LAS VEGAS — Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council (WBC), presented a special emerald belt for the historic matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao two years ago. That belt, studded with 3,017 emeralds, was worth more than $1 million.
On Wednesday, Sulaiman and the WBC seemed to up their game. At the final press conference for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match, Sulaiman unveiled “The Money Belt” — that he said features 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 300 emeralds and 1.5 kilograms of solid, 24-karat gold.
Oh, and it’s made with alligator leather imported from Italy. Sulaiman said during the presser that it is made from one alligator and purposely uneven on the sides to “preserve the style of the alligator.”
If the MayPac emerald belt was worth more than a million bucks, how much is “The Money Belt” worth? Sulaiman is keeping that number close to the vest.
“It cost a fortune,” Sulaiman told MMA Fighting. “It cost many, many, many hours of work of many artisans. It is just a beautiful piece of work.
“It’s a lot of money. I don’t really have a figure. It’s a priceless piece for an historic event.”
The belt for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in 2015 had 3,1017 emeralds, 0.8 kilograms of gold and was made with the leather used for the interior of Ferraris. It seems to safe to say “The Money Belt” tops it.
“This is a monumental event in the boxing ring with an icon like Floyd Mayweather, who has been 19 years champion of the WBC,” Sulaiman said. “He has a tremendous relationship with the organization. We are always trying to put some extra recognition and I believe this fight has all the merit to have a special award for the winner.”
The winner of the boxing match Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena here will be awarded with what Sulaiman describes as an “invaluable” piece of art. It was the WBC who had the belt made especially for the victory and Sulaiman does not prescribe to the notion of some in the boxing community that Mayweather vs. McGregor is not a legitimate fight.
“This is a fight that falls out of the box,” he said. “It’s what life is about, to break paradigms, to bring change and important new things. This Saturday the 26th, millions and millions of people who follow MMA and millions and millions of people who just want to watch a world-renowned event are going to be watching boxing. And that in itself is a great accomplishment for the sport.
“So whoever has negative comments about the event, of course they have the right to express their opinion and have their own opinion. But I feel it is a great event for boxing, because it will showcase and show millions of people the great art of self-defense, the great art of boxing, which has been developed throughout the years.”
Sulaiman said the belt will also appear at weigh-ins Friday and, of course, on fight night. Where it goes between now and then will not be made public.
“If I told you, I would have to disappear you,” Sulaiman said with a laugh. “It’s in a safe place, it’s in a secure vault.”
There are no official WBC belts — or any real titles — up for grabs in Mayweather vs. McGregor. But “The Money Belt” adds a bit more intrigue, Sulaiman believes.
“The perfect title for this is a ‘money belt,’” he said. “We’re just proud to have a little bit of history for this event.”