Sport Boxing Floyd finds out ‘Money’ can’t buy you love
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Floyd finds out ‘Money’ can’t buy you love

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A gala dinner with Floyd Mayweather, costing between $200 and $1000.

I’d rather rub my face against a cheese grater.

With the news Mayweather has had his Australian visa application rejected because he failed the ‘character test’, those poor misguided souls who paid to see the greatest boxer alive in Sydney and Melbourne will have to make other arrangements.

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Forty-five men have tried to beat Mayweather (two have tried twice) and none has been able.

He is the world’s highest-paid sportsman – in a time when boxing is on life support.

Floyd Mayweather celebrates another win with a young fan. Photo: Getty
Floyd Mayweather celebrates another win with a young fan. Photo: Getty

Since 2007, he’s never made less than $25 million for a fight.

In the 2013/14 financial year he earned $105 million. For 72 minutes work.

His nickname used to be ‘Pretty Boy’. He changed it to ‘Money’.

He is box office gold, yet has brittle hands and a defensive style.

He may, in fact, be the finest defensive boxer ever.

His awkward, shoulder-roll technique and hair-trigger reflexes make him almost impossible to hit flush, while his anticipation of opponents’ punches and cobra-like hand speed makes him seem supernatural.

“I just went to his body … couldn’t even find his head,” sparring partner J’Leon Love told Rolling Stone in 2012.

“That hand speed he’s got, it’s stupid fast … he was picking off my shots before I threw them.”

So what’s the problem?

Well there are a few. Mayweather the boxer verges on the superhuman. Mayweather the man is an entirely different story.

He is perhaps the most unlikeable athlete in history.

He is a serial abuser of women.

In 2001 he attacked Melissa Brim, the mother of one of his children, hitting her face with a car door and repeatedly punching her.

In 2010, he attacked his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris, threatening to make her “disappear” in front of her two children. This incident was the latest in a long line of abuse Ms Harris was subjected to by Mayweather, and he was jailed in 2012.

Mayweather has a lot of money, and he loves to let people know about it.

His flagrant displays of wealth on social media are nauseating.

But you can’t write about Mayweather without writing about where he came from.

He was born into chaos in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his father a failed prize-fighter and cocaine dealer, while his mother was a drug addict. He was raised mostly by his grandmother.

He was only one and sitting on his father’s lap when an uncle on his mother’s side broke down the door and shot at his dad, who held young Floyd up as a shield.

The blast injured his calf, but he survived.

He’s been boxing since he was seven, and grew up in sweaty gyms.

His father, Floyd Sr, was a useful welterweight, losing by KO to Sugar Ray Leonard and twice by decision to future world champ Marlon Starling.

Floyd Jr, however, was trained largely by his uncle Roger Mayweather, who was also a world champion.

“My dad was always taking credit for the work I’d done. He says he taught me all I know – from where, man? From prison?”

His family life was no picnic.

In sport littered with troubled father-son relationships (Roy Jones and big Roy, Shane and Jack Mosley spring to mind), the Mayweathers have continually plumbed new depths of dysfunction.

Should he be allowed in Australia?

For me the concern is not so much whether he’s granted a visa, but that there are enough people who would pay to watch this man speak in a nightclub.

Surely we’re a bit better than that.

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