Floyd Mayweather on Clippers owner Donald Sterling: "Pray for him."

Should NBA team owners force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. tells CBS News he not only wants to buy the basketball team -- he has some changes he plans to make if he succeeds.

"How I would run the Clippers is, I would treat the staff fair, all the employees fair, and I would also treat the fans fair," said Mayweather, speaking to CBS News Friday via satellite from Las Vegas, where he is set to take on Argentina's Marcos Maidana Saturday.

Mayweather is careful to avoid criticizing Sterling, whose racist comments were caught on tape and spurred widespread condemnation and a ban for life from the NBA.

"Donald Sterling, he was always a respectful gentleman to me, so I don't have anything negative to say about Donald Sterling," Mayweather said. "Sometimes we say things and we can't, we can't take it back."

"I think everybody should just pray for him. And you know he get a better heart, a change of heart."

A CBS News/New York Times Poll released Friday found that 56 percent of Americans do not think Sterling's views on African Americans are widespread among owners of professional sports teams in general. The poll also found that 55 percent of Americans think the fine and lifetime ban the NBA imposed on Sterling was about right. Mayweather said he respects the league's decision, and said that he believes race is still a factor today, in and outside of sports.

"There's racism on both sides. No one is perfect, and that goes on everyday out here in the world today," Mayweather said. "But we need to work on this, becoming better people, each and every day."

AP101211026097.jpg
Amir Khan, of England and Marcos Maidana, of Argentina trade blows during the round of their WBA super lightweight championship boxing match Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, in Las Vegas. Khan won by unanimous decision.
AP Photo/Isaac Brekken
The Clippers are slated to play Game 7 of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors Saturday, the same night Mayweather takes on Maidana. That fight will add another $40 million to Mayweather's bank account, part of a six-fight deal with Showtime reportedly worth $250 million.

But even from atop multiple lists of the world's highest paid athletes, Mayweather will still most likely need some help buying the Clippers. Forbes puts the team's value above $575 million, but with the increased attention and widespread interest in the sale, the Clippers could sell well above that. Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million.

So who would he team up with?

"Hopefully me, Magic, Justin Bieber, and a couple other people," the boxer joked, referencing the growing list of celebrities who have indicated an interest in buying the team, a list that also includes his one-time opponent Oscar De La Hoya. "Oscar, he's a cool guy... you just never know what's going to happen."

Mayweather will have some stiff competition in his bid; other potential buyers include Oprah Winfrey, media mogul David Geffen and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

"I'm up against a lot of different people," he said. "L.A. Clippers is a hot team. And of course I'm into basketball, extremely heavy, and it's always been one of my goals to be involved with the NBA. You know, I keep my fingers crossed and the only thing I can do is hope for the best."

Mayweather said he expects "a lot of action" in his fight against Maidana.

"This guy comes straight ahead," Mayweather said of his opponent. "And he has the will to win like myself."

Mayweather acknowledged that "he's a lot older now" but he played down rumors that his retirement is imminent.

"After this fight, I still have three more fights under my contract so everything takes time," he said. "I can't say who's next on the rest of my three fights but I'm pretty sure it's going to be three interesting guys."

  • Alexander Trowbridge On Twitter»

    Alexander is a digital reporter for CBSNews.com. He previously worked as a multimedia reporter for POLITICO, where he covered the 2012 presidential campaign.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.