After 48 fights and 48 victories, Floyd Mayweather has achieved a number of rare feats as he approaches the last fight of his career: He is undefeated and at the top of his sport, he has earned more than any other athlete in 2015, and he is almost universally reviled. Despite a checkered past that includes a 60-day stint in jail and multiple pleas of guilty or no contest to charges relating to domestic violence, Mayweather has still managed to pull in $15 million in endorsements in 2015 alone, bringing his total annual earnings in excess of $300 million.
While Mayweather certainly possesses abundant wealth, humility is not something that is typically associated with the pugilist. Boastful and unabashedly arrogant, Mayweather has been trashed by fellow athletes, journalists, friends, celebrities and, perhaps unsurprisingly, members of the clergy. It should not come as much of a shock that Mayweather is typically dismissive of criticism and completely unapologetic even in instances in which any rational human being would express some measure of remorse or a desire for atonement.
The following people have openly criticized Mayweather, with an overwhelming majority bringing up the many accusations of domestic violence, though others have made subtle and not-so-subtle references to rumors of the boxer’s alleged illiteracy. Whether they have challenged Mayweather to a fight in or out of the ring or simply offered a biting insult, these 15 people have all bashed the champ and drawn the ire of Floyd along with “The Money Team.”
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16 Conor McGregor
The continued success of the UFC has led many to wonder how an MMA fighter would fare against Mayweather, and current UFC Interim Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor did not hesitate in saying he would gladly fight Mayweather in the boxing ring, insulting the sport itself by saying, “I mean, who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?"
McGregor pointed out, of course, that he believed there would be no way that Mayweather would ever consider an MMA bout, saying, "I certainly know he would not want to step into my world. The world of pure unarmed combat where there's no limitations, but I most certainly would step into his world. I would certainly box him if the opportunity arose. Most certainly."
While the Irish UFC fighter admitted that boxing is a style of fighting that would make beating Mayweather difficult, he did note that “there are many, many forms of fighting that can beat him. If we were to get it on, I would most certainly dismantle him, also."
15 Amir Khan
Before Mayweather announced he would be fighting his final career bout against Andre Berto, Khan appeared to be among those in consideration for the final match and potentially massive payday. After learning that he had been passed over in favor of Berto, Khan offered his explanation, saying, "I really believe Mayweather thinks I will beat him. And he definitely is scared. That's the reason this fight isn't happening. I really know how to beat him."
14 Freddie Roach
Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer has taken many shots at the entire Mayweather family over the years, and Roach was quick to criticize the younger Mayweather when he showed up late for a media workout, saying, "Mayweather is a different 'A side' now, and you can guess what the 'A' stands for,” before going on to call Mayweather “selfish.” Roach, citing Mayweather’s unpopularity among fans, also said that a Pacquiao victory would “be a public service to boxing."
13 Keith Olbermann
Olbermann, the outspoken former host of ESPN2’s “Olbermann,” ripped both Mayweather and Pacquiao on multiple occasions during the lead-up to their fight and in its immediate aftermath. Olbermann declared that the fight should be boycotted on account of Mayweather’s five domestic violence convictions, saying, “I will not give Floyd Mayweather a dime. ... He should have been banned for life by his sport 2 or 5 or 10 years ago. I will not promote, watch nor report on Mayweather’s fight.”
After the fight, Olbermann continued to offer sharp criticism for both boxers, calling the fight “an embarrassment to mankind,” before going on to say, “Even if Floyd Mayweather weren’t already a cowardly beater of women who shouldn’t have been in Las Vegas Saturday night unless he was on work release deal from prison, if Manny Pacquiao weren’t a strong-arming politician back home in the Philippines who has a remarkable hat trick of opposing gay marriage, abortion and contraception … there still should have been a boycott.”
12 The Roman Catholic Church
Perhaps Father Edward Beck does not speak for Catholicism as a whole, but the well-known Roman Catholic priest did make his puzzlement over Mayweather’s cultural status clear after the boxer defeated Pacquiao in the highest-grossing pay-per-view event of all-time. Through his Twitter account, Father Beck wrote:
Don't understand how we make a serial batterer of women a national cultural hero. What does this say to our youth? #Mayweather is no winner— Father Edward Beck (@FrEdwardBeck) May 3, 2015
10 Larry Merchant
In 2011, Mayweather was declared the winner in a match against Victor Ortiz, with many believing that Mayweather had landed a sucker punch in the final seconds of the fourth round. Whether the punch was dirty or not, Mayweather’s post-fight interview with HBO’s Larry Merchant quickly turned ugly, as the announcer repeatedly questioned Mayweather about the incident, with the boxer ultimately becoming frustrated and asking for a different interviewer, saying, “Put somebody else up here to give me an interview. … You never give me a fair shake,” and later adding, ”HBO needs to fire you. You don’t know s— about boxing!”
