He has fought 43 times and has won them all, knocking out 26 in the process. He just turned 36 years old last February 24 and he has been boxing for more than half his life, but he still looks none the worse for wear. Seldom will you see a boxer pushing nearly 40 years old with several bouts against future Hall of Famers under his belt but still looking hale and hearty and as fit as the day he first entered the boxing ring. But that is what Floyd Joy Mayweather, Jr. has accomplished throughout his career.
9 Early Hardships
Born as Floyd Sinclair, Mayweather has boxing genes in his blood. His father is Floyd Mayweather, Sr., a boxer who fought the great Sugar Ray Leonard back in his younger years. He is also the nephew of Jeff and Roger Mayweather, the latter a super featherweight and junior welterweight champion of the world.
With his father in jail, Mayweather shuffled homes between his grandmother and his mother in New Jersey. Staying with his mom was particularly tough as they were so poor that there were seven of them crammed in just one bedroom. They also had to endure some days without electricity.
Drugs were also a huge part of those early days because his mother was an addict. He also had an aunt who got and died from the AIDS disease because of her constant needle injection related to her drug use. As a matter of fact, Mayweather grew up coming home from school to a front yard littered with several heroin needles.
8 Relationship with His Father
Mayweather also had to deal with his drug-dealing father. In fairness to Mayweather’s dad, he claims to have dealt with drugs primarily to make sure that his son would not get deprived. The senior Mayweather also says that his family got to eat three square meals and dressed up in decent clothes because of the drug money.
The younger Mayweather has a different memory of the past, however. He said that his father frequently whipped him and never really liked him, preferring instead his stepsister. The only time that he got to hang out with his father was when they went to the gym to train and to learn the nuances of the sport. He noted his father’s failure to provide him a normal childhood and regular father and son activities, like playing to the park, going out for some ice cream and seeing some movies.
7 Chance with Boxing
It was the sport of boxing that proved to be Mayweather’s ultimate savior. He said that it was his grandmother who first noticed his potential, even advising him not to look for a job to help out with the family’s finances and instead concentrate on improving his boxing skills. His natural speed and ring sense were evident early on in life. Mayweather eventually decided to quit school and make boxing a full time career. He thought it was the only way for him and his mom to get a better life.
He perfected a defensive technique that his father and uncle Roger taught to him. The technique involves an orthodox stance that utilizes the shoulder roll to protect the chin and to effectively block the opponent’s punches. Combined with Mayweather’s speed, he is able to block, slip and deflect everything that an opponent has to offer by twisting to the same direction as the punches.
As a result, Mayweather seldom suffers any cuts. This earned for him the nickname of “Pretty Boy” during his younger years.
6 Amateur Days
As an amateur, he compiled an impressive 84 wins against only six defeats. He was a national Golden Glove champion three times, at 106 pounds in 1993, 114 pounds in 1994 and 125 pounds in 1996. He only got a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta however, as his featherweight semifinal clash against the Bulgarian Serafim Todorov ended in a controversial points decision against Mayweather.
Still, experts and long-time boxing observers said that Mayweather was the outstanding professional prospect from the entire Olympics.
4 Road to Glory
Mayweather turned professional later that same year and quickly disposed of his opponent, Roberto Apodaca. He won his first 14 fights with his uncle Roger manning his corner. His dad, who was jailed because of drug trafficking, was then released and took over after that.
Within two years of turning professional, Mayweather had won his first world title in the super featherweight division after knocking out then-champion Genaro Hernandez. He also easily beat the highly regarded and previously unbeaten Diego Corrales, knocking him down five times along the way.
He also won the lightweight crown by beating Jose Luis Castillo via unanimous decision. He added the light welterweight title by dominating Arturo Gatti in six rounds. He then went up to the welterweight division to win the belt from Zab Judah in a controversial fight.
Then came Mayweather’s shining moment. In 2007, he met Oscar dela Hoya for the junior middleweight championship of the world. The fight sold 2.7 million pay-per-views that earned a record $120 million. Mayweather’s overall take was $25 million, though it still paled to his popular opponent’s $58 million. Mayweather won by split decision.
Since then, Mayweather has retired, made a comeback, retired again and came back yet again. He has cleaned up nicely, beating the likes of Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. He has won all the fights practically by shutouts.
2 Domestic Abuse, Jailtime and Gambling
He is not without controversy, however. In 2012, he was sentenced to prison for domestic abuse. He was released after two months and quickly announced a return to the ring in May 2013 against Robert Guerrero.
Mayweather is also known to constantly gamble with sporting bets in Las Vegas. He regularly tweets and posts his winnings for the public to see. He has since taken the nickname of Money if only to prove just how loaded he is.
1 Friendship and Fallout with 50 Cent
While in jail, Mayweather formed TMT (The Money Team) Promotions with rap artist 50 Cent. The outfit was supposed to take over the promotion of Mayweather’s fights. The business deal and friendship fell through not too long after, however.
The rapper has since claimed that Mayweather avoided a big-money fight with Manny Pacquiao a few years ago. The fight could have easily fetched a record $100 million, but Mayweather was so preoccupied in limiting the amount of money that his opponent could earn. While the fight is still a possibility, it has now lost its glamour and magnet for money because of Pacquiao’s surprise defeat to Marquez.