Massive fanfare as Money Mayweather jets into SA

Published Jul 19, 2023


RETIRED boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr touched down at Lanseria International Airport to massive fanfare, as though he were arriving for the next pay-per-view match.

Four hours after his supposed arrival time, Mayweather briefed the media on the purpose of his visit, the exciting attractions seen so far, and the new generation of boxing talent.

“I’m happy to be back. They always show me respect and love, so I’m happy to return to the Motherland. The tour continues,” Mayweather said.

The American landed in Johannesburg as part of his “Motherland Tour” after spending the week in Zimbabwe.

Keeping up with the motto of his team, The Money Team, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”, Mayweather has travelled across the continent holding masterclasses on boxing and business in the hopes of promoting the sport and black empowerment.

He will host a bespoke banquet dinner to raise funds for South African youth in boxing, through his Youth Empowerment Programme. The banquet will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, hosted by Tbo Touch and Pearl Thusi, with performances by Mi Casa, US hip-hop artist The Money Team, and amapiano megastar Focalistic.

“They have a lot of legends that come from Africa, so many great champions. A lot of the great fighters come from this continent so we have to take our hats off to them,” he said.

The bespoke dinner is part of the Floyd Mayweather Experience to celebrate professional South African boxing legends invited to the event. It is unclear whether Boxing South Africa will attend the event.

While exploring the continent, Mayweather has explored not just popular tourist destinations, and fed giraffes, he also had the chance to watch some of Africa’s amateur boxers in action, including in our neighbour’s yard of Zimbabwe.

Mayweather said that based on what he has seen so far, he knows that boxing will need growth and more support from the media and communities to make it a commercially viable sport that allows for opportunities. He offered his hand to help to push the ball and work alongside future investors and supporters.

“I had the chance to actually watch three or four exhibition bouts. A lot of talent, so hopefully with my team in Africa, we can get them together with my team Mayweather Promotions so we’re able to take these fighters all around the world and not just in Africa,” he said.

“There’s so much great talent in Africa. I want the world to be able to see the next Floyd Mayweather. Hopefully we can find that in Africa.”

On the subject, Mayweather had an impromptu introduction with South Africa’s boxing jewel Kevin Lerena, who was present as private security detail. Lerena is the current WBC bridgerweight world titleholder after beating Ryad Merhy from Côte D’Ivoire in a 12-round unanimous points decision bout.

On his introduction to the South African boxer, Mayweather said: “I’ll find a way we can work together. It’s all about giving back. If there’s any way (that) I can help, I’m here.”

While in the country, Mayweather said he also hoped to interact with more boxers to advise them on their growth plan and prospects and being confident in running the business side of their careers.

“You must invest in yourself first. I took a chance and I bet on myself. You can't be a good boss if you don’t bet on yourself or put yourself out there. I was willing to go out there and put my own money up and back myself,” Mayweather said.