No longer amateur champion "Lil' Floyd," he has long since stepped out of his father, Floyd Sr.'s, shadow. He's put "Pretty Boy" Floyd behind him; that was the moniker for a handsome, unscarred flash fighter in his second incarnation, the six-time champion who raised his professional record to 39-0 (25 KOs) before deciding in June 2008 -- almost on a whim -- to devote his life to professional wrestling, music, television and movie-making.
It was easy to walk away, when Mayweather had earned about $50 million in 2007 following a 10th round TKO of Ricky Hatton and a 12th-round split decision over Oscar De La Hoya.
Since then, the bills have been piling up on the lifestyle -- the "Big Boy" mansion about 20 minutes from the Las Vegas strip; the fleet of Rolls Royce, Ferrari and Mercedes luxury rides; the $75,000 Jacob the Jeweler watch and other assorted diamond and platinum accoutrements.
All of these possessions have defined Mayweather's latest self-imposed label.
If Saturday night's (HBO pay-per-view) comeback bout for Floyd "Money" Mayweather, a 12-round non-title fight against Mexican puncher Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), is about generating cash flow to silence a growing list of creditors, you'll never hear Money say that.
"Not at all. I was away from boxing, rested my body and I'm still on the top of the throne," says Mayweather, 32, who maintains he is still boxing's pound-for-pound champion despite the 16-month retirement/layoff. "And until someone dethrones me, I'm still the best. This fight, 'Numero Uno' (HBO pay-per-view, 9 PM ET) is just another way for me to showcase that."
So how does he explain the dark cloud of debts that hovers over him, which have been well-documented by the Associated Press and the keen eyes of the Las Vegas newspapers? According to various reports, the IRS is after Mayweather for more than $6 million in unpaid taxes from 2007. There are unresolved debts of $9,400 to three homeowners associations; $3,900 to a contractor who installed electronics in the mansion.
Even a $320.10 unpaid bill to his trash collector.
Just last week, JP Morgan Chase Bank sued Mayweather to recover $167,192 in fees after the boxer had his heavily financed $512,000 Mercedes Maybach 57s repossessed. The lawsuit claims Money failed to make the $9,077 monthly payments for nearly a year.
Mayweather and his manager, Leonard Ellerbe, simply dispute these financial claims, and they're dismissing the fighter's connection to an August shooting at a Las Vegas skating rink where he's been known to take his four children. Mayweather's Rolls Royce was spotted in the parking lot when bullets flew, and police searched the vehicle and the boxer's home for evidence in locating the shooter. Police seized guns, ammunition and bulletproof vests, but have said Mayweather is not considered a suspect.
The negativity, Mayweather says, takes away from the good he does in the community, feeding the poor and helping battered women and children; his role as loving father; and his greatness as boxing's most exciting entertainer and champion.
"If the media is not talking about me, then I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, so obviously I'm doing something right. That comes with the territory," Mayweather says. "It's obvious God loves me, because I keep winning."
Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, says his associate and best friend doesn't concentrate on any of the bad press. "That's not a focus at all, because people, you know, they talked about Jesus Christ," Ellerbe says. "When you're on top, those are the kinds of things that happen. People talk about you. They want to see you fail."
Floyd Sr. isn't surprised that his son is such a magnet for negative publicity.
"You don't have to do much to make the public mad at you," Mayweather Sr. says. "My son is flamboyant in his own way, that's just how he chooses to do it. The way he likes to drive his Mercedes, his Maybachs and his Ferraris, this is the kind of stuff he likes to do. And a lot of people don't like it. That's the thing right there. People don't like it."
"This is a negative world that we live in," Mayweather Jr. explains. "Our country is at war right now and most of the people in our country don't know what we're at war for. It's a negative culture. But I just try to be positive."
He's positive, for example, about the reunited family unit that will be in his corner Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Alternating feuds with Floyd Sr. and his longtime trainer and uncle, Roger Mayweather, have been addressed, making for a happy training camp.
