September 12, 2013
LAS VEGAS -- Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, has heard all of the stories about the voluminous number of boxers who blew their earnings from the ring and wound up broke, often on the street.
But no matter how badly things go in the future for Floyd Mayweather Jr., Ellerbe said there is no conceivable way that Mayweather would ever wind up in that position. Ellerbe and Al Haymon, Mayweather's de facto manager, work together to handle Mayweather's business portfolio.
Mayweather showed reporter Tim Keown of ESPN the Magazine a banking slip that indicated a balance of $123 million in one account. Ellerbe told Yahoo! Sports Thursday that he thinks Mayweather and golfer Tiger Woods may be the only athletes to have more than $100 million in their bank accounts when they retire.
"Floyd's going to retire with nine figures in the bank," Ellerbe said. "I think Tiger Woods has a very good chance of doing that, as well. I can't think of anyone else who has done that or who looks right now like they might do it."
Mayweather is guaranteed a staggering $41.5 million to fight Canelo Alvarez on Saturday in a pay-per-view bout that is generating record business and has a chance to become only the second boxing match in history to exceed 2 million sales.
Ellerbe gave a brief glimpse into Mayweather's private business world, and said the $41.5 million check he'll receive on Saturday is but a mere pittance compared to what he might make if the fight breaks the all-time record of 2.5 million pay-per-view sales.
"The sky's the limit on how well this fight does," Ellerbe said. "You've got to remember we're not in no situation. We're controlling what's going on. We're dictating. We're dictating the terms. So, if it goes through the roof, then it is what it is. He stands to make a whole lot of money in this fight."
He drew out the word whole for several seconds, and arched his eyebrows and beamed as he spoke. Mayweather is not just going to add just a few million extra dollars if the pay-per-view does well, according to Ellerbe.
"Listen, if this fight goes through the roof, Floyd Mayweather could make $100 million in this fight as sure as we're standing here talking," Ellerbe said.
That seems virtually impossible given the math. For the sake of argument, assume an average purchase price of $70, since the HD version is $74.95 and the standard definition version is $64.95. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said sales skew slightly in favor of the high definition version.
And further, assume that the fight sells three million pay-per-views, which would beat the existing record by 25 percent and doesn't seem possible.
That would generate $210 million in net revenue. In pay-per-view, half of that money goes to the cable, satellite and telephone companies that distribute the fight. That would mean the promotion would net $105 million out of the pay-per-view sales. To get to $100 million, Mayweather would have to earn $58 million in pay-perview revenue out of that $105 million.
But Ellerbe insisted he was telling the truth, even if he wasn't divulging details.
"I don't want to get into all of the specifics," he said, but he wouldn't back down on that figure.
In the last six years, since the De La Hoya fight and counting Saturday's, Mayweather has earned $153 million in purse guarantees alone. That does not include pay-per-view upside he would have received.
Ellerbe said Mayweather has made a great amount of money from investments, and said Mayweather has significant real estate holdings.
"Prime real estate," Ellerbe said. "Prime. I'm talking about commercial. He has a large investment in prime commercial real estate. He has made a lot of money from his investments, particularly in these last two years."
Ellerbe said he has no fear that Mayweather will blow the fortune after his fighting career, the way that former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, among many others, did.
"Never," Ellerbe said. "Floyd has a tremendous advantage, because he's seen the pitfalls and the things that have happened to other fighters, going back a long, long time before him. He's educated himself and surrounded himself with top-flight financial advisors. Floyd has a number of billionaire friends who have helped him and given him sound advice.
"In this world, it's all about who you know. There are things that are not available to this segment of people that are available to this other segment of people. And Floyd's taken advantage of all of that."