01.12.07 Dad was a hustler, Mum was a Junkie
By PAT SHEEHAN c/o The Sun UK
FLOYD MAYWEATHER JUNIOR first heard the sound of a gun as a one-year-old kid when he was used as a human shield.
The bullet — fired by an uncle — thudded into his dad Floyd Senior’s thigh while he held the terrified youngster tight to his chest in a bid to save his own life.
Ever since, Mayweather Junior has fought to drag his family out of the gutter and find the security he never knew existed until he became the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
On Saturday, Mayweather puts his unbeaten 39-fight record on the line when he defends his WBC welterweight title against also undefeated Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas.
His rise has been built on a background of family beatings, bullets, drug deals and jail terms.
But now he is at the top Mayweather is predicting he will be a billionaire in five years and owning a casino in the gambling capital of the world that is now his home.
It is a far cry from the days when his drug dependent mother Deborah stole to provide at Christmas and his father pedalled drugs.
Pulled a gun
That saw Mayweather senior banged up for five and a half years in Milan Michigan Federal penitentiary.
One time contender Mayweather Senior, recalled how Deborah’s brother pulled a gun on him looking to settle a debt. He said: “I told him ‘If you’re going to kill me, you’re going to kill him too. That’s all I got in the world’.”
Instead of aiming at his head, the uncle then shot Floyd Snr in the leg — virtually ending his promising boxing career that had seen him take on the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard.
Junior has endured an explosive relationship with his dad, who trained him up until he won his first title by beating Genaro Hernandez for the WBC super featherweight crown in 1998.
The pair now have an on-off relationship and Junior revealed: “I really want to thank my dad because he used to beat me for no reason when all I wanted was that one-on-one time with him.
“He used to beat me when I was a kid and that’s why I take it out on opponents today.
“Our relationship is bad, honestly, because my dad disrespected my mother. He does not want me to accept my mother and do nice things for her. My dad is jealous of our relationship.
“I’d do anything for my mother. I’d give my life for her, I’d die for her, I’d die for my kids.
“My dad? I’d die with him, there’s a difference. No one will ever understand Floyd Mayweather. Never.
“The home that I come from, I had a father who was a hustler and a mother who was on drugs. That’s one of the reasons I had to fight.
“I had to quit school so my family could be in a better position, I had to be the man in my home at the age of 16.
“Every day I have a flashback going back to my street life, because it’ll never leave me.
“My friends hustling on the block, shootings, hearing guns was normal, if you didn’t hear a gun during the week you’d wonder what was going on.
“My friend got killed, my friend got stabbed, there was all sorts of crazy stuff.
“Going through what I’ve been through, my father being shot in front of me, my mother being on drugs, living with seven people in one bedroom, my grandmother struggling, being in a drug infected neighbourhood.
“Walking to the gym in four feet of snow, doing just whatever it took to make it to the top.”
The divide between Junior and his dad remains huge and it’s been compounded by the fact that Junior’s uncle Roger — also a professional fighter — is now his trainer.
Junior added: “My father, he’s a got a certain look on his face like he’s envious of me. And it’s shame when a person is jealous of one of their own children.
“I know, the eyes don’t lie. I’m happy with my uncle Rog, that’s my dude, through thick and thin.”
His relationship with his mother is rock solid even though he dropped her maiden name of Sinclair in favour of his dad’s when aged 12.
He admitted: “Mayweather ain’t my real last name. I got my name changed to it.
“My mother, I can remember when I was a kid we had no Christmas, she had to go out and steal stuff for us.
“I got her a wedding ring on her right hand because she don’t have no husband, I am her husband, and that’s my wife.
“I don’t need to be going out there and getting married, to fight your whole life just for some woman to get all of your money.
“When it’s all said and done my wife is my mother, that’s my sweetheart and that’s my baby.
“I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve been through. And nobody will ever be able to walk in my shoes.”
It begs the question: Would anyone want to?
discuss in FORUM HERE