Floyd Mayweather Jr. has become a name dropper

On February 28, 2012, his royal highness, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) was at the Apollo Theatre in New York, N. Y. with Miguel Cotto (R) to promote his upcoming fight on May 5, 2012 in Las Vegas. Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Apparently, when Floyd Mayweather Jr., speaks, even the President of the United States listens. On a recent HBO Boxing feature, “Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out,” Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) was introduced as “one of the most provocative athletes of our time” by author, academic and interviewing host, Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University.

Dyson has conducted similar conversations with our president, Barack Hussein Obama, a gentleman who himself had an opportunity to meet with Mayweather.

Below are excerpts from this 30 minute HBO special which first aired Saturday night in advance of his HBO Pay Per Per View-televised match with Miguel Cotto on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Between now and May 5, this program will air 13 times. Since there was no subject matter too delicate for Mayweather to discuss, Dyson went straight to the prickly issues, those regarding his father, a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao, his pending jail time, the controversial comments about Jeremy Lin, an Asian point guard who plays for the New York Knicks, and his relationship with HBO Boxing’s color commentator, Larry Merchant.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. on how he’s generally perceived:

“Because I’m outspoken, I’m judged. But we’re all judged. I feel that the majority of the time when somebody sees me, they have a thought. Instantly. I don’t know if it’s a good thought or a bad thought, but it’s a thought.

“Like I’ve said before, people worry about being judged. Who is and who ain’t going to like you. The thing is, it’s just as long as you like yourself.”

On his dysfunctional life as a youth:

“I stayed with my dad for a certain period of time. Eventually, I moved with my mother in New Jersey. There were seven people staying in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat. I mean, sometimes, no lights. My mother was on crack at one particular time.

“Eventually, I moved back to Grand Rapids Michigan to live with my father. I asked my mother can she move back also. She eventually moved back to Grand Rapids. I was happy when she did, but she was back on drugs.

“I saw my dad sell my mother drugs. Those were things that I went through in life. But I’m a strong individual. I can get through anything. I think that’s what makes me a stronger person now.”

On his father, Floyd Mayeather Sr.:

“I don’t want to say my father wasn’t there for me, because if I say that, then that’s absolutely not true. My dad was only there for the boxing. To come and get me and take me to the boxing gym. But, when I think back on it, me and my dad have never been to a movie or anything else.

“Me and my dad have never been bowling. Me and my dad have never been to dinner. We’ve never sat down and talked as father and son. Me and my dad’s relationship has always just been boxing. Nothing else. Just boxing. If it wasn’t about boxing, then it wasn’t about nothing. I try to be outside of the box and break the cycle.

“I go to both of my sons’ football games. They play basketball. I don’t try to force nothing on my children. Boxing was forced on me. My dad did start me off. But it’s no hard feelings. No hard feelings at all. Just because we don’t see eye-to-eye. He’s stuck in his ways.

“He don’t want me to love my mother because he feels that I owe him everything that I’ve made and everything that I’ve done in the sport of boxing. He feels that I owe all of the praise to him. I just have to enlighten him and let him know that he’s not God.”

On his pending jail time:

“With my incident coming up, I don’t worry about that. I’m prepared for it. I’m pretty sure Martin Luther King’s been to jail. I’m pretty sure Malcom X has been to jail. There has been more that’s been to jail. I’ve taken the good with the good, I’ll accept the bad with the bad. It’s just an obstacle that’s put in your way. I can get through anything.

“Am I guilty? Absolutely not. You know, I took a plea. You know, sometimes, they put you in a no-win situation. I had no choice but to take a plea. I never want to drag my family through the mud. I didn’t want to bring my children to court. I’ve never raised my hands to my children. You know, I’ve got four beautiful children and I love them, dearly.

“I’m supposed to be going to prison in June, and the only thing I can do is keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best and try to stay positive. Can’t nothing break me. I’m still going to be strong. If I’m locked up, I’m still going to make sure my mother’s got the finer things in life, and my sisters. I take care of my whole family.”

On how he resisted the temptation of turning to a life of drugs:

“I don’t think that no one will ever understand me. No one will ever understand my pain. I beat all odds. My dad had just went to prison, and my best friend was like. We had talked about getting into the drug game. We talked about it.

