Floyd Mayweather Jr. showed up at the MGM Grand on Tuesday afternoon talking boxing. He left talking basketball.
Mayweather, who will put his 45-0 record with 26 knockouts on the line Saturday against Marcos Maidana at the Grand Garden on Showtime Pay Per View, said he’s interested in being part of a consortium to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA on Tuesday banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after racist comments to his girlfriend were made public last weekend.
“We’re serious,” Mayweather said after his official “arrival” at the hotel-casino. “We do want to buy the Clippers. We do. But it can’t be 3 percent or 4 percent. It’s got to be a higher percentage.”
Mayweather said of Sterling: “I don’t have anything negative to say about the guy. He has always treated me with the utmost respect, and he has always invited me to games, and he said, ‘Floyd, I want you to sit next to me and my wife.
“I don’t know about his mistress (V. Stiviano). The mistress has always tried to send girls by me, and I’d be like, ‘No.’ ”
Mayweather said he has friends on the Clippers and other NBA teams. He said if he purchased the team, it would remain in Los Angeles and not move to Las Vegas, where the MGM is preparing to break ground Thursday on a 20,000-seat, $350 million arena scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.
“I like being able to walk to the games,” he said, noting he stays at a hotel close to Staples Center when he’s in Los Angeles to watch the Clippers or the Lakers. “I like talking trash to the players.”
But for boxing, he’s right at home at the MGM. He said the hotel-casino recently presented him with a $400,000 limited edition Rolex watch and gave him a Bugatti automobile worth $1.6 million after he signed to fight Maidana.
“Richard Sturm has been great,” Mayweather said of the MGM’s president for entertainment and sports. “This hotel has given me everything I’ve asked for and more. They said, ‘Floyd, we want you to be comfortable. We want you to feel like you’re family because you are family.’ ”
Mayweather also had heaps of praise for Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who has worked with Mayweather’s co-managers, Al Haymon and Leonard Ellerbe, on his past eight fights.
“The reason I’m working with Golden Boy Promotions is because of Richard Schaefer,” said Mayweather, who did not mention company president Oscar De La Hoya. “If he wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t be working with Golden Boy.”
As for Saturday’s fight, Mayweather expects Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) to bring his best effort.
“He may be the first guy to make me pull out my bag of tricks and use my A game,” Mayweather said. “He has an 80 percent knockout rate, so I can’t go to sleep on this guy.
“But it’s not just about being physically strong. It’s about being mentally strong, and I don’t think guys can go to the level I’m at mentally.”
Maidana, who looked relaxed and fit upon his arrival to the MGM, said he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s truly difficult to land a punch against Floyd,” Maidana said, with his trainer, Robert Garcia, acting as his interpreter. “But if I land one, I believe I can really hurt him.”
Mayweather didn’t seem worried about what Maidana might do to him. He seemed more concerned about how his life would change if he became an NBA owner and how it would put an end to one of his favorite activities.
“I’d have to quit betting,” he said before making his way out of the MGM’s VIP Lounge so he could get to the sports book in time to wager on the NBA playoffs.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.