If you’re going to bring a big event to an arena like FedExForum, you’d better have a big name attached – someone fans will pay to see.
In luring legendary boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Mayweather Productions to participate in next weekend’s “The Big Payback,” Memphis-raised boxing promoter Langston Hampton hopes he’s done just that.
To be clear, Mayweather will NOT be on the card; he will attend the fight to support his own slate of fighters, and he will host an after party at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. But Hampton is betting that Mayweather’s attention-grabbing, braggadocios style will make July 21 a memorable night – and profitable.
That flashy style will be shown from the minute he steps into Memphis off of his private TMT jet, and Larry Dodson Jr. and Hampton are well aware of the show he likes to put on.
“He likes the lights, camera, action,” said Dodson Jr. “When he comes out, he wants the cameras and everybody to be there. We’re going to lay out the red carpet to him and give him some Southern hospitality.”
So how exactly was the promoter known as ‘Lank The King’ able to reel in one of the biggest fish in sports entertainment?
Mayweather’s brand, Mayweather Promotions, will have four fighters on the card — each competing for championships. It’s the first time that Mayweather’s camp has competed for this many championships in one event. The Big Payback will also feature future Hall-of-Fame boxer Demarcus Corley.
Hampton has also formed a strong relationship with several people in the boxing industry, which led him to the opportunity to hand-pick which fighters he wanted to participate in his biggest event to date.
It was through his relationship with Dejuan Blake, CEO of Affiliation Management, that he was able to get in contact with the MoneyTeam and bring in the boxer/mogul he has admired for a long time.
“People have to give him his credit,” Hampton said. “He’s the number one athlete in the world, and he’s my favorite fighter. He’s my favorite businessman when it comes to boxing because he’s done a lot more than Don King, Mike Tyson and all the other greats (could) do.”
Hampton is the youngest promoter in championship boxing history, and has made a name for himself in the business over the last two years. When he presented the idea to Mayweather, the boxing legend quickly took notice of Hampton’s desire.
“To get Mayweather and his fighters, it takes trust,” Hampton said. “The thing about Floyd is he knows a lot of celebrities and rich people, but I’m the only person in the world that he allowed this opportunity to work with him and his fighters.”
Initially, Hampton announcing that he was bringing in Mayweather was met with skepticism. That ended when Hampton released a video of Mayweather himself announcing he will be in attendance.
“You’ve seen how he is on TV,” Dodson said. “Memphis just has to be ready for that and embrace it.”
If Mayweather’s Memphis adventure is anything like his parties of the past, party goers can expect the nine-figure superstar to throw boatloads of cash. There are videos of him doing just that on Youtube. And never shy about showing off his wealth, Mayweather recently posted a video on Instagram of a new $18 million watch. With the excitement Mayweather brings, Hampton is expecting big things.
“If I was just to do the fight, I think we would’ve brought out a nice crowd,” Hampton said. “But with Mayweather, I’m looking for a sellout!”