Daniel Day, better known as Harlem’s legendary Dapper Dan, has dressed everyone from LL Cool J to Mike Tyson in his flamboyantly designed duds—in addition to scores of gangsters, hustlers, and wannabe ballers. His favorite client? Floyd Mayweather, who typically commissions Day’s trunks before every fight. Dan has hand-crafted ring looks for Mayweather that are even louder than "Money" himself — wildly illogical creations that have ranged from mink-trimmed to rainbow-hued python. The results have redefined ringwear as we know it, not to mention making Mayweather sweat a bit more than if he wore sensible trunks made of, say, satin. Maxim talked to Dapper Dan about what Mayweather will wear on Saturday night, the one exotic skin boxing's king doesn't like, and the style contrasts between Mayweather and Tyson.
When did Floyd call you about making his trunks for the Pacquiao fight?
Last Friday. I haven't slept more than four hours since then. That's how he does it, he's working on his own time table. He ordered 14 outfits and he'll choose the one he really feels. All the colors he chooses are vibrant. I'm working with alligator, mink, python — we only had a week and the hardest part was to gather all the exotic skins and materials. I still might slip in some ostrich.
Which trunks do you think he'll pick?
I think he'll pick the black python, white python, and gold python, that's the one I would pick. But only if he has matching the matching shoes. It has a street wear kind of look to it. He'll look like he just stepped out of the jungle kingdom and everybody will be bowing down to him. It has to be something that works in the ring, works in the runway and works on the corners.
Describe Floyd’s ring style.
He likes very extravagant-looking material, like skins—reptile, leather, alligator, and exotic fur. Floyd has to have the most expensive trunks, more expensive than anyone. So he comes to me, but I can’t say how much they cost.
Is he heavily involved with the design?
Floyd always knows what he wants. He’s very meticulous and involved. Once he figures it out, he knows exactly what it should look like. We have to go out of town to get the red gator, the yellow gator. Of course, he always calls at the last minute.
How does he fight in such sweltering leathers and animal skins?
I often wonder. I used to do Mike Tyson's clothes and ringwear. Mike always wanted me to come up with a new material, because by the fourth round his trunks were wet, he could feel how heavy they were. Mike was a street brawler, he wasn’t into fancy stuff in the ring. He would get in there and do murderous things. He needed to look mean and scary.
Are there any skins that Floyd won't wear?
The weight of the material usually doesn’t bother him at all. But the ostrich skins, they were too heavy and he told me that.
And how does he decide which trunks to pick?
It depends on how hyped he is about the battle between him and his opponent. He calls me every time but it’s always the last minute — I’ll be on pins and needles. One time someone had to drive the outfit out to the fight.
Besides the trunks you've made for him to wear on Saturday night, which were your favorite?
The black and red leather for the first Maidana fight. I had to make sure they were flexible and he was happy with them as he moved. When he moved, they moved. You want the trunks to move with him, not on their own. That's the secret.
Where are you watching the fight ?
You know where I like to watch the fights at? Places where people don't know who I am. I like to tune in on their energy. I was deep out in Jersey for one of Floyd's fights, I was in a Mexican bar and he was fighting a Mexican, everyone was getting excited and then he knocked him out. And everyone got real quiet and ordered a lot of drinks. I like to watch his fights in unexpected places.