Boxing: Floyd Mayweather

Yormark won't give up on getting Floyd

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo AlvarezAP Photo/Eric JamisonBarclays CEO Brett Yormark has his sights set on Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Having come to know Nets and Barclays CEO Brett Yormark the tiniest bit over the past couple of years and getting a read on the man, how he operates and his drive to secure big deals, I had to assume that he didn't punch a wall when he was told that Floyd Mayweather would be fighting at the MGM Grand, and not Barclays Center, on May 3.

I chatted with Yormark on Thursday, a day after the boxing world learned that Mayweather, the 37-year-old undefeated specialist who is the most richly compensated athlete in the sports world, would be returning to his virtual home base, the MGM, to meet Marcos Maidana.

I jokingly asked Yormark if he pulled an Elvis, cocked a pistol and fired a round into his television when told that Barclays wouldn't be landing what he terms "the Super Bowl of boxing."

"I was a little disappointed," he allowed. "We came hard and strong with a great marketing and financing package," which he said is probably the largest offered to deliver any performer at any NYC venue. "But you can't make up for comfort and convenience. I think that ultimately swayed Mayweather and his team."

Yormark said he will attend the Mayweather bout in Vegas. And I'm pretty certain he will continue to press, politely but firmly, to land the next Mayweather fight, which will unfold in September.

"We're going to get the megafight one day," Yormark said. "We showed [Mayweather advisor] Al Haymon [and promoter] Richard Schaefer we mean business. We want to be the place for big-time fights."

The social media Einsteins assumed Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) would use the MGM as his staging ground for the ninth consecutive occasion, but Yormark said he was more than optimistic that Floyd & Co. would see the wisdom in freshening things up and come to the media and marketing capital of the planet, New York City.

"I thought we were going to get it. In my heart and gut, I thought we'd get it," the CEO admitted. "But it's only a matter of time 'til we get the big one."

Armchair analysts like to point out the supposedly onerous tax black clouds that hang over the heads of athletes and entertainers who come to New York to ply their trade, especially in comparison to a relative tax haven like Vegas. Yormark didn't want to delve into the specifics of the package and dissect what other issues, besides the comfort factor, that might have played into Team Mayweather's choice to stick to the tried and true. But from what I gather from speaking to other knowledgeable people who traffic in such matters, the revenue "lost" to the taxman could be recouped with a higher gate in NYC, as compared to Vegas. A must-see event in these parts attracts more financiers dollars, more wolves from Wall Street, if you like, which would be one way to diminish the sting of the handoff to the taxman, quite possibly.

Circling back to Yormark, I've seen in him the markings of a genial pit bull. He doesn't seem the sort to wallow in self-pity or admit defeat and shift gears toward another juicy score. I believe he has set his sights on landing a Mayweather fight. My opinion is that the MGM streak will be broken sooner rather than later and that "Money" will touch down and do his thing in Brooklyn.

Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.

Barclays still trying to land Mayweather

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
NEW YORK -- I like to think I have a solid B.S. detector and can tell pretty well when someone is turning on the charm for effect and deserves an Oscar. As I watched Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark work the room at Gleason's Gym in Dumbo on Monday -- and greet many of the boxers who will glove up at Barclays on a Golden Boy card Thursday night -- I didn't sense any fluff.

The guy lit up with a grin as he grabbed the hand of locals like Marcus Browne, the Olympian from Staten Island who looks to go to 9-0 on Thursday.

"Yep, that guy has a gift for that," I found myself thinking as I checked out Yormark doing grin-and-greets, including headliners Victor Ortiz of California and Luis Collazo of Brooklyn, who top the card in a welterweight tangle. Could that gift, I wondered, extend to landing a Super Bowl of boxing, of sorts: a Floyd Mayweather bout in Brooklyn?

I posed that question to the Barclays day-to-day boss. Is Floyd coming to Brooklyn for his next bout in May, or the one after that, in September? Or beyond?

