The renowned retired boxer, Floyd Mayweather, known for his flamboyant personality, has announced that he will be embarking on a tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa in July this year. The boxer himself confirmed this news through his Instagram account.
Mayweather’s tour will commence with his arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 13th and 14th of July, followed by a visit to Joburg, South Africa on the 15th and 16th of July. It is currently unclear whether Mayweather will be participating in any boxing matches during his visit, or if he will solely be making appearances.
In May 2022, the retired American boxer announced his plan to visit Africa after he met with ZANU PF Harare Ward 21 councillor Scott Sakupwanya in Dubai, where Mayweather was conducting business. Mayweather had travelled to Dubai with former sparring partner Don Moore to participate in an exhibition fight. However, the event was cancelled at short notice following the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE announced a 40-day period of mourning, during which all public and private sector work was cancelled for the first three days.
Sakupwanya, a gold dealer, who was in Dubai to meet with potential investors, confirmed that he and Mayweather had been close friends for a long time and that he had been invited to watch the boxing match. He added that he had received an official appointment as Mayweather’s brand ambassador for Africa, and that Mayweather intended to invest in Africa, with Zimbabwe being one of his main areas of interest. In a video that went viral on social media, Mayweather was seen wearing a scarf in the colours of the Zimbabwean flag, announcing that he would be visiting his motherland, including Zimbabwe.
Government critics, including Norton legislator Temba Mliswa, argued that Floyd Mayweather was not doing public relations for Zimbabwe for free. Mliswa expressed his scepticism, stating that Americans like Mayweather are very conscious about marketing and image rights, and do not do anything for free. He believed that Mayweather was being paid for his visit and was simply out for a payday, rather than being motivated by any ideological agenda or belief in Zimbabwe. Mliswa argued that the focus should be on practical measures to make the country attractive for investors and foreigners, rather than paying individuals or companies to speak positively about Zimbabwe. In the past, the government of Zimbabwe has paid millions of dollars to lobby and public relations firms to improve its image.
Further details about Mayweather’s visit to Africa have not yet been revealed. It is unclear whether he will participate in any boxing matches or make only appearances. Mayweather’s visit is expected to generate a lot of interest and excitement among boxing fans and the general public in Africa.