Of course, this led to Merchant, who was already an octogenarian at the time, to get right into Mayweather’s face to famously declare, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your a–!” Merchant, who has since retired from announcing but still weighed in on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight for Tecate in recorded conversations with Sylvester Stallone, later said that even though he would not have been very likely to emerge victorious even in his prime in a fight with Mayweather, “I would’ve tried.”
9 Michelle Beadle
As the co-host of ESPN’s SportsNation and host of Grantland’s Beadlemania podcast, Michelle Beadle has been outspoken on a number of topics, including domestic violence. According to Beadle, it was her history of criticizing Mayweather’s behavior that got her fight credential pulled before the Pacquiao fight, with her producers telling her via email that her credential was “not valid, and it was Mayweather’s camp that pulled it,” then telling her, “You’re free to go home; there’s nothing more you can do here.”
While Mayweather’s camp disputed Beadle’s account of the incident and called it a “misunderstanding,” Beadle went on to criticize Mayweather and all of the people who enable him, saying, “He’s a money tree for the entire City of Las Vegas, and the networks. In no other sport can one individual pull that nonsense. Boxing is like the Wild West. There are no rules. It’s horrible. Why are people defending that? He beats women. I will never understand it. It makes no sense to me. And I’m glad [the credential incident] happened, because at least people now know that’s what they do over there.”
Nelly used a bit more subtlety than 50 Cent in calling out Mayweather regarding his lack of academic aptitude while appearing on ESPN’s First Take in 2014, saying, “I don't have a beef with Floyd Mayweather. For me, for the most part, I think the whole thing is misunderstood. I try to understand where he's coming from which is a little hard to do. He's one of those people who don't like the word ‘No’ said to him. And if anybody does that, it gets under his skin a little bit. I don't know. It's kind of hard talking to someone who hasn't graduated high school."
The issue between Nelly and Mayweather had to do with Shantel Jackson, who is also known as “Miss Jackson” and was once engaged to Mayweather. When Nelly, as 50 Cent said, “swooped down like a bird outta the sky” and began a cozy relationship with Mayweather’s ex-fiancé that was well-documented on Instagram, Mayweather posted a photo of his own, which purportedly showed an ultrasound from a pregnancy that Jackson had aborted, saying on Facebook that “She killed our twin babies." Jackson ultimately filed a civil suit against Mayweather, citing “assault, battery, defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, and a number of other things.”
7 Laila Ali
The daughter of the man many still consider to be the greatest fighter in the history of boxing and a former champion herself, Laila Ali took a more compassionate approach in criticizing Mayweather, perhaps due to the familiarity between the two noted boxing families. After Mayweather claimed to be a better fighter than Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, Laila Ali first explained that she understood why Mayweather would make such a claim, saying, "I believe as a fighter and a champion, especially someone at [Mayweather's] level, he should feel that way about himself,” before adding, “That doesn't make it true."
Ali, appearing on "We Need To Talk," then went on to say that she firmly disagreed with the notion that Mayweather had surpassed her father as a boxer, adding that her father was not just a better boxer, but also a better man.
Laila Ali explained that when she sees Mayweather, “I see a little boy even though he's a grown man. I see a broken person. I know when you have money and you have power and you have all these yes people around you, sometimes you don't have that person to really pull you aside and give it to you straight.”
Ali went on to say that Mayweather simply needs guidance and explained that she reaches out to him from time to time, saying, “I don’t hate him. I dislike the way that he acts. I dislike the way that he treats people. And obviously, I'm definitely not down with this beating up on women because that's very cowardly. But ... he needs somebody to reach out to him and guide him."
6 Aljamain Sterling
Sterling, the undefeated bantamweight MMA fighter, found himself involved in a bit of pool-party drama following UFC 187 in Las Vegas. Mayweather happened to be in attendance and took an interest in Sterling’s girlfriend. The boxer sent someone from his entourage to court her on his behalf, and after repeated attempts and denials, Mayweather finally drew the ire of Sterling, who recounted the entire incident while speaking to FOX Sports in July, saying, “I don't think this guy realizes what he's getting himself into. I don't care how many guys he's with, he needs to realize this isn't the place where he just picks out any girl he wants and that's not how it works over here by our section.”
