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EXCLUSIVE: How Floyd Mayweather Jr. Grew His Boxing Franchise And Legacy During The Pandemic

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EXCLUSIVE: How Floyd Mayweather Jr. Grew His Boxing Franchise And Legacy During The Pandemic

On June 6, YouTube star Logan Paul and professional boxer Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. went head to head in an exhibition at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The event lasted for eight rounds of 3 minutes each, and no official winner was read.

In light of the high-dollar exhibition round, Benzinga had the opportunity to sit down and speak with James Williams, CEO at Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, as well as actor and longtime Mayweather friend Cuba Gooding Jr. to talk about Mayweather’s brand and vision to disrupt the fitness industry.

Mayweather's Path To Fitness Brand: Mayweather is a retired, undefeated professional boxer (50-0) whose passion for exercise and self-improvement inspired him to build impactful health experiences.

For Mayweather, a core focus is both the business and athletics of sport.

In 2007, he bought himself out of a top-rank contract for $800,000 and created Mayweather Promotions so he could share in the economics of promotion.

In deciding how to maintain and grow his brand in retirement from the ring, Mayweather thought to build a business that better engages his audience.

"As he was thinking about what he does when retires, he said, 'my brand is so strong, the equity is so powerful, that we’re going to go and build this business ourselves,'" Williams said in a discussion on the gym's early days.

“So, we went out and built this incredible team around Floyd. We were able to hire the best guys in the industry because everybody wants to be part of such a spectacular, exciting brand.”

See Also: Floyd Mayweather Could Make More From Logan Paul Fight Than Michael Jordan's Career NBA Salary

How Mayweather Launched Gyms During Pandemic: Last year, before the pandemic, Williams told Benzinga the brand secured nearly 6,000 applications for franchises due in part to Mayweather’s 70% consumer awareness rate.

Given that the Mayweather Boxing + Fitness brand was at such an early stage of its life cycle, it was able to better support franchisees in light of COVID-19 restrictions, Williams said.

As a result, Mayweather Boxing + Fitness had no permanent closures, he said.  

“People were still coming even when we had limited capacity,” the CEO said. 

Adding to the unexpected, Mayweather Boxing + Fitness had a strong year financially, Williams said. 

“We doubled our revenue from 2019 to 2020, and we’re on track to do exactly the same again in 2021,” the CEO said. “We had so many franchisees sign up in 2020 because they understood the opportunity coming out of the pandemic.”

During the pandemic, businesses closing down meant that commercial real estate opened up, making available prime locations for Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, Williams said.

Additionally,  20%-40% of gyms permanently closed, shifting the competitive landscape. 

Mayweather's Gym Goes International: Mayweather Boxing + Fitness has secured its first major international deal, Williams told Benzinga. 

A franchisee who is building out a "spectacular" location on Hollywood Boulevard saw such presale success that they returned to Russia, got partners involved and bought the rights for the franchise in Russia, the CEO said. 

Williams shared a text message from Mayweather about the deal with Benzinga. 

"This is my first time fighting in years and it will ignite hype around the world," he said, referring to the June 6 fight in Miami.

"This will be huge for the opening of the gym in Russia, as well as Mayweather Boxing + Fitness gyms all around the world. People, along with Mayweather fans, will be more willing to join and support the gyms once this fight happens. It’s going to be an indescribable event. I’ll fly to Russia soon after the fight so we can go straight to the opening."

Mayweather's Next Steps: Looking forward, the Mayweather Boxing + Fitness brand is highly focused on adaptation, innovation and evolution.

“We have a head start with the programming, [but] it’s about reinvesting capital into technology and other ways to innovate in the studio,” Williams said.

Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr., who joined the interview, told Benzinga about a conversation he had with Mayweather at a Las Vegas gym. 

Gooding Jr. said he asked the boxer what the ingredient is to make a champion. 

"He said, 'train, sweat — you’re never going to achieve excellence without 100% determination at the gym," Gooding said. "You die in that gym so that, on fight night, it’s an afterthought.'"

Gooding said he asked Mayweather: "But Floyd, you just dispatch and go through these champions. So what are you saying about yourself?"

"Floyd said, ‘well, I’m god-gifted,'" Gooding Jr. told Benzinga. 

"I said 'yes you are, sir!' And you know, Floyd Money Mayweather showed me the money!" 

Photo: Mayweather Boxing + Fitness Vice Chairman Burrel Lee Wilks III, left, with Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr., center, and CEO James Williams. 

 

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