Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is a former professional boxer; arguably, one of the best the world has ever seen. He competed between 1996 and 2016, retiring undefeated and with an impressive record of 49 wins and 30 KOs overall. In the ring, Mayweather is known as an artist; his calm and calculated attack, killer speed and superior defensive technique have made him an international sporting superstar and one of the highest paid athletes of all time.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born Floyd Joy Sinclair on February 24th, 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His parents are Deborah Sinclair and Floyd Mayweather Sr. He has four siblings, Justin, Fatimah, Fannie and Deltricia. Floyd used his mother’s surname in his earliest years, deciding to switch to Mayweather as a teenager when he made the choice to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue boxing as a career. Floyd Jr. came from a family of boxers; it could be said that the sport is in his blood. His father had been a welterweight fighter in his younger years; while his uncles Jeff and Roger Mayweather were former professionals, with Roger winning two world championships during his career.
From early childhood, Floyd was at home in his local boxing gym; his father took him there regularly and he was fitted for his first pair of gloves at just seven years-old. His childhood was not without hardship; his family lived in crowded conditions and often did not have enough money for electricity at home. Floyd’s mother struggled with drug addiction while his father dealt cocaine, often with his children in tow.
Floyd’s relationship with his father was rarely harmonious; he has spoken publically on many occasions about Floyd Sr.’s harsh, physical discipline and strained contact with his children. The young Floyd felt that his father’s interest in him was based solely on his boxing potential. The rift between them was widened further when Floyd Sr. was imprisoned for drug trafficking during his son’s teenage years. Floyd Jr. moved between his grandmother and his mother’s houses for his remaining years at home. He speaks fondly of his Grandmother, whom he says encouraged him not to give up boxing and get an ordinary job.
Mayweather made the decision to drop out of Ottawa Hills High school and pursue boxing full time. His Uncle Roger took over his training while his father was incarcerated. In 1993, at just 16 years old, the young boxer won the national Golden Gloves championship, going on to take the title twice more in his amateur career in 1994 and 1996. His Golden Glove wins earned him an invite to join the Olympic boxing team for the 1996 games in Atlanta; Mayweather made it to the quarterfinals, securing himself a bronze medal when he beat Lorenzo Aragon. At 19 years old, this win made Mayweather the first US boxer to beat a Cuban in 20 years. He was famously nick-named “Pretty Boy” by his Olympic team mates, as his impressive defence tactics had protected his face, leaving it unscarred.
In October 1996, Floyd Mayweather fought his first professional match, knocking out Roberto Apodaca in round two. He continued to rack up an intimidating portfolio of successes over the next two years, before winning the WBC Super Featherweight Championship in 1998, against Genaro Hernandez. Later that year, Mayweather became one of the youngest ever winners of The Ring’s Fighter of the year award. He took the title for a second time in 2007.
He successfully defended his super featherweight title five times between 1998 and 2000, against Angel Manfredy (becoming Manfredy’s first defeat in four years), Carlos Rios, Justin Juuko, Carlos Gerena and Gregorio “Goyo” Vargas. During this time, Mayweather made the decision to fire his father as manager, taking on James Prince instead. A few months later he fired him as his trainer too, replacing him with his uncle, Roger Mayweather.
Floyd continued his domination of the boxing world, moving up a weight class four times between 2000 and 2007. He won the WBC lightweight title in 2002, the WBC super lightweight title in 2005 and the IBF, IBO, WBC and IBA welterweight titles in 2006. In 2007, he secured the super welterweight championship title, stealing the throne from Oscar De La Hoya.
His success in the ring has been largely attributed to his stunning speed and finely tuned defensive technique, known as the “shoulder roll” or “Michigan Shell”. This technique allows a fighter to deflect punches without moving out of range – leaving them poised for a counterattack when their opponent’s failed punches render them off balance. Mayweather Jr. was taught this technique by his father; he became so well known for it that it is now quite commonly known as the “Mayweather Shoulder Roll”.
One of Mayweather’s most notable victories was his sixth defence of the super featherweight title, against Diego Corrales, in 2001. Both fighters were previously undefeated and Mayweather asked for the match; he publically stated that he wanted to beat Corrales for the women of America, as Corrales was facing imprisonment for assaulting his pregnant wife at the time. Corrales was knocked down three times in round seven and twice in round ten, prompting his team to step in and stop the fight, leaving Mayweather with a resounding win by technical knock-out. This fight earned him particular praise across the boxing circuit; CBS described his speed as “dazzling”, while the BBC called it a “near flawless performance”.
