Floyd Mayweather is fond of saying he doesn't fight for legacy anymore, instead preferring prize money. If he beats Shane Mosley tonight in their nontitle fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the undefeated six-time champion stands to collect the most lucrative payday of his life.
A victory would set up Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, which would be the most anticipated nonheavyweight match in decades. Record money almost surely would follow.
"I want to please the fans, and I want to please everybody that's buying pay-per-view," Mayweather said, "but self-preservation is the law of the land. I come first. I must fight for Floyd Mayweather first."
Small wonder, perhaps, that he's nicknamed "Money."
Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) is better than a 4-1 favorite to beat Mosley, 38, the WBA welterweight champ whose career is resurgent after he dismantled Antonio Margarito in his last bout.
A win, according to industry estimates, would yield Mayweather between $15 million to $20 million in prize money and perhaps more than twice that if a Pacquiao deal can be reached.
"There's no (formula) on how to beat Floyd Mayweather," said Mayweather, 33, who has beaten Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Zab Judah among others. "…Everyone is trying to solve the problem. It's like a difficult math problem that no one can solve."
Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs) fights under the specter of having admitted to unknowingly using performance-enhancing drugs before his 2003 bout with De La Hoya. Mosley, who weighed in at 147 pounds on Friday to Mayweather's 146, has won seven of eight since losing twice to St. Petersburg's Winky Wright in 2004.
Mosley also says he has different priorities than his foe.
"I mean, everybody grows up wanting to fight for a belt and wants to be world champion, and for them to just dismiss it like, 'Oh, I'm bigger than the belt,' I don't know," Mosley said of Mayweather preferring fortune over titles. "That just doesn't seem like (Mayweather is) in the sport for the sport."