Future Hall of Famer boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. turned 36 on Sunday, February 24.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), a longstanding WBC world welterweight titleholder who was named The Ring “Fighter of the Year” in 1998 and 2007, last threw fists on Cinco de Mayo when he overcame powerful Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision to acquire the WBA (Super) & WBC Diamond light middleweight crowns.
A five-division, eight-belt winner, Mayweather will next scrap current interim WBC welterweight champion Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Born into a loony clan of boxers, “Pretty Boy,” the winner of the Best Fighter ESPY Award on four separate occasions, was dealt a tough upbringing with a primarily absent father and mother addicted to drugs.
Overcoming adversity most can’t relate to, Mayweather proved to be an unrelenting and determined kid who dominated the amateur ranks and ultimately won a bronze medal as a featherweight at the 1996 Olympics.
Turning professional roughly three months after the Summer Games, the defensive virtuoso has since trumped pugilistic standouts Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Márquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, José Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti and Shane Mosley.
Mayweather’s outstanding diligence, ring presence, speed and punishing power helped the polarizing figure top Forbes’ list of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012.
As detractors readily note, the prizefighting badass, who vacated the script and purposely broke the Big Show’s nose with an unprovoked assault at WWE’s No Way Out in February 2008, is a mouthy degenerate, cocky jackass and convicted domestic abuser.
Hence, it is understandable why so many detest Mayweather as a person and performer.
However, in the opening of the legendary novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Raised by a batshit crazy family in poor living conditions as a child, Mayweather hasn’t always “had the advantages that you’ve had.”
By earning the title of prizefighting’s pound-for-pound king, Mayweather should be considered something of an unlikely inspiration and protagonist.
At the age of 36, setting aside biases, today should be a celebration of all that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has accomplished as an active legend in the squared circle.