"We made our desire, to have Mayweather fight at Barclays, pretty public," he told me. "We've made a very strong pitch to Richard Schaefer and the folks at Golden Boy about our increasing interest in making sure we can showcase the Super Bowl of boxing. We're in the big-event business, and we want it. We've gotten buy-in from ownership to make it happen. They understand the commitment that needs to be made. Given what we're trying to build here, given the size and magnitude of our market, given Madison Avenue, given some of the storylines we can create, we think that the Barclays Center would be very appealing to Floyd Mayweather and to Golden Boy. I feel pretty good about it, that at some point in time we'll host a megafight like that. It's really in their camp to make that decision, and, hopefully, they make the right one."

Nattering nabobs of negativism on Twitter like to point out that Vegas and the MGM is Floyd's place and playground and that Vegas has an edge with all those empty hotel rooms they can fill up at a cut rate. What does Yormark think of that critique?

"We've countered any and all objections to make Barclays a feasible venue for Floyd," he said. "I think everyone is comfortable with the plan. Now they just have to decide what's in the best interest for Floyd Mayweather and, hopefully, they see the value in what we can do."

Interestingly, for all the mega-gigs Barclays has hosted, the Jay Z shows, the Video Music Awards and the like, Yormark referred to a Mayweather appearance as being "on a whole 'nother level."

Pretty strong language and a strong pat on the back for that "diminishing niche sport," I think.

Arum on Pacquiao-Rios PPV numbers: 'It was OK'

December, 4, 2013
Some said promoter Bob Arum was taking an immense risk, financially and from a publicity perspective, by bringing Manny Pacquiao's Nov. 23 fight against Brandon Rios to Macau. Certain schools of thought said the pay-per-view would tank and the U.S. press wouldn't hype the bout as much because it would be an "out of sight, out of mind" scenario.

But Arum pronounced the event and the gamble (if it could be called that) a success as we talked about the pay-per-view buy numbers on Wednesday at a news conference to hype Arum's Saturday card in Atlantic City. The Pacquiao-Rios fight generated between 500,000 and 600,000 buys, he said. But that doesn't discourage him because the people who staged the event in Macau made up the difference in what was lost by not staging the event in Las Vegas.

"It was a drop-off from what we would have done, but it was OK," he said. "We knew it wouldn't do the same [as a fight held in the U.S.]. But we got so much more money to compensate, out of Asia, that it didn't matter. We figured we wouldn't do anywhere close to a million [PPV buys], so they compensated us for our loss. We made a lot of money."

Pacquiao's bout with Oscar De La Hoya had 1.25 million, and there were around a million for fights with Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. His fights with Shane Molsey and Juan Manuel Marquez (their third tangle) each did about 1.3 million. Pacman-Tim Bradley garnered 900,000 buys and Pacquiao's most recent fight before the Macau bout, against Marquez, did over 1.4 million. Arum had hoped in the weeks leading up to the Pacquiao-Rios faceoff that they'd get over 1 million, but he didn't seem crushed in the least on Wednesday.

Pacquiao's next fight, against, perhaps, Marquez, Tim Bradley or newly crowned junior middleweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov, will be the first time the infrastructure is in place to have people in China buy the fight on pay-per-view, so we shall see how that affects the buy rates, and overall take.

NOTE: To ESPN's Dan Rafael, Arum estimated a lesser number of buys, so it looks like the counting is still being done.

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Will Rigo run, or rumble?

December, 4, 2013
Donaire-RigondeauxAl Bello/Getty ImagesIs Guillermo Rigondeaux ready give network execs what they want to see in the ring?
Guillermo Rigondeaux, the Cuban-born hitter who violently opened up many eyes when he had his way with Nonito Donaire at Radio City Music Hall on April 13, and made the pound-for-pound ace Donaire look a step slow all night long, doesn't show a violent side as often as some would like.

The 33-year-old "Rigo," who headlines in Atlantic City and on HBO on Saturday night against Joseph Agbeko, drew scorn in some circles for moving too much in the Donaire fight, engaging in too much science and not enough violence against the Filipino-born hitter, who found it beyond hard to get a bead on the super-elusive lefty. In the HBO offices, some of the suits decided they'd rather not spotlight the Cuban cutie, and would rather divvy up money to guys who fight in a more "fan friendly" -- i.e. constantly combative -- manner.

Less waiting, more trading, is how you could phrase their wish list ...

