Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather arrived in Harare on Thursday morning to take part in the political campaign of Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Since retiring in 2017, Mayweather has kept the money flowing by engaging in exhibition fights around the world for a minimum US$500,000, according to FightHype. The cost of his trip to Harare could top US$1 million after he flew in by private jet – a Gulfstream G650.
He was received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by dignitaries from Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party, including the gold dealer Scott Sakupwanya who hopes to draw on the retired boxer’s star power to win the race for MP in Tafara Mabvuku, a poor neighbourhood in Harare.
A music concert has also been organised featuring nearly a dozen local artists including Jah Prayzah.
Mayweather is expected to meet Mnangagwa, who is seeking re-election in the August 23 general elections.
Activists had taken to social media to urge the 46-year-old not to lend his support to Mnangagwa, who is accused of rights violations and using state institutions to prevent his rivals from campaigning freely.
Mayweather officially retired with a perfect 50-0 record in 2017 after beating UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
But he fought in exhibitions since, against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, 24, and YouTuber Logan Paul, 28, in 2021, which ended without a winner after no knockout was scored.