimes seems that Broner is so infatuated with Mayweather that he’s fighting for an audience of one. 

Of course Broner wants his big brother to be proud. He wants his big brother to recognize him as a chip off the old block. During the weekend’s festivities, he announced that he could care less what the rest of the world thinks, echoing the attitude of his big brother/hero.

A case in point was his response after he failed to make weight (twice) against Escobedo. There were no apologies, no regrets for any inconvenience, or possible harm, he might have caused his opponent. There was only defiance as he matter-of-factly stated that he couldn’t make the weight anymore and that was that. If someone didn’t like it, well, too bad for them.

Unfortunately this trend doesn’t stop with Broner. Mayweather is influencing many more people than The Problem from Cincinnati. Visit boxing gyms across the country and you’ll find the Money May persona influencing waves of young fighters that adopt his style and pattern their careers after his.

One of the bestselling items of Mayweather merchandise is the line of “I Love Haters” clothing. The gyms are full of aspiring boxers wearing the socks and caps proclaiming their allegiance to Money May.

Mayweather casts a long shadow, but nowhere is it as dark as in Las Vegas, the place he calls home. Consider Devin Haney. He is an aspiring 13-year-old boxer from Las Vegas who trains at the Hit Factory Gym. Devon is trained by Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and for all intents and purposes looks to have a real future in the sport. Although he’s around Hasim Rahman and Zab Judah, it’s clearly it‘s all about Floyd Mayweather whenever he’s asked about his favorite boxer. “Floyd Mayweather is definitely my favorite boxer,” says Haney. “He works harder than anybody.  He talks a lot but backs it up.” Devon pauses and smiles before continuing. “And, oh yeah, he’s got more haters than anybody.” 

Liking the fact that legions of fans detest you is an important part of the Mayweather persona.  Each “hater” represents profit and that’s what Money May is about. The Holy Grail for Money May is to step into an arena filled with thousands of “haters” yearning for his destruction. He revels in and laughs at their ignorance as they pay to see him defeated, again and again and again, propelling him to ever bigger paydays.

What will boxing look like in 20 years as the current wave of Mayweather clones works its way through the sport? The system as we know it is an imperfect system, but it’s in danger of devolving into something extremely unpleasant.  Mayweather’s mindset and objectives represent a disruptive business model that threatens to bring down the big promoters like Top Rank and Golden Boy. And now with his friend 50 Cent entering the boxing promotional arena, Mayweather is gaining more and more control. 

Mayweather’s alliance with manager Al Haymon, the puppeteer in boxing’s puppet theater, has given the duo more control over HBO and Showtime than they perhaps deserve. A recent example is the $200,000 payday for Keith Thurman on the Broner-Escobedo undercard. If you want Broner, you must take Thurman and pay him X. A typical payday for that fight would have been less than half that amount.

Haymon masterfully leverages his ever-growing client list to gain more and more power while Mayweather has begun promoting concerts. Recently Mayweather Promotions was advertising concerts for the popular rapper Drake and continues to spreads his wings over the entertainment industry.  Mayweather could soon have so much power that those looking to profit in the sport will have to get permission. Big Brother indeed.

Mayweather works within our free market system and there is nothing illegal about what he does. But operating under his control can be disheartening. Those outside his inner circle will find themselves working twice as hard to make half as much. His $40 million offer to Manny Pacquiao last February gives us an inkling of how he operates. If Pacquiao had accepted, Mayweather would have cleared an estimated $160 million and royalties for the broadcast rights in the future. Pacquiao said he was embarrassed by the offer and the negotiations were over. Much like his sucker punch of Victor Ortiz, what Mayweather does is within the rules but it sure leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

As the young Mayweather clones put their own spin on the Money May persona, what will boxing look like down the road? Nothing but a cold, hard business full of independent contractors who are blatant in their demands. Hate and greed will reign supreme. 

As the old guard of Bob Arum, Jose Sulaiman and even Don King (all in their 80s) step down, the enemies will storm the citadel. The future movers and shakers in boxing will run their organizations like Mexican drug cartels. You take the silver or the lead. You smile as we tell you what we will give you or you will die. 

Big Brother will definitely be proud.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. hernanday 08:44am, 10/25/2012

    I think lots of people are missing the point of the article.  When doing business in dirty and low tactics becomes the most popular way for doing business, you create a poisionous business atmosphere and everyone loses out.

