American professional boxer Floyd Mayweather was born on February 24, 1977, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He won three national Golden Gloves and an Olympic bronze medal in 1996, and became a professional boxer that same year. By 2007, he was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and had 38 undefeated bouts. He retired in 2008, but returned to the ring in September 2009.
Widely considered the greatest boxer of his era, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born February 24, 1977, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Boxing is in his blood. His father, Floyd Sr., was a welterweight contender, and his uncle Jeff Mayweather is a former IBO super featherweight champion. Another uncle, Roger Mayweather, is a former World Boxing Council super-lightweight champion.
His father introduced Mayweather to the gym not long after he started walking, holding his young boy in front of speed bags whenever they visited. Soon, Mayweather was throwing punches at anything that came in his view. At the age of seven he was fitted for his first pair of boxing gloves.
Little Floyd, as he was known, became a staple at his neighborhood gym, which was conveniently located just five doors down from his family’s home.
His family life was complicated. His father had a violent temper, and drifted in and out of danger. In 1978, while holding his son, he was shot in the leg during a dispute with the brother of a girlfriend. In 1993, the elder Mayweather was sentenced to prison on cocaine trafficking charges. Mayweather’s mother has also dealt with substance abuse issues.
Away from the circus of his family, Mayweather found peace and control in the ring. Known as Pretty Boy early in his career for his unmarked face, Mayweather, with his fast, precise style, won the National Golden Gloves in 1993, 1994 and 1996.
While he finished a claimed 84-8 as an amateur, his pre-professional career ended bitterly at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when he lost a controversial decision and was forced to settle for a bronze medal.
Mayweather turned professional on October 11, 1996. As a pro, Mayweather continued to win at an astonishing rate. With his father serving as both manager and trainer, he won several easy bouts during his first two years, which he capped off by capturing his first world title, the WBC junior lightweight championship.
His career greatly accelerated even more beginning in 2000, when Mayweather embarked on a seven-year stretch that had many fight fans talking about him as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
During this period, he moved up in weight class four times, taking home Ring magazine and WBC lightweight titles in 2001, the WBC super lightweight title in 2005, and Ring magazine and WBC welterweight titles in 2006. In 2007 he defeated Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC super welterweight crown.
His success garnered increased earnings. In 2010 he was the third highest-paid American athlete, with income of more than $60 million for the year.
The victories and paychecks only fueled Mayweather’s already sturdy ego. In a sport built on bravado, he has proven to be one of boxing’s most polarizing figures.
“My goal has always been to be one of the best fighters who ever lived,” Mayweather has said. “My career and legacy are very important to me.”
So is his crossover appeal. In recent years Mayweather has brought his star power to television.
In the buildup to his much-anticipated 2007 match with De La Hoya, Mayweather took center stage in the four-part HBO documentary 24/7, which led to new pay-per-view and live-gate records. Later that year he appeared as a contestant on ABC Television’s Dancing with the Stars.
In 2007, Mayweather stunned the sports world when he announced his retirement. He returned in September 2009 and won a bout against Juan Manuel Marquez by unanimous decision, for a purse of nearly $60 million. Eight months later, he won a 12-round unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in Las Vegas to up his professional record to 41-0.
In May 2013, Mayweather made headlines when he won a 12-round bout against Robert Guerrero in a unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, taking the WBC welterweight title. The fight bumped Mayweather’s record to an undefeated 44-0 (with 26 KOs).
Mayweather, who is the father of four children (two sons and two daughters), resides in Las Vegas.