Rigo's manager, Gary Hyde, told me Rigo understands the rules of the game. The people who pay you make the rules, most of the time. And if it is a more constantly combative style they want, that is what they will get, Hyde told me on Wednesday. We chatted at a press conference to hype the card, which also features a 154-pound showdown between Glen Tapia, a Top Rank fighter looking to inherit some of the love and attention that Arturo Gatti used to receive in AC, and James Kirkland, a bomber signed to 50 Cent, who's been working sporadically because of injuries and promotional issues.

"You will see an explosive Rigo," Hyde declared. "He put a beating on Donaire, and hurt him, and we expect him to bring it to Agbeko. We think Agbeko won't run, even when he gets a taste of Rigo's power. And while we don't look past Agbeko, Rigo is ready to fight anyone, up to 130 pounds. If Donaire wants a rematch, that's fine."

Agbeko spoke a great game at the presser, at BB King's. He implored Rigo to stand and trade. "Let's kill each other!" he said, noting that he expected to get hit, and deliver punishment as well. He said that fans deserve action bouts, and I dare say I think he wounded Rigo slightly by implying that the Cuban likes to run more than rumble.

Arum, who co-promotes Rigo with Caribe, and has one fight, one option left on Rigo after this one, mentioned a scrap pitting Rigo against the Ukrainian amateur stud, Vasyl Lomachenko, who meets title-holder Orlando Salido, the WBO feather champ, in his second professional bout next month.

Readers, if Rigo beats Agbeko, who lived in the Bronx but is living in Las Vegas and training with Roger Mayweather, who should he face next? Weigh in!

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Arum offers love to Mayweathers

December, 4, 2013
Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum, in town to hype his Saturday card in AC, took it gracefully when I aged him a year, and asked him if he was turning 83 on Sunday.

"82," he told me at BB King's, right after he'd thumped a tub for the card, portions of which will run on HBO, and is topped by a title defense for 122 pound titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux, who'll fight Joseph Agbeko, a Ghanian living in Las Vegas. Yes, Arum was in good spirits even though I potentially offended him with bonehead math, and that spirit had in fact infected his presentation minutes before.

Arum said that Rigo, a Cuban defector who won two Olympic golds for Mr. Castro, is likely the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, save only, perhaps, for Floyd Mayweather. And on the topic of Mayweather, Arum was most conciliatory, and gave off the vibes of a master politician when he told the assembled media that he is personally quite fond of all the Mayweathers. Floyd's Uncle Roger was present, because he's training Agbeko, a two-time champ, for the Rigo scrap, and Roger seemed to be on board with Arum's assertion. Same goes for Floyd Sr., and Floyd himself, Arum said, they all get along when they see each other and all are in fact quite warm to each other.

Was there a point to that tone, apart from being genial? I dare say there was; word is Arum would very much like to reheat the (stale? overheated?) negotiations for a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout.

The promoter told me that the numbers are in for Pacquiao's last outing, a most triumphant effort in which he made Brandon Rios look like a mere club fighter en route to a twelve round domination session in Macau on Nov. 23. The pay-per-view did between 500,000 and 600,000 buys, he said, which is under previous Pacquiao efforts. But, he noted, the fact that the Macau hosts, Sands China, compensated Top Rank so handsomely for the privilege of staging the event that he isn't dismayed by the numbers decrease.

Check back for more details and tibits from Arum...

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For Kelly Swanson, no one-and-done

December, 3, 2013
It was supposed to be a one-and-done, a quick foray, an experience to be lived and treasured, and pivoted away from. But the publicist for Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins got a taste of combat and craves more. "I want to do it one more time," Kelly Swanson told me at a for-media workout at Gleason's in DUMBO on Tuesday, ahead of the Saturday Golden Boy card at Barclays in Brooklyn. "I want a step up on opponent, just a little," she told me, while main eventer Paul Malignaggi, who meets Zab Judah Saturday, had his hands wrapped and chatted with press.

