We didn’t need to go to the judges’ scorecards to pick one of the biggest winners in last Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao bout: Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot, which not only had its name boldly emblazoned front and center on Mayweather’s boxing trunks, but also happened to get the second name-checked thank-you of his post-fight interview – right after God.
As relative newcomers to the Sweet Science, we weren’t aware until after the fight that this was the first time Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. had worn a sponsor's name on his trunks. But we had noticed that the gold-metallic and black-patent reptile textured trunks were comparatively unadorned to everything else in our field of vision, with the white-on-black Hublot name in all capital letters at the belt line and a single patch that read: “Fanduel.com” on the lower left leg.
Meanwhile, scantily clad ring girls stood by in Tecate-branded crop tops and barely-there bottoms, and the ropes framing the ring were plastered with sponsor names like MGM Grand (where the fight was held) and the Mexican Tourism Board. When Pacquiao stepped into the ring, his yellow and red trunks were a jumble of sponsor names and logos (including Air Asia, Café Puro, Phoenix Petroleum, Smart Communications, Motolite, LBC Express and Nike) rarely seen this side of NASCAR.
The sponsorship was announced at a Las Vegas press conference the day before the fight, at which Hublot Chief Executive Ricardo Guadalupe presented Mayweather with a custom 48-mm King Power WBC (World Boxing Council) timepiece set with pavé diamonds, a bezel adorned with baguette-cut emerald-colored tsavorites and with a band in a shade of green similar to that of the massive WBC championship belt the boxer would hoist in the air the next evening after defeating Pacquiao.
Hublot representatives declined to put a value on the one-of-a-kind timepiece but dutifully noted that a version of the WBC King Power with a ceramic case sells for $22,800 – with a portion of proceeds benefiting the World Boxing Council’s retired boxers’ pension fund (Hublot's relationship with the WBC dates back to 2012). Likewise, reps for the LVMH-owned brand aren’t disclosing the terms of the Mayweather endorsement.
Hublot stands out among the luxury watch brands for recent efforts to get its name -- and its chunky, sport-influenced watches -- in front of sports fans by sponsoring not just athletes at the top of their game but entire teams and events. The name could be seen all over the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup (for which it was named the official timekeeper), and the company currently sponsors no fewer than three European soccer teams (Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris St. Germain).
Over the last few years Hublot has made forays into the NBA with sponsorship deals with both the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, and last year it inked its first NFL partnership with the Dallas Cowboys.
Newly minted – and still undefeated – brand ambassador Floyd Mayweather Jr. joins a stable of athletes and sports legends that include soccer players Pele and Diego Maradona, fleet-footed Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, basketball players Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant.
Even though the big event took place last weekend, Hublot -- and the rest of the sponsors involved, are certain to get even more exposure since both HBO and Showtime plan to re-air the fight in its entirety this weekend.
Re-airing of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, HBO and Showtime, Saturday at 6 p.m. Pacific.
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