If not for Olympic bronze, I wouldn’t be where I am today: Floyd Mayweather | Boxing News

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MUMBAI: From an extremely rough upbringing, Floyd Mayweather rose to become one of the greatest boxers in history. If there were ever any doubters along the way, the American clearly wasn’t one of them.
“I always knew I was going to be huge,” Mayweather said during a riveting 10-minute interaction in the city on Monday.
Yet, for a fighter who would go on to become world champion in five divisions and eventually retire with a flawless professional record – winning 50 out of 50 bouts, 27 of them by knockout ­– Mayweather stressed on how his decorated career may well have turned out differently had it not been for a less-than-perfect start at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.Competing in the featherweight division, a then 19-year-old Mayweather had to be content with a bronze medal after losing in the semifinal by a controversial decision to Bulgaria’s Serafim Todorov.“I was just talking about this the other day when I was in Athens because the modern day Olympics started in Athens,” said the 47-year-old Mayweather who spent some time in the Greek capital before his maiden visit to India.
“I was able to travel with my daughter and we went to where the first Olympics was held. I saw there, they had different levels for the gold medal, the silver medal and the bronze medal. I stood on the third one. I didn’t stand on (the levels for) first or second.
“Now when I look back on my career, I’m happy that I got a bronze medal because if I didn’t get a bronze medal I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at today, so everything happens for a reason.
“Congratulations to the guy who got the gold medal, congratulations to the guy who got the silver medal. I’m happy with how my career went. I can’t cry over spilt milk. You take licks, you keep on moving.”

Despite boxing’s undeniable legacy and draw at the Olympics, uncertainty hangs over its future after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had, last October, said that the sport’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games was “on hold”.
In Mumbai with The Money Team to promote Limitless X, a health and wellness collaboration with business partner Jas Mathur, Mayweather made a strong plea to the IOC, urging them to retain a sport that has featured at every Olympic Games since 1920.
“I appreciate the Olympic committee. Please, I’m asking, don’t do this to these young fighters. These fighters should be able to display their skills and their talent. It puts them in a position to become professionals and it puts them in a position to feed their families. So, the Olympics for boxing is very, very important,” he said.
“I don’t want to say, ‘without the Olympics, I wouldn’t be where I’m at’. I really wouldn’t be where I’m at if it weren’t for my father (Floyd Mayweather senior) and my uncle (Roger Mayweather) and my team, but the Olympics played a major role because the Olympics put me in a position to be on TV, to televise my skills and my talent to the world. That’s where I was first seen around the whole world.”
As he reflected on the darker days of his childhood, which notably included a time when his father was forced to use him as a human shield while being threatened by a maternal uncle at gunpoint, Mayweather said none of those struggles were ever going to stop him from keeping his date with greatness.

Floyd-Mayweather-2-TOI

(TOI Photo)
“I’ve been through a lot. Everyone has heard my story. About my mom, about my dad. About my dad being shot, my dad holding me when he got shot, my mother being on drugs.
“Seven of us living in New Brunswick in New Jersey in a one bedroom, sometimes no heat, no hot water, but those challenges couldn’t stop me. I was destined to be where I was at. I was destined to be a champion. I was destined to be a billionaire. No one can stop me.
“I will continue to be great, I will continue to push my loved ones to be great, I will continue to put them in positions to be entrepreneurs,” he said, adding: “Even then, when I was faced with those different obstacles, I always knew I was going to be super successful.
“I always knew I was going to be rich and famous. But my journey didn’t stop with making money. My journey didn’t stop with making my first million, my first 100 million, my first billion. The journey has to continue to give back to the people from all walks of life and all around the world who have embraced me with open arms.”
Despite the two sharing a troubled relationship, Mayweather, regarded by many as the best defensive boxer in history, said a philosophy his father had taught him early on had been instrumental in shaping his style as well as contributing to a career that stretched over two decades. “I was a very intelligent fighter. I was a defensive fighter. (Boxing) was all about offence but mainly about defence because the less you get hit, the longer you’re able to last. That’s the first thing my dad instilled in me,” he said.

Winning world titles in different divisions was undoubtedly a feat that helped establish Mayweather’s legacy. But as he aged, dollars began to matter more than titles to the man who, according to Forbes, was the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2018 (total earnings worth $285 million). “It’s very important to win world titles, but as I got older, I looked at things differently. I choose currency over legacy, meaning if I got into the sport of boxing, and they say ‘you can win 10 world titles in your career but only make 10 million dollars, or you can win no titles but make 500 million’, I’d rather make 500 million.
“Because I know that I’m able to make smart investments, and my kids are able to make smart investments. And I may make a few mistakes along the way, but with that type of money you can make a few mistakes,” Mayweather said.
About that legacy though. In the pantheon of boxing greats, does Mayweather consider himself –– the greatest? “I don’t have to keep answering the same question,” the ‘Money Man’ shot back. “I did what I did in my career. Only God can judge me, people can have their opinion, but I know what it really is.”
And what’s that Floyd? “I’m just saying, I know what it really is. I don’t have to say that.”



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