Floyd Mayweather Jr: It's not race, Floyd...it's characterWritten by Joseph Herron
(Image courtesy of Showtime)
"When you think about what's going on out here in the world today, as far as racism, there's a lot of racism that goes on in the sport of boxing," claims Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"If I was a White-American fighter, with the same aura, the same style, the same pizzazz, I'd be a multi-billionaire."
Minus the "fighter" factor, it sounds like Floyd just described singer, entertainer, and personal friend Justin Bieber.
Yes, because of the lack of team alliances, many fans throughout boxing's long and storied history have indeed gravitated towards nationality, culture, and region when deciding which pugilist to support during a prizefight.
But because boxing is still driven by competition, a combatant's ability in the ring, selected match-up, personality, and overall marketability have always determined which prizefighters eventually become the most popular and the highest earners of the once culturally significant American sport.
According to Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza, race isn't one of the determining factors in dictating who becomes a legitimate star of boxing, and how much a fighter earns per year.
"There's a combination of factors," stated the astute attorney and Showtime Sports executive to Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report. "Performance in the ring is an enormous factor. Probably the most dominant factor in deciding that. Marketing support is important."
"But that really to a large extent is overblown."
"What fighters need most of all are two things. They need good rivals for entertaining, career defining fights, and they need authentic personalities.
"That's really the combination."
"All the marketing in the world won't help you if your fighter doesn't have any opponents lined up and doesn't have a saleable personality. That's where everything comes from...not the other way around."
But Floyd isn't referring to merely making millions for his efforts in the ring or becoming a big star. He's already achieved those milestones, and was once again named Forbes highest paid athlete in the world for the fiscal year 2013-2014.
Two mammoth, money making fights from July 2013 to July 2014 made Mayweather only the second athlete ever to earn more than $100 million in one year.
So what is Floyd Jr. referring to when he claims that he would be a multi-billionaire if he were a White-American fighter instead?
If he's referring to the amount of revenue he made from endorsements last year, or more accurately the lack of, he would be wrong in making this assessment as well.
Although Money May was easily the highest paid athlete in the entire world during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, none of Floyd's amazing $105 million gross revenue came by way of endorsement proceeds.
Compare this figure to LeBron James who pulled in a whopping $72.3 million last year, with $53 million of it coming from endorsements from various Fortune 500 companies like Nike, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Upper Deck, and many others.
Sales of his signature Nike shoes were tops among active players at $300 million in the United States during 2013, and his jersey was the NBA's best seller last year.
Last time anyone bothered to check, he remains to this day an African-American athlete.
Not only is LeBron the most widely recognized active player in the very popular National Basketball Association, but the four-time league MVP also makes a habit of not making slanderous or controversial remarks directed towards any of the owners or other athletes in and around the NBA.
And probably of greatest importance, "King" James definitely isn't a convicted felon who has a history of domestic violence.
So rather than slandering the sport that continuously serves as the a vehicle that puts Floyd atop the Forbes' "highest paid athlete" list every year, or raising the always divisive race card when making excuses for various shortcomings, a quick look in the mirror would probably be a more accurate place to start.