Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s persona is that of a foul-mouthed show-off, obsessed with flaunting his wealth and belittling opponents.
This week, the media is regurgitating Mayweather’s long history of verbally and physically abusing former female partners – for which he has served prison time. Nevertheless, there is a softer, more humane side to him not highlighted enough.
Mayweather is firmly cast as the bad guy for the big fight against Manny Pacquiao this Saturday in Las Vegas, but the brash American deserves props for random kind deeds.
He is well known and respected in boxing circles for helping fighters who have hit on hard times with their medical bills, with handouts and even paying for funerals.
Nate Jones, one of Money’s trainers, gets emotional when talking about how Mayweather brought him into the team when the former heavyweight was so broke and desperate he considered returning to petty crime for a living.
Mayweather also does a lot of charity work and supports boxing programs, especially amateur ones in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he started his career.
Ashley “Treasure” Theophane was the star boxer at the All Stars Club in Paddington, West London, until he turned pro 12 years ago. He clawed his way up the British scene to become a domestic light-welterweight champ, and when his career stalled a couple of years ago, he went to the Mayweather gym to train.
Intrigued that a Brit had paid his way to decamp to his gym, Mayweather befriended Theophane and later signed him to a promotional contract with a promise of a world title fight if he continued winning.
A title shot could happen after Theophane (37-6-1, 11 KOs) faces Mexican Mahonri Montes (30-4-1, 21 KOs) in a non-title bout at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Even though Theophane is only earning around $20,000 compared to the expected $180 million Mayweather is set to bank this weekend, there is a mutual respect.
Theophane will never earn millions, but at least Mayweather is giving him the opportunity to reach the sport’s pinnacle and a few decent paydays before retiring.
“I’ve looked better with each fight I’ve had with Mayweather Promotions,” Theophane said. “In the last two years since I’ve been working with Floyd, I’ve spent nine months of the year over here in Vegas. I’ve always gone where the opportunities are in my career.”
The 34-year-old Londoner has fought on the undercard of a couple of Mayweather fights and is grateful that Money has lived up to his promises so far.
“Floyd told me the other week while we were running that he’s going to get me a world title shot and it will come this year,” Theophane said.
“A lot of the top guys at light-welterweight have moved up a division and that hopefully will create openings.”
He added that the always generous Mayweather said Theophane can ask him for anything and he’ll try to accommodate him. All the Brit will want after his fight is a ticket for Saturday’s blockbuster.
With the asking price for ringside tickets online starting at $300,000, Theophane should not be surprised if Money doesn’t deliver on this one.