Floyd Mayweather Sr. raised his son to be a fighter, and is infinitely confident in his teachings, so when that sensation crept over him before Saturday’s fight against Andre Berto, it was unfamiliar.
“I had a little fear in me, for some reason,” Mayweather Sr. said. “I don’t know why. It was about my son and the fight. I hadn’t seen Floyd coming up for the last week to the gym. So I was kind of thinking about, ‘I wonder if he’s been training like he should have?’ “
The younger Mayweather was shaking out and running late at night, but his absence produced just that brief trace of doubt.
There was no need for it, as Mayweather won a 12-round unanimous decision over Berto in what he said will be his final bout.
Turns out Mayweather Sr. might have to get accustomed to the idea of his son’s retirement, too.
The veteran trainer, and father of boxing’s vowed-to-retired pound-for-pound king, questioned why his son would continue after Saturday’s welterweight title defense at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
He also didn’t put much pre-fight stock in his son tying Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0, with a chance to break it by breaking his retirement promise.
Afterward, Mayweather Sr. was more relenting.
“He would have to answer questions like that,” when asked if he thinks his son will stay retired. “I thought it would be good if he did break Rocky Marciano’s record. But Floyd’s not going to the get the credit for what he’s doing right now because that’s the way people perceive him right now.”
Mayweather Sr. said before the fight that he thinks his son will be tempted to continue next year. A new 20,000-seat, MGM-backed arena opens in Las Vegas next April,
“It’s just that sometimes, you do get tired, and people retire, then they get tired of being retired,” he said.
His son has earned more than $700 million in gross purses in a 19-year career. The younger Mayweather’s base purse Saturday was $32 million. For the Manny Pacquiao fight in May, he grossed well more than $200 million.
“Any time you make $200 million, and you’ve made all this money through the years. …” Mayweather Sr. said, acknowledging the possibility that the retirement may stick.
A questioner tried to suggest that there is more at play in this decision than money, but Mayweather Sr. cut it short.
“No, hold on, wait a minute, that’s what we fight for,” he snapped.
Mayweather Sr. began boxing as a teen-ager to keep a young group of high school bullies from stealing his lunch money.
He turned his son into a fighter from the cradle.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “All I can tell you is I did tell people in the streets, all the time, even when I was pushing him in a stroller, I was telling him he was going to be the best, because I seen something in him. He might have been 10 months, 11 months, and I seen him throwing some punches, and it wasn’t like no punches like a baby would throw them. He threw them like I would throw them. It was enough that I could see what was going on.”
Floyd Mayweather may leave boxing as the pound-for-pound king, but one of the most fleeting pursuits for long stretches of his career was gaining his father’s approval.
After 13 years with his brother Roger Mayweather as trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. returned to that role in his son’s corner in 2013.
They worked the last six fights together, coinciding with the younger Mayweather’s Showtime contract, which expired after Saturday’s fight and enriched him to such extent that he has been the world’s highest-paid athlete ever since.
He got one other thing he wanted, too.
“He did please me, he pleased me very well,” Mayweather Sr. said. “And I like where we are. I think Floyd, things really came together for me and him.”