Floyd Mayweather Could Fight In New York City in 2014

Speculation has been swirling about Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent since his dominating win over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September which earned the pound-for-pound champ more than $80 million. Media reports have Amir Khan as the latest favorite with Danny Garcia, Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse and other names being thrown around. Mayweather caused a stir this week that an announcement was imminent when he told a Michigan reporter, “Next week. I’m looking forward to next week.”

Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza, who inked Mayweather to ablockbuster six-fight deal in February, threw cold water on a Mayweather fight announcement next week. “I’d be very surprised [by an announcement],” says Espinoza. “I think it is more likely happening in the New Year.” He cautions that these deals can come together quickly and didn’t completely rule out details of Mayweather’s next fight being announced next week, but deemed it unlikely.



Mayweather’s dominance of Alvarez and the hype leading up to the fight that smashed pay-per-view records has left Mayweather and his handlers in a precarious position. The Alvarez fight was billed as The One, and outside of Manny Pacquiao, there is not another fight where audiences are itching to plunk down $75 to watch the hi-def PPV telecast.

“Mayweather is very conscious of wanting to go out with a bang. The Canelo fight was the first one of those. He wants each of these last fights to be huge memorable events,” says Espinoza. “One way to do that is switch up the venue.”

Some have suggested Mayweather fight in London at Wembley Stadium or the O2 Arena against Britain’s Khan, who is wildly popular in his home country. Don’t bet on it. The time difference would mean a fight at four or five in the morning London time to maximum the U.S. audience. How about gambling mecca Macau, where Manny Pacquiao faced off against Brandon Rios last month? Forget it. The bout generated only 475,000 buys, according to HBO. It was Pacman’s lowest PPV number in six years as the U.S. audience tuned out the fight.

Mayweather is home in Las Vegas, where he lives and has fought his last 10 bouts. The MGM Grand is his home arena, hosting eight straight fights. Vegas is an attractive fight destination because it can support sky high ticket prices, which are often bought by the casinos for their high-rollers, as well as gamblers in town for the weekend where a $1,000 ticket is just another expense item. Ticket prices for The One were $2,000, $1500, $1,000, $600 and $350 and set a record for the gate with $20 million.

There is another locale that could easily absorb prices in that range: New York City. Courtside seats at Madison Square Garden cost $3,600 for each of the 41 regular season game for the 5-13 Knicks. The 5-14 Brooklyn Nets charge $1,500 at the Barclays BCS -0.29% Center for their best seats. Barclays is the center of the boxing world Saturday night when a card with four title bouts take place on Showtime headlined by Paul Malignaggi versus Zab Judah.

“New York is one of few places that could help elevate a Mayweather fight even more than it already is,” says Espinoza, who adds: “Floyd is intrigued by being the biggest and the best and being a trailblazer. Coming into the New York market in a way that no one has before would be very appealing.”

Mayweather has never fought in New York. He last fought in Atlantic City in 2005 before he was the sport’s biggest star. He appeared at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in 1998 in a win over Miguel Melo that ran his record to 15-0. A Mayweather fight in the media capital of the world would generate massive hype, which helps fuel PPV buys. Mayweather makes a killing on the PPV since he acts as his own promoter and keeps the lions share of the net PPV revenue.

The biggest deterrent to a Mayweather fight in NYC is the tax issue. New York’s state income tax is 8.82% and the fighters would also be on the hook for New York City’s 4% unincorporated business tax, according to Sean Packard, who is Director of Tax at OFS and specializes in tax planning and the preparation of tax returns for pro athletes. The tax would be on net earnings after expenses, but 12.8% would be a huge chunk to give up for Mayweather. Nevada levies no income or business tax on its fighters.

The Barclays Center, instead of MSG, would be the likely destination for a Mayweather fight if the camps could arrange it. Barclays has an exclusive agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, which has co-promoted all of Mayweather’s recent fights. Mayweather got a huge ovation in June when he attended the Barclays fight between Adrian Broner and Paul Malignaggi. Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormack has not been shy about his interest in bringing a Mayweather fight to Brooklyn. “Barclays presented [the Mayweather camp] with a very attractive package in terms of the marketing commitment and the creative vision the Barclays Center has for this event,” says Espinoza. A Barclays’ spokesman offered a no comment on behalf of Yormack.

Espinoza says Mayweather is very interested in fighting in New York, and thinks there is a good chance it will happen even if it is not his next fight, which is scheduled for May 3, 2014. Mayweather will be back in the ring after that in September. Money Mayweather in the financial capital of the world? Don’t bet against it.

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