Bob Velin, USA TODAY Sports

Mayweather, the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer and perhaps its most creative entrepreneur, will fight 23-year-old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (Showtime pay-per-view, 9 p.m. ET) for the WBA, WBC and Ring magazine belts in what Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer says will be the highest-grossing event in boxing history.

“When I’m in a fight like this, I’m not losing. And he’s not losing,” Mayweather said. “It’s a win-win situation no matter how you cut it.”

Billed as “The One,” this is the second of Mayweather’s six-fight deal with Showtime that could be worth more than $200 million. The young boxer once called “Pretty Boy” Floyd has evolved into a businessman now known as “Money” Mayweather.

“They call him Money, and Money’s going to go Monday morning bright and early — actually he doesn’t get up that early — and will be knocking at the bank’s door to cash his check,” Schaefer says with a laugh.

“I need to make sure that Monday morning I’m going to have the $41.5million in the bank account because otherwise we have problems.”

In addition to Mayweather’s check, Schaefer says his company will have sunk more than $60 million into this event before the first bell rings Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena, including $2.5 million on a 10-city tour to promote the fight, $8 million on advertising, $5 million upfront for Alvarez, $1.5 million guaranteed for undefeated 140-pound champion Danny Garcia, who fights on the main undercard event against slugging Argentine challenger Lucas Matthysse ($800,000). Plus all the other boxers on the card, many of whom are fighting under the Mayweather banner, including Las Vegan Ishe Smith, the IBF light middleweight champion.

The money will come back from closed-circuit sales ($100 a pop) at bars, restaurants and movie theaters; from sponsors and merchandising, as well as pay-per-view (with an average cost of about $70). The live gate was adjusted Thursday to produce a record of more than $20 million. Floor seats for the fight are going for more than $10,600 on the secondary market, according to

“The PPV money comes in in different stages as these numbers are counted,” Schaefer says. “First is to cover all these monies, which I’m out, and then we work out what’s going to be done with the difference.”

But Mayweather, in his second fight after serving two months in jail for domestic violence, didn’t end up at No.14 on Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes for boxing skills  alone.


Mayweather during the Feb. 2012 press conference announcing his fight against Miguel Cotto.  Ed Mulholland, USA TODAY Sports

Schaefer says Mayweather Promotions, which is co-promoting the event, is very much involved. “They’re involved in the marketing strategy, the naming and the positioning of the fight, setup of the media rooms, setup of the fight cards etc.,” Schaefer says. “(Mayweather) really knows how to sell and create the hype and create an event. That’s when he’s at his best. Some of the nuts and bolts things he doesn’t do, so we work hand-in-hand.”

Mayweather and his team, including CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon, a reclusive music promoter turned boxing manager — spent millions for their part in marketing the fight. But they know promotion enhances the pay-per-view tally, which is where Mayweather stands to make the most money beyond his guaranteed payout.

“There’s one thing these guys know how to do,” Mayweather said. “They know how to handle business. And that’s what I’ve learned being around them, is business.”

If the pay-per-view sales approach the record for a boxing event — 2.4million buys for Mayweather’s fight against Oscar De La Hoya on HBO in 2007 — Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza says Mayweather will see a piece of that, but that Mayweather’s statement this week that he had a “70-30 chance” of making $100 million for this fight would be a “historic upside.”

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old, eight-time, world champion (44-0), who will have earned more than $150million guaranteed since defeating Shane Mosley in May 2010, revels in his reputation as a savvy businessman.

It’s become one of Mayweather’s favorite subjects. His eyes light up when he talks about the TMT (The Money Team) brand, Mayweather Promotions, his new business ventures and a burgeoning empire that includes a G5 jet.

While he might not reach the $100million mark this weekend, Mayweather has capitalized on his name and image as he continues to try to tap into the urban market.

He’s honed an image as a money-obsessed, bling-wearing, Bugati-driving celebrity. He’s also made no secret of a rather expensive gambling habit. But all of it seems to work in his favor as he attempts to sell the Money Mayweather brand. Schaefer calls it the TMT lifestyle.

“There’s a whole world out there that follows this flash and bling and lifestyle,” says the former Swiss banker who runs Golden Boy Promotions.

He thinks Mayweather has helped change boxing’s image as an older man’s sport.

“I think what Mayweather has done with his marketing skills, with his approach focusing on the urban market, is brought a younger demographic back to boxing,” Schaefer says. “They are following boxing now because of Floyd Mayweather.”

Ellerbe, Mayweather’s longtime friend and business associate, says the fighter’s business acumen has been there since early on.

“He’s always thinking outside the box. He’s always been a risk taker when it comes to being innovative,” Ellerbe says.

Mayweather never misses a chance to promote his brand.

“The biggest apparel convention in the world is here in Las Vegas,” Schaefer says. “It happened a few weeks ago. (Floyd) had a huge booth there, he set up a ring, he was working out.”

David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, said Mayweather has a chance to transcend the urban market.

“They always say the trends start in the urban markets and work their way out,” Carter said. “If he can successfully penetrate that core, I think it gives him a real springboard to transcend the urban market.”