“I said, you know, ‘Yeah, I’m with it. Let’s go.’ So we went over to this guy’s house. I was, say, 16. So we went over to this guy’s house, and something just told me ‘No.’ He said, ‘Forget it, I’m going to do it.’ So he did it. And, he’s dead now.”

On his racial comments about Jeremy Lin:

“They say I’m racist, I guess. That’s what they say. I mean, just because I spoke on the Jeremy Lin situation? The same things that I say, a lot of NFL and NBA players want to say. But I don’t have no problems with saying it. But the last time I checked, I’m the only boxer. I’m outspoken. If I have an opinion on something, I speak my mind.

“As far as the Jeremy Lin situation, I spoke my mind. I just said that Jeremy Lin was a good player. That’s the first thing that I did say. I said but all of the hype is because he’s Asian. There are black players who go out there and do that day in and day out, which is true. You know, I’m not going to say what particular players in the NBA.

“But when I spoke on the Jeremy Lin situation, a lot of NBA players came to me and called my phone and said, ‘Floyd, thank you, you’ve said what we’ve been wanting to say all along.’ You know players have to be quiet, they can’t say nothing.”

On his views about racial tension:

“When an athlete gets paid, I feel like they want you to be more like, you take your money, you sit back and you be quiet and you be thankful. It’s wild and crazy. But I’ve got Jewish people working for me. I’ve got Muslim people around me. Catholic, Christian. It don’t matter. It’s because I stand behind Black Americans first.

“But it’s okay. It’s okay for Puerto Ricans to support Puerto Ricans. It’s okay for Cubans to support Cubans. It’s okay for every country to come over here to America and take their flag and wave it high and to support their own. So it’s a crime for me to support my people first? Black Americans first?”

On Muhammad Ali:

“Ali stood for a helluva cause. Ali is the one that made you say, ‘You know what? I’m proud to be Black.’ I know that me and Ali, right now, we would sit down and have a crazy conversation. He would say, ‘Floyd, you know, I’m better than you because I did this.’

“I would say, ‘Well, Ali, I’m better than you because, look at how many weight classes I’ve went through.’ But, you know, on the flip side, I feel like he’s just like me. I feel like I’m in the same shoes as Ali. They hate me. They hate me when I’m at the top, but once my career is over, they’re going to really miss me.”

On the importance of having plenty of money:

“Money is nothing but comfort. A person has a good job. They go to a dealership. They’re going to get the car that’s according to their budget.

“If you got money, you can go and say, ‘You know what? I want this car for Monday; I want this car for Tuesday.”

On his inner circle and how he manages money:

“I’ve got people around me with masters degrees. You’ve got to have brains to want to have brains around you. You’ve got to surround yourself with smart people.

“Did I finish school? Absolutely not! Because I knew what I wanted. I left school to put my mother in a better position and take care of my family. Was it worth it? Absolutely, because I knew school was always going to be there.

“But this opportunity that I had only comes once in a lifetime. And I’m surrounded with smart people, and that’s why I’m where I am.

“People said that I’m an a–hole because I don’t want no new friends. You know, I stay within my circle and only within my circle. I’m being honest. You know, like, we’re a family.”


When seeking support in his run for President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama (L) shown here with Floyd Mayweather Jr. (C) and his trainer/advisor Leonard Ellerbe, approached the boxer in hopes of getting his endorsement.

On his connection with the President:

“I had a chance to sit down with Obama before he got nominated. Barack Obama is truly a great guy. A great guy. The coolest president that I ever met. He’s got swag.

“People want to know how much power Floyd Mayweather’s got? I can guarantee you this. To show you how much power I’ve got. If I could fight Manny Pacquiao, I would let Obama walk me to the ring carrying my belt. Can I make it happen? Absolutely.”

On Pacquiao:

“I’m happy with how my career has gone. I have nothing else to prove in this sport to nobody. Do I want the Manny Pacquiao fight before my career is over? Absolutely. But if it don’t happen, it don’t happen. Right now, I’m going through a lawsuit of defamation of character with Manny Pacquiao.

“Trash talking. Actually, I’ve never met him. I called him to make the fight…You can tell somebody is in his ear. Because he already knows. Like I said before, my offer is what it is. And my offer, it won’t change.

“I’m not budging. $40 million is what you are getting. Either you take it, or you leave it. Like I’ve said before, Manny Pacquiao needs Floyd Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t need Manny Pacquiao.”

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