Of a potential altercation with Mayweather, Sterling made it clear that he was more than confident, saying, "I would tune that guy up. I would light that guy up something serious. I'd light him up on the feet and then I'd take him down and choke him out. Any which way I wanted to. Any way I wanted. Let's see how many punches he can throw before his ass is on the ground or he gets kicked in the head."
5 Rachel Nichols
In an interview with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, Mayweather was repeatedly asked about his history of domestic violence, with the host refusing to back down each time Mayweather attempted to avoid a direct response. After the interview, Nichols called Mayweather’s state of denial “truly amazing,” saying that his responses gave “an interesting window into the way an abuser can walk around, maintaining over and over again that nothing is wrong despite hard evidence to the contrary.” Of course, Nichols was also one of the three media members to have their credentials denied at the Pacquiao fight, with each alleging that their reporting on Mayweather’s history of domestic violence had something to do with the denials.
4 Manny Pacquiao
Mayweather’s career earnings year was due mostly to his matchup with Pacquiao, as the fight was one that boxing fans had been waiting years to see. While the fight itself reeked of anticlimax and could not possibly live up to the hype it generated, the verbal fisticuffs between the two fighters over the years were still plenty entertaining. Questions over PED use, contract disputes and even lawsuits kept a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight from happening while both boxers were still in their prime.
Instead of fighting in the ring, the two had to settle for six years of verbal jabs through the media, including when Pacquiao insulted Mayweather for ducking him time and again by telling the Manila Times that Mayweather “is just a coward, insecure and [envious of] my accomplishments. I don’t like to bite his gimmicks and I just want to understand him, although it’s too much. But I’m really thankful that he always remember me in some ways.”
Of course, Pacquiao calling Mayweather a “coward” is hardly as insulting as the rant Mayweather recorded on uStream.com back in 2010, when he delivered a racist tirade that included references to Pacquiao as “a yellow chump,” adding, along with a host of other racist and homophobic comments, "Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make that [expletive] make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice. I'm going to cook that [expletive] with cats and dogs. Have some rice with a little barbecue dog."
3 Mike Tyson
There is something seriously wrong when Mike Tyson refers to someone else as “delusional” and a majority of people would agree with the assessment. After Mayweather named himself as the best fighter of all-time ahead of Muhammad Ali, Tyson disputed the claim, saying, "He's very delusional. If he was anywhere near that realm of 'Greater than Ali,' he'd be able to take his kids to school by himself." Tyson then insulted the 5-8, 147-pound Mayweather further by saying, "He's a little scared man. He's a very small, scared man."
2 50 Cent
Former friends and business partners, the feud between Mayweather and 50 Cent was over a claim that the rapper was still owed $2 million for his role in co-founding TMT (The Money Team). After Mayweather gave an interview in which he made a thinly veiled reference to 50 Cent and other rappers’ cultural irrelevance, the rapper began insulting Mayweather via Instagram, first calling him out over an unrequited love, saying, “I just woke up, Floyd you know better. Don’t get me started you paid a private investorgater [sic] to find Miss J. You love her man and Nelly took her. LMAO the [expletive] swoop down like a bird outta the sky. He to [sic] tall champ you can’t win. LOL.”
Continuing the insults, 50 Cent then challenged Floyd through Instagram to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, saying, “Floyd will you except [sic] my ALS/ESL CHALLENGE: I will donate $750k to a charity of your choice, If you can read a full page out of a Harry Potter book out loud without starting and stopping or [expletive] up. lmao.” The two apparently settled whatever disagreements they had, and 50 Cent made a tidy profit from betting on Mayweather over Pacquiao, as the rapper wagered a reported $1.6 million on the fight while in Las Vegas.
1 Ronda Rousey
Rousey has taken multiple shots at Mayweather over the past few months, offering insults that refer to his history of domestic abuse allegations and his alleged difficulties with literacy. When asked if she would ever fight Mayweather, Rousey offered a biting reply, saying, “I don't think that me and him would ever fight, unless we ended up dating." Mayweather, when told of Rousey’s comments, pleaded ignorance, saying, “Whoever she is … I wish her nothing but the best. Good luck with everything.”
The insults didn’t end there, however, as Rousey took another jab at Mayweather’s past after she won the ESPY for Best Fighter, a category in which Mayweather was also nominated, with Rousey saying, "I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once." In response, Floyd pointed to his superior earning power, saying that “when [Rousey can earn $300 million in a single fight], then call me.”
After pointing out that she actually earns more than Mayweather on a per-second basis while also noting that she is the highest-paid UFC fighter regardless of gender, Rousey got in the last word by saying of Mayweather, “When he learns to read and write, he can text me.”
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