Swanson raised over $11,000 fighting last month at Gleason's, for underprivileged area kids. Her foe didn't have all that much for her -- something Swanson suspected might happen, she told me, when her intel informed her that the foe didn't like to punch through the target during workouts. "It was like Bernard told me before he fought Tito Trinidad in 2001, he said that Trinidad had that hook, but he needed to get set before he threw it, and there would be no hook unless he got set," she said.

"Oh, and I won't ask for a lot of money this time," she added, in closing.

Swanson swears she wants just ... one ... more. And then she will hang 'em up. We shall see.

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Publicist Swanson wins via TKO1

November, 16, 2013
Some of her colleagues were chuckling post-fight, as the publicist to Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather was interviewed by the boxing writer, and being asked how she felt getting a win in her fighting debut.

But nobody was chuckling about Kelly Swanson's in-ring demeanor on Saturday night, at a jam-packed Gleason's Gym in DUMBO; the debuter, who strode to the ring in a blue robe with the words "The Communicator" stitched on the back, with cornerman Hopkins whispering encouragement and combat tips in her ear, showed a sharp left hand which made her foe Amy Handelsman do a 180 in the first round. Swanson quickly whacked Handelsman with combos, forcing a standing eight. The action resumed, but not for long. Swanson moved in for the kill, let her hands go, and the ref was forced to step in and halt the scrap. The end came at 53 seconds elapsed in round one.

The fight was the main event of a charity card, Fighters 4 Life Showcase, to raise money for at-risk youth, who can learn about fitness, and self-discipline and work towards positive goal-setting at Gleason's.

Afterwards, Swanson was barely breathing hard as she dissected her performance and the experience. Lisa Milner, Swanson's right hand for the past few years while helping promote Mayweather and Hopkins fights, was howling as she watched me query Swanson, who's done the same to the best in the business in her 20 plus years in the game. "The butterflies as you're getting ready, getting your hands wrapped, everything, are incredible," Swanson told me. "But once the bell rings you just get into it and fight."

Hopkins pre-fight told me that he'd told Swanson to keep it simple, don't try and get fancy. She complied, but with extra zest, firing with the same firmness and directness she often exhibits doing the publicity chores.

A celeb-studded crowd packed the joint, as Rosie Perez, and fighters Peter Quillin, Danny Jacobs, Yuri Foreman, Marcus Browne and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza attended, to raise funds for the kids, and cheer on the publicist, who did indeed live up to the name "The Communicator:" Swanson communicated some serious intent with a thudding left hand, and even better, serious skills as a fundraiser: she raised $11,270 for the charity, tops among the 12 participants in the event.

Part 2: Swanson nears charity bout

November, 13, 2013
I crack myself up as I ask Kelly Swanson a question that I've asked her clients countless times.

"What is your prediction?" I ask the Brooklyn resident, who will glove up to fight a three-round bout for charity on Saturday night at Gleason's in Brooklyn.

"If I can fight my fight, and pull off my game plan, I can stop my opponent," she tells me on Wednesday afternoon. I don't doubt it, especially when she tells me that client Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old light heavyweight champion, will be working her corner.

Don't tell her foe, but she tipped me off that Floyd Mayweather's "check hook" is her favorite strike, and she could easily see that stopping her opponent, either to the body or the head.

Swanson, one of five kids, grew up in Buffalo and got into boxing after deciding in college that she wanted to get into the sports business. Swanson liked boxing, getting into it as a kid watching the 1976 Olympic Games, featuring Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers. The University of Vermont grad wanted to get a job working with Howard Cosell, the loquacious foil to Muhammad Ali, and while that didn't happen, she did meet ex-champion Jose Torres while she was working at a NYC restaurant.

Torres helped introduce her to someone at Alan Taylor Communications, the PR firm. She was there for seven years and decided to go her own way after tasked with an account which included representing a cereal brand.

"It was a reading program, going to libraries, sponsored by this cereal," she told me as I tried to get a sense of why she was choosing to glove up and fight.

She'd met Riddick Bowe while working at the Olympics in 1988, and when Bowe, a Brooklyn native, started to take off, Swanson was hired on by his manager, Rock Newman, who used to do PR for Don King. Now a DC resident, Swanson was on the Bowe merry-go-round until he left the game in 1996; she greatly enjoyed the ride, she said, which included his megabouts with Evander Holyfield, and visits with marquee names like Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II. Her association with Hopkins, the apparently ageless wonder who is defying the immutable law of aging, beating down young guns while holding the IBF light heavyweight crown, began when Hopkins fought for King.