Mayweather’s retirement announcement in 2007 shocked the sports world. However, he made a comeback in 2009, taking on and beating Juan Manuel, securing himself a prize of nearly $60 million in the process. By the following year, Mayweather was officially one of the world’s highest paid athletes; he went on to top the Forbes list in 2012 followed by the Sports Illustrated list in 2013. He earned the Forbes Highest Paid Athlete title again in 2014 and 2015. He also won the Best Fighter ESPY award an astonishing six times (between 2017 and 2014) and the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year Award in 2007, 2013 and 2015.
In May 2013, Mayweather took his undefeated record up to 44-0, when he beat Robert Guerrero in Las Vegas, taking the WBC welterweight title. In 2015 he maintained his perfect record after three more successful bouts, when he took down eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao in what commentators described as the “Fight of the Century”. Floyd Mayweather finally retired later that year after his last professional fight against Andre Berto. His record currently stands at 49-0, one less than current record holder Rocky Marciano’s 50-0. In 2016, Mayweather alluded to the possibility of coming out of retirement in the future; it seems that Marciano’s record might hold too big a temptation for the superstar boxer to resist.
Floyd Mayweather was controversially stripped of his welterweight championship title in July, 2015, for failing to comply with WBO regulations. He held the title since his fight against Manny Pacquiao in May earlier that year. Unfortunately for Mayweather, the WBO rules state that a boxer may not hold multiple world titles in different weight classes. Floyd already had two middleweight championship titles and therefore was not eligible to compete for the welterweight title. His attitude to this decision did not win him any more fans in the boxing community.
Over the years, it seems that Floyd Mayweather has had difficulty confining violence to the boxing ring. He has been arrested on several occasions is his hometown and Las Vegas, in connection with assault and battery cases. He also has seven assault charges filed against him, alleged by five different women. The most notable of these cases resulted in Mayweather getting a 90 day jail sentence in 2011, after pleading guilty to physical assault against his ex-girlfriend and mother to three of his children, Josie Harris.
Harries has spoken publically about the abuse she suffered during their relationship, it emerged that the couple’s eldest son Koraun has twice had to defend his mother from Mayweather, the latest time being when he was just 14 years of age. Hitting back at Josie Harris during an interview, Mayweather accused her of being a drug user – a claim which later lead Harris to sue him for $20 million for defamation of character. Mayweather has always denied the severity of the assaults on Miss Harris, claiming that she lied to make it seem worse than it was. However, she is not the only ex-partner of his to make allegations against him. His former fiancé Shantel Jackson filed a civil lawsuit against him, detailing events in which Mayweather allegedly battered her, held her prisoner and once pointed a gun at her. Mayweather’s attitude towards women has made him the focus of criticism on numerous occasions. He once infamously posted on social media that “if a female shows half her body, she is asking to be disrespected”.
While these events have certainly damaged Floyd Mayweather’s moral reputation, they have done nothing to harm his career – if anything, they have supported it. In the boxing world, being viewed as controversial usually boosts marketability. It is little surprise that during the last years of his career, Mayweather’s pay-per-view ratings skyrocketed.
Being one of the highest paid Athletes in history, Mayweather is not short of cash to fund his retirement. He is known for living the high-life and is not afraid to let people know it, in fact he has a reputation for bragging about his bank balance. He once posted a photo of an account receipt online, displaying a balance of $123 million. Mayweather’s hair dresser has even been interviewed by the press, stating that the former professional boxer has at least two $1000 haircuts, every week. He owns a 22,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion in Las Vegas and enjoys spending his leisure time in Dubai.
Mayweather’s love life has been the cause of much speculation and controversy, not least due to the string of assault charges against previous girlfriends which he has faced over the years. In 2016, he was romantically linked to a 19-year-old, British retail worker Raermarni Ball, whom he met on his 2015 UK tour. Taking a liking to the teenager, Mayweather flew Ball back to the US on his private jet and took her on a tour. He has been widely criticized for what appears to be an inappropriate relationship with a girl who is not even old enough to drink in America; however, the pair both deny that they are romantically involved. Even Raermarni’s mother has spoken to the press and denied their relationship, stating that she has a boyfriend at home. As of 2016, Mayweather appears to have rekindled his relationship with ex-girlfriend Bad Medina, whom he separated from in 2015; there have been rumours that she is carrying his child. Mayweather currently has four children, Koraun, Zion, Jirah and Iyanna with whom he has regular contact, despite the allegations made against him by the children’s mothers.
Written by: Laura Boyle