Interview with Keith Middlebrook

  1.      Q: Who is Keith Middlebrook?

A: I am a well-rounded man of many talents. I’m an actor, a promoter and an entrepreneur. But, above all, I am a businessman. I own several companies, including Elite Platinum Portfolios, FICO Financial Services, Keith Middlebrook Pro Sports and Keith Middlebrook Promotions. I’ve developed and earned my name in multiple industries.

  1.      Q: How did you get involved with the sports industry?

A: I have always loved sports. As a businessman, I realize the amount of money people invest into sports, and I knew early in my career that I could find my place within its marketplace. My company, Keith Middlebrook Pro Sports, puts several sports under the spotlight.

  1.      Q: I know you have ties to many major sports, but what excites you most about boxing?

A: Boxing is a very intriguing sport. It is by far one of the toughest and most action-packed sports out there. And it’s prominent on a global scale. These guys are superhumans, and I’m fascinated by what they do. I saw a large potential in the boxing industry and didn’t hesitate to get involved.

  1.      Q: On that note, how did you meet Floyd Mayweather?

A: After I got involved with the boxing industry, I had my eye out for top tier competitors in the sport. At the top of my list was Floyd Mayweather and I arranged to meet with him in Las Vegas. After our initial meeting, we established both a personal and business relationship.

  1.      Q: Can you describe your relationship with Mayweather?

A: We’re good friends. He understands my intentions, and I understand his. We’re business partners, too. I extend my help when it comes to negotiating monetary situations for him. We’re close because we both understand the potential earnings we can make together.

  1.      Q: Has your relationship grown stronger with Mayweather over recent years, especially with all of the ongoing hype for the upcoming fight?

A: It has definitely grown stronger. We are focusing on making money together and emerging him as the greatest boxer in the world. 48-0 sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it?

  1.      Q: Over the years, there have been several negotiations for a possible fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacqiao. What were the disputes between sides that prevented the fight for happening for so long?

A: There were several disputes. We needed to figure out how to split the purse appropriately, choose a venue that both sides agreed to, select an agreeable date, obtain consent for drug screenings and more. They made several take-it-or-leave-it offers to each other, but honestly, it allowed for this build up of anticipation to occur. Maybe it was for the best.

  1.      Q: Are you truly the man behind the upcoming superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?

A: Yes I am. I’m the one who told Floyd that a 60/40 split was in his best intentions. I told him his potential earnings and convinced him this was about producing for his worldwide fans and earning what he deserved.

  1.      Q: What was the hardest part of your endeavors to convince Mayweather to fight Pacquiao?

A: He didn’t want to fight Manny at first because he thought it would be too easy of a win. Plus, there were all the failed negotiations and comments made between the two. I think the hardest part was convincing him it was worth his while to show the world his dominance and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

  1.  Q: How did you negotiate the monetary arrangements for the fight?

A: Back in 2009, when the first talks of a match between Mayweather and Pacquiao started, the potential earning may have been higher than they are now. There’s no true way to tell. But, I knew that after years of anticipation, we could make this huge. He was earning a $32 million dollar salary prior to me setting this up, and now he has way more to look at. I went through several meetings in Las Vegas and other locations to negotiate terms and settle on what I knew he was worth.

  1.  Q: With salary, Pay-Per-View, ticket sales, merchandise sales, sponsorships and broadcast rights, how much money do you think Mayweather will receive in total for the fight?

A: I’m projecting that Floyd will earn around $205 million from this fight alone. The aftermath of it all could produce even more with sponsorships and sales because he has the opportunity to prove himself as the greatest of his time.

  1.  Q: How did you come about determining the best location for the fight to take place?

A: Floyd and I both have a strong love for Las Vegas. It’s the main stage of the United States by far. Pacquiao’s promoter Top Rank wanted to host the fight at Cowboy Stadium where Pacquiao has fought twice before, but Floyd didn’t want to fight in Texas. This is going to be the biggest fight we’ve ever seen. It needs to be in a location where both sides can come to terms, but it has to match up to the size and scale of this fight. It needed to be held in Las Vegas. I think the MGM Grand Garden Arena is the perfect venue for this match.

  1.  Q: Do you believe this will be the so-called “Fight of the Century”?

A: 110 percent. We’re looking at two exceptional boxers that have been talking about doing this for years. Pacquiao is an eight-division world champion and Mayweather is a five-division world champion. The fan following and money involved should make that simple to see. It’s going to be a great battle and I believe no one will ever forget this match.

  1.  Q: What is the historical significance of this fight for the boxing community?

A: I believe this will go down as one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable, fights in history. As I just mentioned, there were several matches in the past that we will never forget, but it’s 2015. The fact that this fight has been building up for years will give it precedent. The world is waiting for this and has been for so long. And on top of that, the advancement of social media and other digital platforms has helped amp up the intensity of this upcoming match.

  1.  Q: Does this fight remind you of any other fight in history?

A: There are several fights that this can be compared to. Obviously, the 1975 fight between Frazier and Ali was one of the most memorable moments in sports history. But those two men had met in two prior matches and tied, which built up the anticipation. I’d have to say this upcoming match reminds me of the Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott fight in 1952. At the time, Marciano was also undefeated at 42-0, and he prevailed to win.

  1.  Q: In your mind, how big is this fight on an international scale?

A: It’s enormous. The match is going to be broadcasted in 34 countries around the world. Even here in the United States, both Showtime and HBO, two of our biggest media channels, will be offering the fight on Pay-Per-View. I think the Asian countries involved with the foreign broadcast are also a huge component, as they are some of the heaviest spenders within the market in terms of broadcast rights, sponsorships and Pay-Per-View receipts. It’s like I just said a minute ago – the world will be watching.

  1.  Q: When all is said and done, what’s in it for you?

A: It’s difficult to crunch numbers, but with the heightened scale of this fight both nationally and internationally, I’m expecting to personally earn roughly $20 million.

  1.  Q: Do you think Mayweather will win this fight?

A: That’s the easiest question so far. Absolutely. Like I said, Floyd originally didn’t even want to follow through with this fight because he thought it would be too easy. He’s been training extremely hard to prepare for it nonetheless. And let’s be honest, the man is undefeated for a reason. He’s the best in the business and I’m certain he’ll remain undefeated.

  1.  Q: After this match is over, do you believe Mayweather will continue fighting in the future?

A: Definitely. This is just a monumental stepping stone in his boxing career. There may not be a fight quite as big as this one later on, but I’m sure he’ll continue pursuing his passion.

  1.  Q: Is there any chance that there will be a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao in the future?

A: That’s hard to say. If it goes how I think it’s going to go, Pacquiao will probably never want to fight him again. The major excitement behind this fight is due to the fact that it’s their first match against one another, and they’re arguably the best two fighters out there right now. It just wouldn’t be the same in the future on a monetary and anticipatory scale.