The last couple years, she's held down the PR fort for Hopkins, as well as Mayweather, the Michigan native who signed a six-fight, $250 million-plus deal in February with Showtime. I dare say keeping those clients happy would be enough on the plate for most folks, so I asked Swanson why she's doing this. To prove something to herself? To better comprehend what her clients go through?

"First, I'm doing it for the kids," she says. "Also, the opportunity to experience something I never experienced in my career, to feel what it feels like to be in the ring and come full circle. I've worked every aspect for the fighters, their personal and professional sides. ... but I could never relate to this part, I've never done it. It's an opportunity to know that, and I already have a newfound appreciate for exactly what they do."

If you can't attend, you can watch a stream:




The event starts at 6:00 p.m. ET and Kelly will fight around 8:00 p.m. ET.

Kelly is fighting in the Fighters 4 Life Showcase, which benefits Gleason's Give A Kid A Dream Foundation, an organization that pairs at-risk youth with trainers to learn fitness and nutrition and possibly become a fighter someday. To donate to the cause go to

To follow the conversation on fight night use #KellysFight.

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Part 1: Swanson nears charity bout

November, 13, 2013
Kelly Swanson's clients include two of the greatest pugilists of the modern era: Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins.

Mayweather and Hopkins are immune, by now, to the butterflies that are making themselves so abundantly apparent in Swanson's stomach on Wednesday afternoon. The publicist confessed that her adrenal glands have been kicking into overdrive as we met for a chat at a Brooklyn eatery. No, not because Mayweather has announced his next scrap, or Hopkins has agreed to face off with another young gun, twenty years his junior. Rather, Swanson confessed to being in this state because she signed on to take part in a fight and will be gloving up on Saturday night in the main event for a charity event unfolding at Gleason's Gym in DUMBO.

We met for a bite at Nature's Grill. The publicist grinned, doing a good job camouflaging any hint of nerves.

"I decided on my walkout music," she told me.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Not telling you," she said, with the same directness I've become accustomed to in the last few years as I've interacted with her more at Barclays Center, where Swanson does work for promoter Golden Boy.

"Give me a hint," I said.

"It's hip," she says.

I know better than to push it. Swanson's manner in dealing with boxing media is as it needs to be when fending off countless folks who set up a website on which draws fewer hits than the Obamacare sites, then demand press passes. She is, she admits to me, "no nonsense" when in her work guise. "When it comes to boxing, yes," she says.

I move on.

We order healthy -- me being extra mindful of steering clear of bad carbs in solidarity with her Saturday bout. I go for the sweet potato fries and hear more about the Gleason's "Give A Kid A Dream" program. Swanson will fight three rounds, 90 seconds per round, to raise money for the program which provides mentors to disadvantaged area youths through the sport of boxing. Kids -- who are referred by parents, courts, churches or schools -- receive instruction in the sport and usually find themselves growing mentally and emotionally as they focus on worthy goals. Those interested can go to her page to offer a donation.

Back in July, Swanson said, she started working out at Gleason's and she wasn't thinking of doing much beyond getting more fit and perfecting a left hook. But her trainer, Heather Hardy, a local pro, told her she could absolutely compete with the women who were getting ready for the event, which runs twice a year at the venerable fight factory. She didn't bother to ponder all that long or hard when offered the chance, she said. But as the event, which kicks off at 6 p.m., drew closer and morphed from a far-off destination to a looming hurdle, her nerves occasionally kicked up.

"I work with two of the best fighters ever," she said, indicating she wants to impress the two all-time greats. "I mean, I can't lose!"

Check back for Part 2 on Swanson's foray into the squared circle, and find out what one technique she's decided to swipe from her clients, which she said could prove debilitating to her foe on Saturday.

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Talking options for Mayweather’s next fight

October, 24, 2013
We have a long time out to Floyd Mayweather's next bout, but after "Money" elevated himself into a new realm of celebrity with his Sept. 14 win over Canelo Alvarez, it's never too early to obsess over who the 36-year-old pugilist-specialist will tangle with on May 3, his next slated date.

