DETROIT – It’s Showtime in more ways than one for Floyd Mayweather Jr., who said Thursday he is excited about both a weekend fight he’s promoting as well as his lucrative new deal with the CBS-owned network.
Mayweather, who was in Detroit for a news conference ahead of Saturday’s junior middleweight title bout between Cornelius “K9” Bundrage and Ishe Smith, likened his Showtime agreement to a matrimonial modification.
“I got a divorce,” a smiling Mayweather said of leaving HBO, his longtime television home. “I’m married again.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better deal,” he said.
The sport’s biggest star and moneymaker announced Tuesday that he’ll fight Robert Guerrero on May 4 on Showtime, a move that shook up the boxing universe. Mayweather’s move is a coup for Showtime, which long has trailed HBO in boxing prominence.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) said his new revenue-sharing deal could include up to six pay-per-view bouts over 30 months, a much faster pace than to which he’s become accustomed.
The 147-pound champion, who hasn’t fought since beating Miguel Cotto on May 5, has fought just four times since December 2007.
“The fans want to see a lot more of me,” Mayweather told reporters at the MGM Grand Detroit. “I will give you excitement.”
Mayweather, who turns 36 on Sunday, was there to support Saturday’s card at the nearby Masonic Temple Theatre as well as Smith, his friend and sparring partner from Las Vegas, who is vying for his first-ever professional title.
The news event was testy with supporters of Bundrage and Smith screaming at each other and scuffling at one point inside one of the casino-hotel’s conference rooms.
Mayweather was all smiles, putting his arm around Smith and chatting amiably with Stephen Espinoza, executive vice-president and general manager of Showtime Sports, who called the deal one “which we’re very, very proud of.”
Mayweather, who grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., said he began training for the Guerrero fight Wednesday by running in the gym of Ottawa Hills High School in his hometown.
“This is a guy I know I can’t overlook,” Mayweather said of Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), the WBC’s interim welterweight champion.
Manny Pacquiao had been Mayweather’s only rival in recent years, though he had a pair of losses in 2012. Asked Thursday about a possible future fight with the Filipino, Mayweather pointed to the “crucial knockout” he suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in December.
“If people don’t know, Floyd Mayweather’s not scared of (any) opponent,” Mayweather said. “You just don’t wake up overnight and just become (the best) pound-for-pound (fighter). And sometimes people talk about my legacy. If my legacy was based upon just one fight, then I didn’t need to fight 43 fights.”
Shifting to his upcoming fight, Mayweather promised an entertaining bout with Guerrero.
“Call your local cable company, because it’s Showtime, baby,” he said.