Money, Floyd Mayweather and his armoured truck

LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn't bring the Rolls, which was probably a smart idea. Even in a town that celebrates the outlandish it tends to attract attention, especially from the police.

LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn't bring the Rolls, which was probably a smart idea. Even in a town that celebrates the outlandish it tends to attract attention, especially from the police.

Instead, he showed up at the wheel of his own armoured truck, with everything inside but bags of cash.

"I keep that in my bank, baby," Mayweather said, "even though my truck is bulletproof."

The bullets were whizzing the other night when Mayweather's Rolls Royce was spotted in the parking lot of a Las Vegas skating rink, leading police to search the vehicle and his "Big Boy" mansion for evidence leading to the shooter. Mayweather is not considered a suspect, police said, but they left his home with guns, ammunition and bulletproof vests.

The HBO camera crews documenting Mayweather's life for the latest instalments of the "24/7" semi-reality show weren't around, probably because reality doesn't always happen seven days a week. They did show up Wednesday, though, when Mayweather arrived to do a little sparring and a lot of promoting for his Sept. 19 comeback fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

He needs the sparring because he hasn't fought in nearly two years. After knocking out Ricky Hatton in his last fight he retired, saying he needed a break from a sport that has consumed his life.

The fight needs promoting, too. Though Marquez more than held his own in two fights against Manny Pacquiao, he is moving up two weight classes to fight Mayweather and is hardly a household name in this country, much less a box office draw.

Add in the fact that the fight is going up against a UFC event and that Mayweather's purse depends on how many households spend 50 bucks to watch him, and there's little wonder why he's so eager to get people to pay attention. There are more armoured cars to buy, and they could be filled with bags of cash.

"I feel I'm a pay-per-view star," Mayweather said. "I look forward to doing that."

The setting was Mayweather's storefront gym in Chinatown, which, like so many things in this gambling city, is more faux than real. Outside, caterers grilled burgers instead of Peking duck and served lemonade to those broiling in heat awaiting his arrival.

It's only a 20-minute drive from Mayweather's new mansion which, depending on what day you ask him, is either 10,000 or 20,000 square feet and cost either US$16.5 million or some other crazy number.

Mayweather dubs the new digs the "Big Boy" mansion to differentiate it from his other place, which had only 7,300 square feet. Anyone tuning in last week to HBO's "24/7," which runs for the sole purpose of promoting pay-per-view buys on the cable channel, would have recognized it as the place Floyd and his buddies were playing craps on the pool table in the family room.

It's not easy being "Money" Mayweather. Sometimes you have to look hard for places to put your money, especially when the armoured truck with the suede interior, Playstation and 40-inch flatscreens is being used for something else.

It's not always easy being a Mayweather, either. Last month he almost lost his trainer when his uncle, Roger Mayweather, was arrested for allegedly choking one of the female boxers he trains. Good thing he's reconciled with his father, Floyd Sr., after nine years, just in case he needs him back in the corner.

"There's always controversy around a Mayweather," said Mayweather, who declined to say what he knew about the parking lot shooting. "When I focus on more positive things I sleep better."

The most positive thing Mayweather sees right now is what's happening in training. He said he's coming back refreshed and, at 32, feels faster and stronger than ever before. He knows this bout could set up a fight with Pacquiao that could fill the armoured truck up many times over.

He was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter when he left boxing, a defensive specialist who can also punch and won all 39 of his pro fights. Pacquiao is now viewed as the holder of the mythical title, which seems to irk Mayweather if only because he believes it is his birthright.

"The main thing is I'm going to bring excitement back to the sport, bring flash back to the sport of boxing," Mayweather said. "I intend to do that."

And that, he says, is money.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)

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