Floyd Mayweather Jr. was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame last Sunday, alongside Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto. Mayweather, who retired unbeaten in 50 fights, received the honors with words full of emotion.
“I want to thank the International Boxing Hall of Fame for giving me this. This right here is going to my dad because he deserves it. Bernard Hopkins said it best: ‘You’ve got to earn it.’, and my dad earned this ring,” Mayweather said during the ceremony.
“I want to say thank you to everybody for your support. I want to tell all the fighters—thank you, you guys are remarkable. There wouldn’t be no me without you guys,” he voiced his gratitude.
The pandemic forced the postponement of the previous two induction ceremonies, which meant that 2022 had to accommodate 36 honorees from 2020 and 2021 as well. The ceremony was moved from the Hall of Fame’s home in Canastota, New York, to Turning Stone Resort and Casino in nearby Verona as it would be more crowded than the previous ones.
Roy Jones Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, James Toney, and female champions Regina Halmich and Holly Holm were part of this year’s class. The Class of 2020 included multi-division champions Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Shane Mosley. The Class of 2021 included Mayweather, Andre Ward, and Wladimir Klitschk.
Also, among those honored were the first female fighters, who started their careers during the 90s. Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Lucia Rijker, Regina Halmich, and Holly Holm were inducted on this night.
Laila Ali, who started her career against the advice of her father and retired undefeated in 24 fights, talked about her first steps in the sport during the ceremony.
“He told me not to do it. I had to earn his respect in the ring,” she said.
Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was also inducted, but he could not be at the ceremony because he was in Ukraine helping his brother and the city of Kyiv, during the ongoing war against invading Russia.
Klitschko, who was a heavyweight champion for 12 years and 2 days, longer than anyone in history, released two short videos on social media to acknowledge the honor.
“Thank you fans. I never ever dreamed of getting that far in the sport. Amazing,” Klitschko said. “Boxing just made me a better person, period. It taught me a lot.”
Klitschko also took this opportunity to criticize fellow inductee Jones for traveling to Russian-occupied Crimea.
“So, Roy, whose side are you on? ” Klitschko said. “I really respect you as a fighter, but I really question your moral compass.”