    -Fans: Don’;t get to see the fights they want
    -Boxers: Have trouble rising through the ranks and getting recognized unless they bow down to mayweather and haymon.  This in turn discourages top boxers from wanting to box, leading to the further degeneration of boxing.  Never mind boxer’s being ripped off in cheap heart deals.  Can you imagine if Muhammad Ali insisted upon Foreman or Frazier 1/4th or 1/5th of what he was making.  Its a joke really. If Floyd’s way of business becomes the norm it will just be one more stake in the boxing game and it will be close to falling out of existence.  People under 40 hardly care for boxing and lack of super fights is a major reason.  Floyd doesn’t even fight on regular tv anymore like tyson use to.
    -Promoters and managers and trainers: Will lose out too from lopsided deals and this will likely lead to the ultimate decline of boxing.  Once the gyms start closing down, coupled with the general disinterest in boxing, lopsided matchups, lack of exposure by only being on ppv, and lack of financial benefit for contenders and their trainers, managers and promoters, then boxing will slowly die.
    -Nothing wrong with making money, but don’t rip off your opponent when you become champ

  2. Christopher Lee 07:44pm, 07/31/2012

    This article mirrors some FOX NEWS reporting.  How could you write an article like this?  The boxer puts his life on the line and on hold to fight.  Why should the promoters take any money at all.  This concept of Americans doing less work making all the money off the sweat of honest workers is modern day slavery.  The industrial revolution that took place was sparked off slave labor (cotton) did you forget that?  I can say one thing though. Money May does act like a person that never had anything.  But to compare him as a unfair businessman is criminal.  900,000 PPV for PAC last fight and Money May last PPV 1.5 million sold.  The number’s make sense to me so why would Money May want to have a 50-50 split.  Your incredible dislike for this man is understandable but to say he is going to ruin the future of boxing is disrespectful to fans of this site.  PAC held a fight up for another sporting event and then delayed it further by another 30 minutes.  I was pissed because I actually paid for the fight and I was entertaining guest to have this guy MIA. (He isn’t professional?)
    Look I get it, Money May is a disgusting person and role model but he revived the sport after the demise of Tyson.  Roy Jones testing positive for steroids after a fight and journalists are quick to praise the guy.  Give the guy a little respect.

  3. Darrell 06:47pm, 07/28/2012

    The vilification of Floyd continues unabated.  In a sport which has been inhabited, both in & out of the ring, by some truly horrible human beings the hatred of a confident & business savvy fighter seems incomprehensible.  Get real, you’ve surely seen much worse, I know I have.  Rios for one, Naseem Hamed being another.

    Big brother comparisons are laughable, until I see the title fights for the FBO (Floyd Boxing Organisation) I’ll give those silly assertions a sliver of credence.

    Broner is a bit of a young jerk, not too shocking really…if Floyd bears some responsibility for it, I hope he invoices Broner for any sad attempts at the imitation.

  4. the thresher 01:43pm, 07/28/2012

    One of the things that sets David Haye apart is that he has no entourage and that’s because he is smart—nothing more, nothing less. SRR had a big one as did Chavez Senior and they didn’t do either guy much good, but in May’s case, he has so much money, it really doesn’t matter—at least I don’t think it does.

    Possees are fine but they can drain the tank

  5. jason riley 06:58am, 07/28/2012

    Floyd is doing exactly what Oscar and Golden Boy did but the actual boxer—the guy who puts their life on the line, will receive the bulk share of the money. Ask Tyson, Oscar, Floyd and Manny what their money was like when they were with Arum vs. being their own boss. Lastly please don’t infer the old guard is any better than this new guard—Arum, King and Sulaiman are certified liars and thieves.

  6. Don from Prov 03:43am, 07/28/2012

    Money May and Fiddy Cent—

    We’re just about all set now.

  7. paul 11:56pm, 07/27/2012

    reinforcing the old adage: the idiots always win. Watching Money and 50’s on-camera clown antics is truly cringe-worthy, and of course, how would they respond to that? ‘We don’t give a f**k’ - causing further cringes, it’s a vicious circle. I just pray for any poor kids who are trying to imitate him that they do become as successful as he does in boxing because how they would fare in the real world is pretty easy to answer in most cases

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