With the announcement recently that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is retiring from boxing (for the time being), I thought it was a good time to look at his story and journey from childhood to being one of the best boxers in recorded history. And while yes, he is a brash and cocky man who you might hate, you cannot argue with his immense skills in the ring and the sheer amount of eyes and dollars he brought to the sport of boxing.
Ever since his birth, boxing has been a major part of Mayweather’s life. His father and two uncles were professional boxers and from a very young age, Floyd knew he wanted to box and never really considered another job. However, his childhood was not an easy one. His mother was a drug addict and his father sold drugs and neither provided much actual parenting for Mayweather and his upbringing was extremely hard. He is quoted as saying he basically raised himself and eventually, he used boxing as an outlet to deal with the pain of his family’s negligence and absence.
Well this dedication and drive to become a pro boxer definitely paid off in the end. As an amateur, Mayweather had a ridiculous 84-6 record, won numerous Golden Gloves awards and was even the Bronze medalist at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His style was a very defensive style, which led Mayweather to hardly take any real punishment in his fights and his punches were lightning fast and he possessed unbelievable footwork in the ring. When he decided to turn pro, he was already touted as a superstar prospect, and this was all before his 20th birthday.
He made his pro debut at 19 and was immediately very impressive. In fact, in 1998 (within two years of becoming a pro boxer), Mayweather would go on to win his first ever world title. And by the time he was 21, he began appearing on pound for pound best boxer in the world lists, being one of the youngest all time to do so. Mayweather continued to win and win, but it was a fight against Diego Corrales (33-0 at the time) that would put him in the public eye as one of the absolute best, not only of the present day, but of all time. Even though he was the smaller man in every regard, and with much less experience, Mayweather dismantled Corrales throughout the fight and won, and received praise from all over the boxing world.
Throughout his career, he made numerous jumps to different weight classes and fought some of the most devastating fighters in the world, but the result was always the same. Mayweather would avoid punishment, dish out his own and win each and every pro boxing match he was a part of. If Mayweather’s recent retirement is for good, he retired with a 49-0 record, won 12 world titles in 5 different weight classes and is thought to be one of the absolute best boxers of all time and was called the best of the last 26 years by ESPN. He also generated more than a billion dollars in pay per view revenue and had almost 20 million pay per view buys throughout his career, more than anyone other boxer in history. And no matter how you might feel about him personally, you can’t argue with numbers like that, both monetarily and in the ring.