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Original Issue

Chasing Gold

A newly freed Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes a promoting cue from Oscar De La Hoya

Last Friday morning, under cover of darkness, Floyd Mayweather Jr. walked out of the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas and slid into the driver's seat of a blue Bentley sedan, rejoining society and a boxing landscape that looked much sunnier than the one he departed. In the 63 days that Mayweather was locked up for domestic battery, his longtime friend 50 Cent became a licensed boxing promoter, cofounding with Mayweather a company, TMT (The Money Team) Promotions, whose stable already includes Yuri Gamboa, Andre Dirrell, Zab Judah and Billy Dib. Says one rival promoter of the new outfit, "[Those guys] are out there talking to everyone—and 50 has a lot of influence."

So does Mayweather putting TMT in a position to challenge the supremacy of promotional giants Top Rank and Golden Boy. When Oscar De La Hoya founded Golden Boy in 2002, he showed how to break into the business: He was the most popular fighter in the sport, and he used that leverage to negotiate a deal with HBO that guaranteed his company TV dates, which De La Hoya in turn used to recruit fighters. Mayweather, 35, has similar leverage. He is boxing's biggest pay-per-view draw (9.6 million total buys), and his powerful adviser, Al Haymon, can demand that networks give dates to his fighters or he'll take his business elsewhere.

Ultimately TMT's long-term success will depend on Mayweather's remaining active (De La Hoya fought nine times for Golden Boy) and hiring an experienced hand (Golden Boy relies on Richard Schaefer, its CEO) to run the business. Done right, TMT can be a force. Done wrong, TMT lives and dies with Mayweather's boxing career.



FREE STYLE Released from his 98-square-foot cell last Friday, Mayweather got busy right away—though he has yet to schedule any bouts for himself.