I queried Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy promotions, at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on Wednesday to see if he'd part with at least a hint about Floyd's next opponent.

"We're having some conversations as we always do, talking about what's next," he told me. "I'd expect before the end of the holidays we should know which direction Floyd would like to go."

And is Amir Khan option A, as many have supposed?

"There are a lot of different options," he said. "It served me and Floyd very well not to discuss what options there are, and take people by surprise like we did with Canelo. I don't want to speculate on options A, B and C. It doesn't do anybody any good."

What about a Floyd Mayweather-Bernard Hopkins fight? Is that an absurd notion or is there something to it?

"I wouldn't say it's absurd but there's not something to it either," Schaefer said. "I had no conversations with anybody on the Mayweather team about Floyd moving up in weight. He is a welterweight who once in a while does a fight or so at super welterweight. He's not a super welterweight, let alone a middleweight. I really don't see that happening."

But since the 45-0 Mayweather is having his way with all comers between 147 and 154 pounds, isn't there an argument to be made that we should widen the scope in our search for someone to test him?

"Ultimately it's going to be Mayweather to go through all the names, and he likes to challenge himself," Schaefer continued. "There were many who thought he'd never agree to fight Canelo, a young, undefeated, strong junior middleweight, and Floyd took everyone by surprise. We know he likes to take challenges; let's see what happens Saturday, then have conversations with Floyd and his team."

De La Hoya 'doing fine' in rehab

October, 24, 2013
Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya made news Sept. 10, during the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight week, when he announced he would enter rehab after a substance-abuse slip.

The 40-year-old, six-division champion who hung up the gloves after his Dec. 6, 2008, loss to Manny Pacquiao, put out a release that said, in part, "I will not be at the fight to cheer Canelo to victory since I have voluntarily admitted myself into a treatment facility."

That statement was distributed four days before the 36-year-old Mayweather showed young gun Alvarez, age 23, that his mastery of the sport wasn't to be trifled with.

De La Hoya's battle with substance abuse first reared its head in May 2011, when news hit that he'd entered Promises, a Malibu, Calif., rehab facility. He then admitted publicly in August that he'd struggled with alcohol and cocaine usage, and said at that time he'd been in "rehabs" previously.

Wednesday afternoon, I asked Richard Schaefer, who runs the day-to-day operations of Golden Boy Promotions, the outfit headed up by the boxer now beset by personal demons, for an update on "The Golden Boy."

"He is good," said Schaefer, days out from the Saturday Golden Boy event in Atlantic City, N.J., topped by a Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat main event. "He's still in rehab. He extended his time there a bit. He knows it's important he's focusing on what he needs to focus on, himself and his family. I talked to him, went to see him as well. He's doing fine."

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Could Malignaggi-Judah lead to 'Money'?

October, 15, 2013
Floyd Mayweather has emerged as the face of boxing this year. His Sept. 14 bout against Canelo Alvarez vaulted him to another level of awareness in the minds of folks outside the hardcore fight crowd, including casual viewers of boxing. After last month's win, he was booked on “The Colbert Report,” and even MSNBC, if you need proof that “Money” has transcended the narrow channel of boxing stardom to something a bit beyond that.

[+] EnlargePaulie Malignaggi
Nick Laham/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesCould Paulie Malignaggi be in line for a big payday?
Paul Malignaggi and Zab Judah -- talented pugilists who have toiled as professionals since 1996 and 2001, respectively -- face off, in a battle of Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, on Dec. 7.

No title will be at stake, but “bragging rights” will be on the line, as Barclays (and Nets) CEO Brett Yormark noted during Tuesday's news conference to hype the Golden Boy promoted clash, which will run on Showtime. And maybe more than bragging rights will be at stake.

The bout will take place at 147 pounds, which is Mayweather's territory. Do not be surprised, boxing fans, if the winner of this bout gets kicked up a notch higher in the Floyd-stakes, that short list of boxers who could be Floyd’s opponent in the near future (Floyd has had two fights in his six-fight deal with Showtime, and is booked to fight next May, and September).

