Bob Arum was showcasing him as this new sensation that we all needed to see on a card that was going to be held at the Mandalay Bay.
I think his record was 10-0 (or something like that) and at the time I believe that he was one of the few African Americans that was being featured on the card.
I was eager to meet him because at the time I wanted to show him my portfolio of my art and when I had the opportunity do do so he seemed to be impressed enough to commission me to do a portrait for him. At the time, the only person he had around him was Leonard Ellerbe ( who’s one of the nicest guys you want to meet).
Since that time I’ve done several more portraits for him (including one of his mother).
I’ve seen the remarkable growth and development of this young man over the years, and I must say that he’s come a long way.
Not only has he accumulated a ring record of 43-0, but he has built an empire and now has an army of people that he’s employed to assist him in his affairs.
His image is now global and is world renown.
He’s been up against some very formidable competition in his career and has been battle tested up against the likes of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales, and most memorable, the two matches with Jose Luis Castillo (some ring observers believe he lost the first one, although it was indeed close).
Nevertheless, he has remained undefeated throughout his career to this day.
And now he is wearing more than one hat besides being an excellent boxer, he’s now in the business of the sport by becoming a promoter with his Money Team Promotions. I don’t think he could’ve picked a better person to be his CEO than Leonard Ellerbe who knows him and can be trusted better than anyone in his camp.
The Mayweather Boxing Club is a gym in Las Vegas that he’s established and is a very busy joint on most week days, and it’s where the likes of Ishe Smith, J’leon Love (who’s also fighting this weekend), and many talented prospects that fight under TMT Promotions are trained and developed.
One has to wonder, what does the future hold for Floyd? (he is not getting any younger)
He often talks about his legacy, and there are those around him who consider him to be the greatest fighter ever.
When and if he does decide to hang them up for good and remains undefeated, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to how great a fighter he was.
This one thing is for sure, he’s got a guy he’s facing tomorrow night at the MGM Grand that’s hungry enough to try and take the title away from him, and I’m sure he’ll be fully prepared to deal with him and whatever he comes at him with.
He’s certainly been around the block in the sport, and has nothing to prove.
But I’m reminded of the great Muhammad Ali and what made him to be considered “The Greatest.” Ali took on an issue that many people in this country were against, and that was the war in Viet Nam, and the draft. He was willing to go jail for the position that he took. And in spite of getting his license to box ultimately stripped, he went on to take a stance against certain causes, and wasn’t afraid to speak out. Despite being convicted and being sentenced to jail for refusing the draft, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction and his licence was reinstated.
He is looked upon around the world with the utmost respect, even at his ripe old age today.
This writer’s prayers are with Floyd “Money” Mayweather as he continues his pursuit for greatness in the sport of boxing, and hope that one day he can truly become the “people’s champion”. As I always say, “we’ll see what happens.”
Southern California based Mohammed Mubarak’s Ringside Update column can also be seen in the Pace News, the Inland Valley News, and the High Desert Inland Valley News. Mohammed is a portrait artist as well. He can be contacted at [email protected] for your comments.