That said, "It really doesn't matter who's in your corner -- skills pays the bills when it's all said and done," Mayweather clarifies. "Roger and my dad can't get in there and fight for me. If the family is together or apart, whoever I'm fighting, I'm still the one that has to get in there and do the fighting."
These days, Mayweather still loves his money, showing off that money, making more money and being all about the money. Wads of it. But he's less likely to throw those $100s in the air at the club and more likely to be focused on his children, who are getting older and thus more impressionable.
Mayweather grew up without much in Grand Rapids, Mich., while Floyd Mayweather Sr. pursued welterweight titles and dropped in only to teach his up-and-coming son how to duck, dodge and box defensively by slipping his shoulders away from oncoming punches. That style still remains.
No silver spoon, Mayweather has always said, made him hungrier in the ring and a harder worker out of it. He's proud of that.
So how does he teach his kids -- son Koraun, 10, daughter Iyanna, 9, son Shamaree, 8 and daughter Jirah, 6 -- to work hard and maintain humility when they're living in a 20,000-foot mansion and have everything at their disposal? Mayweather has no answer for that.
"The difference between when you're born with [money] and you're born without it, I think when you're born without it, it makes you strive harder," Mayweather says. "I'm not inside my children's minds so I don't know how they think. In due time, once the kids get 14, 15, 16, then I'll find out how my oldest son is going to handle everything.
"They know daddy is a fighter. They like going to the boxing ring, the press conferences. But they don't understand -- it's a job. But they're normal kids. They like to play video games. Ride their bikes. I like to take 'em skating, bowling. To the movies. Ordinary things. As of right now, my kids are blessed. They're very respectful. They have great manners. And I'm happy with that."
Mayweather has had some fun mocking Marquez in episodes of HBO's series "Mayweather/Marquez 24/7," even getting his children to poke fun at the revelation in Episode 2 that Marquez is drinking his own urine as a nutritional supplement.
"Pee-pee mouth!" Mayweather says to a group of giggling toddlers crowded in the stairwell at the home of his mother, Deborah Sinclair, and everyone bursts out in laughter.
But when the subject turns to Marquez as a worthy opponent in this 144-pound catchweight comeback fight, Mayweather becomes very serious. Not only is Marquez a great fighter and Mexican champion, Mayweather concedes, but he also is a showman in his own, quiet right.
And that sells.
"He's a guy that's going to play to the crowd. He's gonna come to fight his heart out. I'm just going to stay relaxed and stick to the game plan," Mayweather says. "And if the game plan is to fight toe-to-toe, that's what I'm going to do. If the game plan is to box, that's what I'll do. If it's to counter-punch, that's what I'll do.
"We don't know what will happen in that ring. That's why it's so interesting. I'm so versatile, and he's a guy that's been around the sport for a long time. And he represents Mexico well. He's Mexico's Numero Uno. And me -- I'm just an icon in the sport of boxing."
So why the change to "Money" Mayweather now? Doesn't that just feed the perception that he is all style and no substance? "Bullsh-t," Floyd Sr. says. "Anybody that says my son isn't in great shape, doesn't train hard and is the greatest boxer in the sport doesn't know what they're talking about."
Junior has a simple explanation. "Out with the old, in with the new. I left boxing as 'Pretty Boy' and I come back and I'm 'Money,"' says Mayweather, who admits he may or may not remain in boxing after this fight, despite the push to see him finally challenge Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao.
"I'm not calling anyone out, so I'm not here to talk about Manny Pacquiao. Right now, I'm looking at the WWE. I talked with the (Vince) McMahon family and they're happy with the idea," Mayweather muses. "So I may move there full-time. I don't know."
He is keeping us guessing. And Mayweather loves that.
"I'm an entertainer, one of the greatest we've ever seen in sports. You'll see that Sept. 19 against Juan Manuel Marquez. Blood, sweat and tears," Mayweather says. "After that, we'll take what comes to us."