The heat inside of the Mayweather Boxing Gym is stifling to the point where the 50 or so members of the press have perspired through their clothes and the beautiful women that hang around the gym as part of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s entourage have sweated out their perms completely. Amidst the humid chaos stands the undefeated, brash and controversial pound-for-pound king Mayweather Jr. The five-division world champion is in the midst of his awe-inspiring mitts routine with his trainer and uncle Roger Mayweather during a media workout to give a glimpse of what the man nicknamed “Money” has in store for Victor Ortiz when the two clash at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on September 17th.
It will be the first time in sixteen months that Mayweather has entered the ring since his one-sided drubbing of Shane Mosley last May. For a fighter who is 34-years-old, sixteen months of inactivity could spell disaster. His aging body could betray him against the 24-year-old Ortiz and Mayweather may end up counting sheep if he isn’t careful. But, then again, this is Floyd Mayweather. He is the exception, not the rule. He’s sharp as a tack as he lights up the mitts with blinding hand speed; the slapping of leather making beautiful music throughout the gym. But Mayweather is annoyed as a light breeze of cold air flashes across his brow. Although those in attendance are relieved by the break in hell that the air conditioning provides, Mayweather’s million dollar smile dissolves. “Who turned on the air conditioning? Turn that shit off, now!” Mayweather barks mid-routine. “You can’t cook with cold grease!”
Despite the boatloads of money that creates the illusion that Mayweather has Scrooge McDuck-like vault in his backyard where he spends his recreational time swimming in dollar bills and gold bars, Mayweather Jr. is arguably the hardest working man in the sport of boxing. Since 1997 Mayweather has crushed the competition. In the sport of pugilism, that’s the equivalent of an eternity. 41have tried, and all 41 have failed, miserably. His blinding speed and seemingly impenetrable defense combined with a ring intellect that would rival Albert Einstein if he studied the dynamics of boxing rather than gravity have been Mayweather’s keys to success.
But with names like Mosley, Corrales, Hatton, De La Hoya and Marquez lining his outstanding portfolio, why hasn’t the Las Vegan received the respect he deserves from his peers? “There are always excuses (why people won’t give me my due),” Mayweather says. “I think it’s just that I make future hall of famers and great fighters look like ordinary. Just because I’m not in a war like certain fighters doesn’t mean that I’m not an all-time great or that I’m not the best fighter to go down in history. I thought it was about coming to the sport, taking less punishment, winning, having all your faculties, raising your family, being a respectful man and representing the red, white, and blue. That’s what I like to do.”