Judah said he’d be keen to tangle again with Mayweather. They battled in 2006, and fought some tight rounds before the bout dissolved in disarray (Mayweather won a unanimous decision after 12 rounds, but the flow was interrupted when a fracas, involving both corners, broke out in round ten).

“That sounds great, where the check at?,” Judah said when I asked him about that prospect. “I’d like some of that Mayweather money. They call him 'Money May,' check it out, let’s work,” he said.

As for Malignaggi, he’s proven himself to be one of the best self-managers in the game. He has the incredible ability to mix severe candor -- when he excoriated the boxing press, or portions of it, at Tuesday's news conference for being “fanboys” instead of real-deal journalists -- and activist trash-talking (a couple times, he publicly chided promoter Golden Boy for low-ball monetary offers), yet he retains a seat as a Showtime analyst and secures himself high-profile bouts. I have zero doubt that he’d love to finish out his professional run with a clash against Mayweather, the desired IRA bout for practically every world-class boxer from 140 to 160 pounds.

Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza agreed that this bout could in fact be something of a Mayweather eliminator.

“If the winner gets some solid wins, why not?” he told me.

Malignaggi thinks a Floyd-Khan fight works

September, 27, 2013
Paul Malignaggi and I played the what-if game Thursday at Gleason's, and I asked what he thought about a matchup between a man he fought, Amir Khan, and Floyd "Money" Mayweather.

Team Mayweather announced at a Wednesday media lunch in New York that it would be making a popularity and relevance push for Mayweather in the U.K. to widen the scope of his brand. That would correlate with a faceoff against the Brit Khan, who is a transcendent celebrity in his nation.

Malignaggi said he's hearing that the powers that be like the idea of a Mayweather-Khan scrap in May.

"And what about me in the co-feature in England? I'm big in England," Malignaggi said, harkening to his 2008 appearance on a Ricky Hatton undercard in Manchester and a fight with Hatton in Vegas six months later. "I'd need a win to get into that."

He wouldn't go there, and call Khan chinny, but Malignaggi didn't disagree that punishment absorbed in a December 2010 bout against Marcos Maidana didn't do Khan's chin a bit of good. "He does get hit with left hooks," Malignaggi allowed.

We also talked about his recent assertion that Mayweather is the best ever -- the top of the pugilistic pyramid, bar none. I wondered what he thought of the blowback on social media, with a majority of those weighing in labeling that call absurd.

"That kind of talk makes boxing fun," he said. "But let's remember, I do this for a living. I feel I know more than 99.9 percent of the people out there. I see what Floyd does in there. I see how he adapts."

And sorry Angelenos, Malignaggi is preparing to move back to New York. He purchased a home and will be here full-time within a few months. Back to Brooklyn?

"Nah," he said, grinning, "I like my privacy."

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Mayweather makes the NYC media rounds

September, 25, 2013
Floyd Mayweather Jr.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsFloyd Mayweather has to decide soon on an opponent for his next fight.
Floyd Mayweather sat in a chair at the Vanderbilt Suites in Manhattan, watching himself do his thing on a screen showing Round 10 of his master-class showing against Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14 at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Mayweather landed a wicked right on the Mexican, a 23-year-old of considerable talent whom Mayweather reduced to a hesitant shell of himself, and beamed slightly at his handiwork.

"When you watch yourself do that," I asked, "what are you thinking?"

He paused, and I leaned in to see if I could lock in on his pupils through his sunglasses. "It's just artwork," he said.

Indeed it was. And Mayweather is getting paid for it. His adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, who was present at the media gathering held Wednesday, said Floyd could end up with a cool $100 million for downing Alvarez.

Mayweather said this was the second time he's watched a portion of the bout. Everyone else who watched it, save inept judge CJ Ross, deemed the fight a Mayweather domination exercise.

The boxer, who turns 37 in February, said he watches his fights not to luxuriate in his superiority, but rather to learn.

"Touch him," he murmured to himself as he landed a snappy jab on Alvarez, who wasn't able to so much as slip a stitch because Floyd's hand speed is unlike anything Alvarez had dealt with previously.

