Floyd Mayweather, Jr., largely considered the best boxer on the planet right now, is mulling over a move to mixed martial arts according to a report by ESPN.com.
Apparently, Mayweather has developed a relationship with HDNet’s Mark Cuban and the two have been in discussion about various avenues that the five-division world boxing champion could take to get involved in MMA. Competing in the sport doesn’t seem to be the only option discussed between the two business moguls.
“Floyd is considering fighting with HDNet Fights,” Cuban told ESPN.com. “We are going to let him visit some gyms to talk to some folks about what it would take to learn. He knows it won’t be easy. But he is getting involved with MMA and HDNet Fights one way or another. He is pumped about it. He wants to go on to the next big thing. Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money.”
Indeed. Mayweather was one half of the record-setting pay-per-view event with Oscar De La Hoya, which generated 2.4 million buys. His recent bout against British fighter Ricky Hatton (850,000 buys) was the biggest pay-per-view fight in history not involving De La Hoya or heavyweights Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, according to ESPN.com.
Mayweather raked in more than $50 million from those two fights alone in 2007.
“If I said there’s a guaranteed $30 million payday, Floyd would be lacing them up,” Cuban said, optimistic that Mayweather would participate in an MMA match eventually. “If not, I could see him working to train and develop and invest in MMA fighters, knowing the upside. He can teach them how to be a better boxer and add to their other skills.”
Leonard Ellerbe, a close friend and associate of Mayweather’s told ESPN.com, “”Floyd is about taking on challenges. This ain’t some kind of prank. That is one of many things we’ve talked about with Mark. Floyd would have to take time to really understand it, but it is most definitely something he is interested in.”
Mayweather’s discussions with Cuban come at a time when boxing has actually made a resurgence; not died the lingering death so often reported in the media. But his involvement, in any facet, would likely be regarded as a considerable boost for MMA’s rise in popularity.
Just the press about his considering the move is sure to be great publicity for Cuban’s fledgling promotion, HDNet Fights.