‘Patience comes with experience’ – Mayweather on retirement, McGregor & Moscow
The tour is one of the many activities with which the former five-weight world champion has busied himself since retiring in 2015, including a trip across the UK.
Since the fighter they call ‘Money’ hung up his gloves following a swansong victory over Andre Berto – the 49th of an unblemished professional slate stretching back to 1996 – he has rarely evaded the spotlight.
Mayweather’s career as a promoter has been just as high-profile as his boxing career; his eponymously-named Mayweather Promotions stable has produced world champions in Badou Jack and Gervonta Davis, the latter being the youngest current champion in the sport.
A mooted bout with UFC motormouth and megastar Conor McGregor has also given added relevance to the man widely recognized as the greatest fighter of his generation.
But something is markedly different: there has been no frittering of 100 dollar bills into TV cameras as he shouts and repeats every syllable of his name. Recent appearances have been measured and devoid of trash talk.
Even turning up to his academy just outside Moscow – albeit after a typically suspense-inducing late arrival accompanied by his ubiquitous entourage and custom music – Floyd was understatedly dressed in a black top and cap, with boxing shorts and boots.
At the opening, the 40-year-old offered an insight into his recent life, which has seen a shift from the flash, brash lifestyle of his fighting days to a more relaxed, reserved and responsible demeanor.
After leading a handful of prospective boxers through an open training session using the academy’s impressive facilities, Mayweather received questions from the gathered press where he discussed his relaxed new lifestyle.
“I think patience comes with experience. A lot of patience comes with a lot of experience. I’ve been involved in professional boxing for 21 years so I have a lot of patience,” Mayweather told RT Sport.
Mayweather’s focus has been on bringing through the next generation of boxing talent. Gervonta Davis became the youngest champion in boxing when he won the IBF super-featherweight championship aged 22, which led Mayweather to refer to him as “the future of boxing.”
“Only time will tell. The only thing we can do is put him in the right fights and stand behind him. I as his promoter will try my best to lead his career in the right way, but only time will tell,” Mayweather said of his charge.
When it was suggested Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko, 28, could perhaps emulate Mayweather’s achievements, Floyd dryly reminded the audience that at that age he was already a champion of four weight divisions and a pay-per-view draw.
“I can’t say if there is a fighter out there who could achieve what I achieved in my career because it will be difficult. I started very early as a teenager,” Mayweather told reporters gathered in the academy.
“To achieve the same success as I did, it’s not enough to be able to just fight well, you need much more than that. You need to be able to control yourself not only in the ring but also push your limits.”
Mayweather’s ring achievements brought him worldwide admiration, but also admonishment for his frivolous, flashy displays of wealth outside it. Boxers queued up for a chance to face him and earn some of the riches he possessed.
That has not changed since Floyd officially retired. However, his appeal has extended to MMA, with Irish two-weight UFC champ McGregor repeatedly calling for the American to face him in a multimillion-dollar hybrid fight – a bout Mayweather has yet to rule out.
“Firstly we need to agree a fight and then after we can agree on a place. If somehow it turns out the fight will be in Moscow, then I have no problem. If I had to choose now then I would choose Moscow,” he said.
Will Floyd finally be tempted to swap his placid post-ring life for a challenge from the latest fast-talking fast-punching star of the fight game?
Only time will tell.
By Danny Armstrong for RT Sport