Mayweather had fun getting grilled by Howard Stern on Wednesday morning, and was off to chat with the Bloomberg TV and print people after the media gathering. On Tuesday, he was on MSNBC's "The Cycle," and on Friday, publicist Kelly Swanson told me, he'll be on ABC's "LIVE with Kelly and Michael."

Mayweather wouldn't offer any hints on who will get the next lotto ticket/beating, but said he will next glove up on May 3, and then again in September 2014. He talked legacy, saying that he thinks he will be the boxer they talk about in 20 to 30 years, as they talk about Muhammad Ali now, and gave a none-too-subtle hint on where he rates himself all time: He noted that when Ali was Mayweather's age (36), he lost to a fighter who'd had seven pro bouts (Leon Spinks). Contrast that with Mayweather's dismantling of an A-grade Alvarez and 17-year stretch as a stellar craftsman.

"It's not my fault I make A-minus and B-level fighters look like D-minus and D-plus fighters," Mayweather said. "I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. My dad is getting along, my mom is happy." And he said his kids are getting a good education.

Considering how stellar he's looked in his past two scraps, something Ellerbe attributed mostly to being active and not being a "part-time fighter," I wondered if Mayweather had decided to add a few years to his arc as an active fighter. He has four more fights on his six-fight Showtime deal, and said he'd thought about four more, or maybe six more. No, he joked, he hadn't talked about a contract extension or more favorable terms with Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, who drew repeated compliments from Mayweather and Ellerbe for believing in the boxer and letting Floyd be Floyd.

And that includes a heavy emphasis on the main reason all of us work: compensation. When asked if he'd cashed that $40 million dollar check we've all seen on social media, "Money" grinned and offered, simply, "I'm comfortable."

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Yormark pitches Mayweather-to-Brooklyn

September, 24, 2013
The "boxing is dead" bunch got a kick in the groin on Sept. 14, when Floyd Mayweather took on Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand and more than 2.2 million households ponied up to watch the 12-round Mayweather master class unfold on pay-per-view.

If we're measuring the vitality of a business with a dollars and sense metric, and we usually do, the Mayweather-Canelo tussle was a Powerball home run, as it set a new mark as the highest-grossing PPV ever, generating $150 million plus.

The naysayers will counter that Mayweather is the "last star" and the sport will fall off a cliff and turn to a skeleton in a graveyard next to horse racing when he exits the scene. They'll stick to their rigid stance of negatavism, showing their ignorance of the time-honored tradition of the birthing of new megastars to replace the old ones. I semi-respectfully disagree with their reasoning, which is myopic at best. Sounds to me like the CEO of Barclays Center and the Nets, Brett Yormark, is in my camp. Yormark chatted with NYFightblog on Monday morning, and sounded beyond upbeat about the state of the sport, especially within the sphere of the five boroughs.

You'll recall that Yormark flew to Vegas to begin setting the table for a pitch to bring the next Floyd Mayweather fight to Barclays, so I asked him for an update on that junket.

"I'm a big-event guy," Yormark told me. "Do I want to do the Super Bowl of boxing here? Darn right I do. And I will work tirelessly to convince promoter Golden Boy and any other partner that a Mayweather fight could be that much bigger, in the biggest city, New York. In Vegas, I made it known my interest. His nickname is "Money," well, "Money" needs to come to the money city. Mayweather transcends boxing, everywhere I went in Vegas and on the way, people were talking about the fight, and I think people who attended will look back at the event, and say, 'I was there.' "

Yormark said he will be putting together a pitch within a month for Team Mayweather and Golden Boy which will play up the success Barclays has enjoyed, like the buzz pop (including a 66% year-over-year ratings jump) the Video Music Awards received when they unfurled at Barclays on Aug. 25.

"It's about building the story," the Barclays boss said, when asked about the critics who say that the revenue derived from the gaming upsurge a Mayweather-in-Vegas bout spurs means Floyd will never fight outside Nevada. "The money will work itself out. The overall package will excite people. We have Madison Avenue, we have the talk shows, we have the media, things Vegas doesn't have. And I love Vegas. I was there for the fight, and I want to bring the next Mayweather fight here to New York, to Brooklyn, and have it be an 'I was there' event."

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