Boxing has been a part of Mayweather's life since his childhood and he never seriously considered any other profession. "I think my grandmother saw my potential first," Mayweather said. "When I was young, I told her 'I think I should get a job.' She said, 'No, just keep boxing'." "When I was about eight or nine, I lived in New Jersey with my mother and we were seven deep in one bedroom and sometimes we didn't haveelectricity." Mayweather said. "When people see what I have now, they have no idea of where I came from and how I didn't have anything growing up."
It was not uncommon for young Mayweather to come home from school and find used heroin needles in his front yard. His mother was also addicted to drugs, and he had an aunt who died from AIDS because of her drug use. "People don't know the hell I've been through," he says.
The most time that his father spent with him was taking him to the gym to train and work on his boxing, according to Mayweather. "I don't remember him ever taking me anywhere or doing anything that a father would do with a son, going to the park or to the movies or to get ice cream," he says. "I always thought that he liked his daughter (Floyd's older sister) better than he liked me because she never got whippings and I got whippings all the time."
Mayweather's father contends that Floyd is not telling the truth about their early relationship. "Even though his daddy did sell drugs, I didn't deprive my son," the elder Mayweather says. "The drugs I sold, he was a part of it. He had plenty of food. He had the best clothes and I gave him money. He didn't want for anything. Anybody in Grand Rapids can tell you that I took care of my kids".Floyd senior says he did all of his hustling at night and spent his days with his son, taking him to the gym and training him to be a boxer. "If it wasn't for me he wouldn't be where he is today," he maintains.
"I basically raised myself," Mayweather says. "My grandmother did what she could. When she got mad at me I'd go to my mom's house. My life was ups and downs." His father says he knows how much pain his incarceration caused his son, but insists he did the best he could. "I sent him to live with his grandmother," he says. "It wasn't like I left him with strangers."
Boxing became Mayweather's outlet – a way to deal with his father's absence. As the elder Mayweather served his time his son – with speed and an uncanny ring sense – put all his energies into boxing, dropping out of high school. "I knew that I was going to have to try to take care of my mom and I made the decision that school wasn't that important at the time and I was going to have to box to earn a living," Mayweather says.
Amateur career and Olympics
Mayweather had an amateur record of 84–6 and won national Golden Gloves championships in 1993 (at 106 lb), 1994 (at 114 lb), and 1996 (at 125 lb). He was nicknamed "Pretty Boy" by his amateur teammates because he had relatively few scars, a result of the defensive techniques that his father and uncle (Roger Mayweather) had taught him. In his orthodox defensive stance Mayweather often utilizes the "shoulder roll," an old-school boxing technique in which the right hand is held normally (or slightly higher than normal), the left hand is down around the midsection and the lead shoulder is raised high on the cheek in order to cover the chin and block punches. The right hand (as in the orthodox stance) is used as it normally would be: to block punches coming from the other side, such as left hooks. From this stance Mayweather blocks, slips and deflects most of his opponents' punches (even when cornered) by twisting left and right to the rhythm of their punches.
The U.S. team filed a protest over the Mayweather bout, claiming the judgeswere intimidated by Bulgaria's Emil Jetchev (head of the boxing officials) into favoring the Bulgarian Todorov by a 10–9 decision in the 125-pound semifinal bout. Three of Jetchev's countrymen were in gold medal bouts. Judge Bill Waeckerle (one of the four U.Sjudges working the games for theInternational Amateur Boxing Federation) resigned as Olympic Gamesand federation judge after Mayweather lost the decision, which was loudly booed by the crowd at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. "I refuse to be part of an organization that continues to conduct its officiating in this manner", Waeckerle wrote in his letter of resignation to federation presidentAnwar Chowdhry.
In the official protest U.S. team manager Gerald Smith said Mayweather landed punches that were not counted, while Todorov was awarded points without landing a punch. "The judging was totally incompetent", Waeckerle said. The judges failed to impose a mandatory two-point deduction against Todorov after he was warned five times by the referee for slapping."Everybody knows Floyd Mayweather is the gold-medal favorite at 57 kilograms", Mayweather said afterward. "In America, it's known as 125 pounds. You know and I know I wasn't getting hit. They say he's the world champion. Now you all know who the real world champion is".