PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 15: Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula during the Floyd Mayweather Jnr media conference at SASCOC Olympic House on January 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Durban – Floyd Mayweather jr has never lifted a finger for free since turning professional in 1996.

As his nickname and business braggadocio suggests, if it doesn’t make him dollars, then it makes no damn sense.

In the brutal, beautiful world of boxing, no one can begrudge a man for taking all he can get.

Which is why there was a great deal of surprise in local sporting circles when rumours first sprung up that the Money Man, along with the Money Team, were heading for the Motherland.

On whose account, we pondered?

In that fine tradition of South African politics, the suits pre-empted the inevitable and denied, denied, denied.

“This is not costing the Sports and Recreation Department a cent,” his Royal Razzmatazz-ness spewed.

Alas, history has taught us to sniff out the brown stuff when it is put in front of us.

As certainly as Mayweather will retire undefeated, we can be sure that his latest EFT records will show a fistful of rands have been sent Las Vegas way.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful to have the greatest boxer of our generation in our country, but the least Razzmatazz could have done is told us how much it’s costing us. Then we could have been able to weigh up the pros with the cons.

Are we talking security upgrade cash here, or perhaps just enough to install a modest fire-pool?

As a nation wearied by empty promises and the bulging back pockets of our leadership, we know when we are being taken for a ride. Occasionally, it would be nice to know just how much petrol we are footing for said joyride.

Mayweather was supposed to go to East London, the ancestral home of South African boxing. Alas, that leg of the “Reawakening the Giant” has been scrapped off the list as swiftly as a superfight with Manny Pacquiao.

That the very bedrock of South African boxing, the one part of the country where boxing still remains as integral to growing up and earning respect in your community, is being overlooked makes a mockery of whatever suggestion that this business holiday is about development.

That’s the giant that needs the most reawakening. The people of Mdantsane would have been desperate to see Mayweather briefly light up their dingy excuses for boxing gyms, if only to highlight how desperately they need a helping hand.

Mayweather has been there. He knows about growing up in squalor, through hardships, tensions and violence and all the pitfalls that growing up “in da hood” present. For “hood”, read township.

The difference between Mayweather and the talented, but exploited hopefuls that come off the conveyor belt of Eastern Cape boxing is that they can’t see the path to stardom.

It’s been sullied by self-indulging promoters who have exploited naive young minds out of millions.

The richest people in South African boxing were not the Sugarboy Malingas and Baby Jake Matlalas, despite their world titles. Instead, it’s the suits, who never lifted a finger or dodged a jab.

Mayweather went through that with a certain Bob Arum, of Top Rank infamy.

Arum remains the biggest stumbling block to a Pacquiao-Mayweather scrap.

If, between partying with Razzmatazz and going to pay homage at Robben Island, Mayweather can get in the ear of South Africa’s next generation of boxing stars, then this trip will at least have had some use for the man on the street.

Dedication, hard work.

That is the Money Man mantra.

If, by some miracle, Mayweather could also convince our politicians – starting with Razzmatazz himself – that those humble foundations are the key to longevity and greatness, then he would have gone beyond the call of duty.

As we know, the mantra in this land has been exploitation, hard lies for far too long.

Sunday Tribune