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 Heroin needles, gunfire, and incarceration were all parts of Floyd Mayweather’s years as he was growing up. Mayweather didn’t have a strong relationship with his father who spent time in prison. His mother was addicted to heroin. Mayweather oftentimes stayed with his grandmother but quickly learned to raise himself. His hardships helped turn him into one of the greatest boxers and wealthiest athletes of all time.

Floyd Mayweather the boxer

Floyd Mayweather turned out to be one of the most successful boxers in the history of the sport. The man they call ‘Money’ has certainly lived up to his title. Mayweather has been the king of pay-per-views, raking in $1.7 billion during his career through 24,000,000 PPV buys. 

Mayweather’s wealth is a direct result of his success inside the boxing ring. He made his professional boxing debut on Oct. 11, 1996, beginning a string of 50 straight boxing victories against zero losses.  He won 27 of his bouts by knockout. He also had some quality wins against big-time opponents such as ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, and Manny Pacquaio.

Mayweather captured 15 world titles during his prolific career and was named Fighter of the Decade for the 2010s by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He retired from the sport three times. His final professional fight was against MMA star Conor McGregor in August of 2017. In that fight, Mayweather took home $275 million.

Mayweather’s rocky relationship with his father

Floyd Mayweather had a rocky relationship with his father, who was also a boxer and sometimes trained his son. “My dad? I would see him when it was time to go the boxing gym or to run errands with him and because he was a hustler, things could get a little wild sometimes,” Mayweather said in an article in The Guardian back in 2012. “I had a rollercoaster ride and basically I raised myself. It was my older sister who made sure I got up every morning and went to school.”

Mayweather said his father would beat him for every little thing and he just wanted to get away from it all. “Every weekend I would go to another family member and I could call other relatives because [his grandmother] had a phone. I then went back to Michigan and my father would beat me for anything I did, even if I hadn’t done anything. I used to pray for the day I could become an adult and get away from it and I got tired of getting beat.”

Mayweather said it was boxing that helped him get through his troubles. He would stare at the pictures of boxers on his wall to help him get through it all. “I went to bed every night and just looked at pictures of all the boxers on my wall dreaming of being them,” he said. “No matter how late I stayed up I got to that gym and there was nothing better in the world than going to the boxing gym.”

Mayweather’s father once used him as a shield during gunfire

When Floyd Mayweather wasn’t even 2 years old, he found himself in the middle of gunfire. In a business deal gone wrong between Mayweather’s father and uncle, Floyd Jr. found himself caught in the middle when his father held him up in the air while his uncle was aiming a gun at this father.

“If you’re going to kill me, you’re going to kill the baby, too,” Mayweather Sr. said he told his brother in law. “(Floyd Jr.’s) mother said, ‘Give me the baby.’ She was pulling the baby out of my arms so her brother could shoot me. But I wasn’t going to put that baby down. I didn’t want to die. It wasn’t about putting my son in the line of fire. I knew he wouldn’t shoot the baby. So he took the gun off my face, lowered it to my leg, and bam!”

The gunshot had a severe impact on Floyd Sr.’s boxing career. Despite his son’s notion that his father was never there for him, Floyd Sr. said he was there to help his son. “I taught him the right things, and I’ve tried to teach him how to avoid the wrong things,” Mayweather Sr. said in an interview with The New York Times. ”He was training to be a fighter in the crib. No kidding. He was throwing jabs even then. And then when he got a little older he’d be beating the doorknobs.

“All the time I was fighting, I still had to hustle to get money because I had kids to feed,” Floyd Sr. said. “I wanted to make sure that little Floyd didn’t have to do that when he was coming up. That’s one of the reasons he’s as good as he is today.”