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Calling the Shots: How Floyd Mayweather Changed the Business of Sport with his Own Fists
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Calling the Shots: How Floyd Mayweather Changed the Business of Sport with his Own Fists

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First-year Sports Management student, Evan Planchon, looks at the bad boy of boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and his influence outside of the ring, in the first article of his series on business in sports: Calling the Shots.

Money, power and fame; three words that impeccably define one of the 21st century’s most recognizable and successful sports icons: Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr.

The recently-retired boxer broke all the odds, records and any opponents who stood in his way during his illustrious career. ‘Money’, as he refers to himself, hung up his gloves for a second and definite time with a 49-0 win-loss ratio, leaving an undefeated legacy behind him and sharing Rocky Marciano’s record for future boxing prodigies to beat.

I haven’t changed boxing, I’ve changed sports.

– Floyd Mayweather after his final fight in September 2015

For Floyd Mayweather, the world shouldn’t remember him for his uncontested record, but rather for what he did for the sport of boxing and, most importantly, for sports in general.

The historic fight between Mayweather and the former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao back in May 2015 is evidence. The ‘Fight of the Century’ was expected to be the most entertaining bout for generations, however, it did not live up to its name and show-stopping expectations, with more focus on the money aspect. The fight was more a business deal than a boxing confrontation to most fans and boxing experts, as Mayweather took home $170 million and Pacquiao $95.2 million.

Floyd Mayweather Staredown

Mayweather’s earnings worked out as $5 million per minute and $15 million per single round; far more than anything ever recorded in sports and leaving the entire global sports management industry stunned.

Floyd Money Mayweather is, without any doubt, the best fighter of his era but also the best businessman that sports has ever seen. His partnership with the pay-per-view broadcast (PPV) and brand (TBE) has seen broadcasting and sponsorship revenues explode to sums of up to $400 million in the U.S.A alone. His opponents relentlessly strived for the opportunity of fighting Mayweather with the dual motivation of inflicting a first loss to the champ and a very rewarding guaranteed paycheck.

It must be acknowledged that behind Mayweather’s lucrative career a large amount of blood, sweat and tears were shed. Boxing experts described Mayweather’s work ethic, dedication and focus as beyond measure. Whether he is fighting at the MGM Grand or investing in corporations, Mayweather has repeatedly shown his ability to fully dedicate himself.

Mayweather changed the business of sports. From the management to the sponsorship contracts to the financial rewards, the former boxer did not only greatly influence the sport of boxing but sports in general, including the motivations of competing athletes. Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. leaves boxing a very different business to when he entered it aged 18, with a much more money-focused stance. Whether Mayweather changed it for better or for worse depends on an individual’s opinion, but he will surely not be soon forgotten from the sports management industry.