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When 50 Cent is explaining something, like really getting into it, when he’s squinting and smiling at the negative space in a large open room, 50 Cent knocks his knuckles on your knee. You know how strongly 50 feels about a particular topic—food, women, working out, his own success—based on how many knocks. Or how long he lets his knuckles rest there. It’s not weird. It’s familial. Within minutes of shaking hands, 50 Cent is a friend you haven’t seen since college. You are the only person in the room. Timbaland is here. His investment partners are here. There are fake trees and blinding white lights and bottles of 50 Cent vodka (Effen) and 50 Cent songs playing at the 50 Cent photo shoot. But 50 Cent radiates tranquility. Positivity. He wants to sit closer to you on the couch. He’s in no rush to move on to the next thing. He loves to talk about all that he’s learned. And when 50 Cent knows something, really knows it, he leans forward and kind of stares at the wall.
50 Cent knows that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will beat Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, the biggest boxing match in recent history, probably among the biggest of all time. We recently caught up with 50 behind the scenes at a shoot for his new underwear line, FRIGO Revolutionwear. (It’s not underwear, it’s Revolutionwear.) We talked about fashion, and fitness, and his new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw. All of that will come in a later story next month.
But we also talked to 50 about Floyd.
“He’s like my brother, he’s my younger brother,” 50 said. “The younger brother happens to be the best fighter in the world and he makes $200 million dollars in a fight. Who tells him what to do?”
This was two weeks ago. Seven days later, 50 posted an Instagram with his arm around Floyd, causing various publications and websites to declare that the duo’s longstanding public beef was “officially over.” Late last summer, when the rest of the country was in the throes of the Ice Bucket Challenge, 50 said he would donate $750,000 to any charity of Floyd’s choosing if Floyd proved that he could read “one page of a Harry Potter book.” All of that is in the past.
“I mean, he says and does what he wants, and I say and do what I want,” 50 says. “I’m not co-dependent in any way, so it doesn’t matter if he’s angry with me. If he says something to me and we go back and forth, it will get a little messy because of how far the [media] coverage goes. But if you notice, he doesn’t say anything back when I say those things. He’ll do something, like have somebody around him that he knows I don’t like, and that’s just his character.”
“Look, I genuinely love him like a brother.”
In March, 50 announced in a radio interview that he was planning to bet $1.6 million on Saturday’s fight. At the shoot two weeks ago, he seemed more sure than ever that Floyd will prevail on Saturday night.
“I keep telling him, go win, beat his ass. Beat. His. Ass.” He pauses for effect after those last three words.
“And it’s because he’s fighting more than an opponent. He’s fighting the sport, itself. If it’s close, they’ll give it to Manny to see it again. Just to see it again. Forget what it does to him. The only thing that means more [to Floyd] than the money, is winning. ‘Cause that’s what got it. That’s what brought the money and everything else. He may not be the same person without it.”
He knocks his knuckles.
“So, you hit him, he’ll go, ‘Oh, you’ve got to kill me.’ He’ll literally say that to himself in the process. It’s not like he’s gonna accept not winning. Not gonna do it. Don’t even know how to. If you’re blessed with winning as much as he’s blessed with it, you didn’t learn to lose. You see what I’m saying? You tie an amateur career into all that, it’s a part of your confidence. It becomes a part of why your timing is right.”
50 smiles, then stares off.
“I’ve had a rougher time getting out the gate. I had to hustle. I had to come up under circumstances where I had to do a lot more. It makes you have to be aware of people and things around you a lot more. Not to say that he doesn’t have that savvy, but it’s been a different experience. Champ been training to be what he is today since he was a baby. He ain’t never threw a punch the wrong way. Because he had champions to show him how to throw a punch. It’s the same concept for the Mannings.”