By Mesuli Zifo
South Africa is scrambling to make preparations for the visit of unbeaten boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather on Wednesday.
Mayweather informed the country's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula that he would be coming to SA in a goodwill visit that will also include him hosting a gala dinner to auction his memorabilia as well as his fighting regalia at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Expensive tables will also be sold at the dinner to raise funds for the upgrade of the Dube Boxing Club in Soweto where recently deceased boxing legend Jacob “Baby Jake”Matlala trained.
The 36-year-old unbeaten star will also visit three other cities including Robben Island in Cape Town where the late struggle hero Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
He will also host a press conference where questions about the potential fight against Filipino Manny Pacquiao will not be allowed to be asked.
Journalists will also not be allowed to ask him about the likely opponent he will face in his expected return to the ring in May.
British boxer Amir Khan is currently touted as a possible opponent for the May return.
He will arrive with an entourage of 17 people including his bodyguards and will conduct coaching clinics in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town and East London, a region considered as the boxing heartland in South Africa.
While it is Matlala's gymnasium that has been publicly announced to benefit from the visit, boxing people in East London say they will ask Mayweather to build a gym in the area.
“We want him to leave a legacy in this boxing area so that kids here will grow up idolizing him for contributing to their development,” said Phakamile Jacobs who is the regional manager of the South African boxing commission known as Boxing SA.
Jacobs says an exchange programme will be entered into with Mayweather, so that young boxers and trainers from the region could train in his gymnasium in US.
At least 100 boxing trainers from the professional and amateur ranks will be on hand to watch Mayweather conduct coaching clinics.
On his arrival in East London he will address about 20 000 people at Sisa Dukashe Stadium which is a venue renowned for hosting memorable boxing matches in the area.
However the brief visit in the area has not gone down well with certain boxing structures that feel Mayweather should spend more time imparting his boxing knowledge as well as the business side of the sport.
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