The air inside the Mayweather gym is stingy. Swarms of smelly, sweating reporters, fans, children and hanger-ons surround Floyd Mayweather Jr., 35, as he looks at his reflection in the mirror. The whipping sound of his jump rope falls in time to James Brown chanting â€œThe Big Paybackâ€ over the loudspeaker.
At this training session he is a whirlwindâ€”in one breath performing feats of magic with his standing sit-ups, sparring with his uncle Roger Mayweather, and punching the heavy bag. In another breath, heâ€™s talking with reporters and family, entertaining the crowd with his best friend 50 Cent, or cursing out a member of his promotions team.Â Â Itâ€™s like watching a power saw whizzing and trying to count the blades.
Heâ€™s unstoppable. With 26 knockouts and 42 wins, and more than $200 million in earnings, he is an undefeated world champion in five different weight brackets. He has re-invigorated the energy of a sport where corrupt promoters reduced its glory.
Of course, with all of this glory comes the guts.
There he is on HBOâ€™s “24-7” eating fried chicken and French fries, onion rings, El Pollo Loco. He has bags of cash divided into 10K bankrolls that he can spend on a whim, recklessly gamble, burn it, or tout its importance. He has a fleet of white cars in Vegas, black ones in Miami. Heâ€™s arguing with his father, not speaking to him for nearly a decade. Heâ€™s copping a plea for a domestic violence charge that will land him in Clark County Detention Center for 90 days starting in early June. Heâ€™s generously supporting his crew, dozens of family members, their children, paying tuition, paying medical bills.Â Â Heâ€™s being sued by Manny Pacquiao for defamation of character. His fatherâ€™s knee was practically blown off by a 20-gauge shotgun at the hands of his uncle, while as a 1-year-old he sat in his fatherâ€™s arms. He says his father sold his mother crack. The seven member family lived in a one-bedroom apartment, sometimes without heat or hot water. He dropped out of high school to support his family. He visits his mother every Sunday. His life is complicated.