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  America
Floyd Mayweather: Highest-paid, Arguably Best Boxer of All Time Is Back in Ring on May 3rd
By Prof. Andrew Dunne
Chosun University
Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather

He's rich, smart, and good-looking. He's also strong and fast. And, when you're sleeping, he's awake.

No. I'm not talking about Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman. I'm talking about Floyd Mayweather, the highest-paid and arguably best boxer of all time.

Floyd Mayweather is undefeated in 45 professional fights. He hasn't even been knocked down in the ring, a result of cat-like reflexes and supreme defensive skills. His ability to block and dodge punches, and therefore maintain an unblemished complexion, earned him the nickname "Pretty Boy" earlier in his career.

However, these days he goes by "Money Mayweather," on account of his lavish lifestyle and high earnings. He has several mansions, a fleet of luxury cars, and a personal chef and masseuse, not to mention an entourage as long as train smoke. So much money is generated when he fights that he himself makes around $50 million each time he enters the ring.

That's a far-cry from the $26,000 he made in his first professional fight almost 20 years ago and from his meager beginnings in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. As he once stated: “When I was growing up, seven of us lived in one bedroom. I got a closet now that’s bigger than that bedroom was...Sometimes we had no lights, just candles. We never had hot water.”

Floyd may not come from a wealthy family, but he certainly comes from a family of boxers. His father, Floyd Senior, was a skilled professional, and two of his uncles, Roger and Jeff, are former champions.

His father introduced him to boxing shortly after he learned to walk. "At 2 or 3 years old, his daddy used to bring him into the gym and hold him up and hit the speed bag," his uncle Roger has stated.

Floyd's talent was evident early. During a television documentary on his son, Floyd Senior recalled that, even when his son was only as tall as a doorknob, "he would throw the hook as good as any pro."

However, as renowned author Stephen King once stated: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Floyd's talent is undeniable. But so too is his work ethic. As his personal adviser Leonard Ellerbe has stated: "People say that he's got a gift, and yes, he has great talent, but nobody has ever worked harder to try to make the most of that talent. Nobody."

As a kid, Floyd "ate, drank, and slept boxing. That's what his life was consumed of," his cousin Latisha has stated. While his peers played, Floyd trained. Him and his father "would go to the gym in the morning and stay until night...He never got to play that much like the other kids," his grandmother Bernice has similarly commented.

At 37 years of age, Floyd is still known for being unrelenting in his training, even when not preparing for a fight. Interestingly, unlike most boxers, who wake-up early to exercise, Floyd is nocturnal, preferring to train during the late afternoon or throughout the night. Another interesting fact is that he never drinks alcohol or uses drugs.

"Hard work, dedication, prayers, and belief" has always been Floyd's mantra. His unyielding belief in himself helped him overcome much adversity. Despite his father going to prison on drug trafficking charges and his mother having substance abuse problems when he was a teenager, he went on to amass a room full of medals, trophies, and championship belts. As is often said, success is not determined by whether or not you face obstacles, but how you react to them.

Floyd's next obstacle is Argentine Marcos Maidana, who he meets in the ring on May 3rd.

While Floyd looks to add a few more wins to his record before retiring, his place in boxing history is already cemented according to many involved in the sport, including his long-time nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. After Mayweather's 2010 victory over Shane Mosley, De La Hoya had the following to say: "Mayweather is, no doubt about it, in my mind, in Mosley's mind, in anybody's mind now, that he is the best. He keeps on proving it over and over and over again. He is the best...possibly of all time. He has the skills to beat anybody. He has the talent. He has the work ethic...Mayweather is on a different level."

Or, as put more bluntly by the charismatic boxing analyst and former champion Paulie Malignaggi: "I think Floyd beats everyone in history, and anyone who doesn't realize that by now is stubborn, blind, stupid, or all three."

Floyd Mayweather is already being hailed a legend. What is it that the late jazz musician Miles Davis said when labelled a legend while he was still playing? "A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I'm still doing it."

Well, Floyd is certainly "still doing it."

In a very recent interview with FightHype, when asked about his legacy, Floyd responded: "I think I'll truly be missed when I'm gone away from the sport."

I couldn't agree more. Enjoy his boxing excellence while we can!

The writer, Prof. Andrew Dunne, teaches at Chosun University in Gwangju. His work has appeared in international newspapers and magazines as well as academic journals. If you would like to contact him, his email address is: atdunne@gmail.com



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Prof. Andrew Dunne, who serves as a contributing writer for The Seoul Times, has been teaching at Chosun University in Gwangju for several years. While as a university student he carried out studies on body modification practices and published papers on the subject in academic journals. He attended university in Dublin, Ireland, but grew up on the west coast of Canada in Vancouver, B.C. He can be reached at the following email address: atdunne@gmail.com

 

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