YOU CAN GET A LOT DONE in life if you don’t waste the hours between midnight and sunup on something as shiftless as sleep. Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocks off more before dawn than most of us do in a month of Mondays, and has seven boxing titles, more than $200 million in earnings and a half-dozen busts for battery and harassment to prove it beyond dispute. His perpetual motor, rare as it is, goes by lots of names. In a warrior, you’d call it tenacity; in a corporate banker, ruthlessness. In Mayweather, it’s the thing we call character. The man can’t stop and won’t stop. Now or ever. Today, for instance, has been a 20-hour bear, and Mayweather is just getting loose. His morning began at 1 a.m., when the undefeated champ in five different divisions slipped out of his suite at Manhattan’s Four Seasons, climbed into the first of a fleet of Escalade limos, carrying his trainer, manager and 12-man crew, and sparred for two hours at a dingy gym in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He backed that up with a 4 a.m. run down Fifth Avenue, then returned to his rooms, ate a greasy meal and cavorted with his boys till well past dawn.
At noon, he was out the door again, decked in diamonds, for a press conference at the Apollo Theater, where 4,000 fans showed up in a fury to heckle Mayweather and his close friend 50 Cent, while cheering Miguel Cotto, the game-but-overmatched- superwelterweight he would beat in Las Vegas on May 5th. Mayweather, formerly Pretty Boy but known now as Money, grinned and blew kisses to the largely Hispanic crowd; he heard nothing but the sound of checks clearing. Come fight night, he would make approximately $40 million, then prime the pump in his post-bout comments for the payday to end all paydays: his long-delayed superfight with Manny Pacquiao, the one fighter in the world with a puncher’s chance to beat him and shut his mouth. It’s a match that, presuming it finally comes to pass, will net him something like $80 million, more if he plays his cards right.
From the Apollo, his cortege tore through red lights and traffic, late for a midtown taping with Bob Costas. Mayweather arrived in uneven humor, loath to parry questions about Pacquiao and eager to park himself in front of a flatscreen TV and watch the Duke-Wake Forest game he had bet a pile on. The interview with Costas was a testy draw. Money doesn’t need him to sell his fights – that’s what Twitter (2.6 million followers), Facebook (1.3 million friends) and his website are for – any more than he needs sponsors like Nike or Schick to pad his income in the ring. He earns $100,000 just for strutting through a nightclub and throwing a stack of twenties at the crowd, and he strings dozens of such appearances back to back, sometimes two per night. He has spent most of the six months since his knockout of Victor Ortiz, in fact, touring the globe in a pair of leased Gulfstreams, hopping from Las Vegas to party palaces in the usual meccas: Hollywood and London, Atlanta and South Beach, where he recently bought a seaside spread. At each of these stops, people compete to do him favors, providing limos, suites and spike-heeled women to everyone in his growing entourage. What Drake, in short, raps about, Mayweather lives. He’s a rock star who happens to box two months a year.
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