Boxing’s polarizing pound-for-pound king

LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather, the world’s highest-paid athlete and self-styled ”Money Man,” will hit the Las Vegas jackpot once again when he puts his unblemished record on the line to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (WIkipedia)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (WIkipedia)

”This is not my first dance. You got two future hall of famers and a mega fight. I have done record-breaking numbers before,” the American said, in typically nonchalant — many would say arrogant — fashion.

Mayweather’s team likes to portray the undefeated boxer as a man of the people — someone you are just as likely to spot rolling up to a fast-food drive-thru at midnight — as you are at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

The truth is the 38-year-old Mayweather is a much more complicated and polarizing figure than that.

Fans love him for the beauty of his fight game, his ability to dodge and weave and befuddle all that have faced him.

But he has a darker side that has largely gone unnoticed in the frenzied build-up to the fight against Pacquiao.

Mayweather has multiple convictions for assaulting women over the past dozen years and served two months in jail for the most recent.

Unlike millionaire athletes in other sports, such as NFL star Ray Rice, Mayweather has never been suspended or sanctioned by one of boxing’s governing bodies for his violent past against women.

His latest legal trouble began when some fellow boxers, who work out at his Las Vegas gym, sued him last year over training conditions which allegedly included making fighters go 31 rounds without a break.

Mayweather, who often posts pictures of himself on social media surrounded by piles of cash, lives in a giant mansion. Million-dollar luxury cars sit in his garage that he has never driven and he surrounds himself with nine security guards.

”You might see Floyd pull up in the Taco Bell drive-thru in a half-a-million-dollar car tomorrow,” said Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions. ”That is just how he is.

”He wants to be in the hood. Where the most popular spot is. Where everything is happening.” (AFP)