Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao have each received accolades as the best boxer, pound-for-pound, ever to step into a ring. Each has racked up numerous titles and earned acclaim from fans and critics. And both have chosen to give back to others in numerous meaningful ways that have resulted in well-deserved praise for their generosity of spirit.
Pacquiao and Mayweather notably met in the ring in Las Vegas in 2015 for the $300 million “Fight of the Century.” The event took six years just to negotiate. Mayweather beat Pacquiao and earned three simultaneous world welterweight titles. In 2022, there was even talk of a rematch, although the seriousness of that deal has yet to be confirmed.
“Money” Mayweather gives back with honor
He’s gone by monikers from “Pretty Boy” to “Money” over the course of his career, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., has always wanted you to think he’s tough. But the Olympic medalist and multiple weight-class title-holder has shown a deep spirit of giving through his actions.
In 2020, Mayweather captured headlines for his generosity in paying for funeral services for George Floyd, murdered due to being held for almost nine minutes beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Mayweather reportedly paid more than $88,000 to fund several services in memory of Floyd: one in Minneapolis, one in Floyd’s hometown of Houston, one in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an additional service.
In a group chat, Mayweather learned that the CEO of his music label, Anzel Jennings, had grown up with George Floyd in Houston. The boxer reached out through Jennings to Floyd’s family, who accepted the offer to cover funeral costs.
This wasn’t the first time Mayweather offered such thoughtful, practical help to a grieving family.
In 1998, the 21-year-old Mayweather won his first-ever world championship title when he defeated 32-year-old Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez. The fight put Mayweather’s star on the rise, even as the sun was setting on Hernandez’ career.
In the entire 14-year span when he’d been active in the ring, Hernandez had only lost one other fight, that one against Oscar De La Hoya.
After the defeat that put Mayweather on the map, Hernandez retired, only to be diagnosed with cancer. When he died of the disease in 2011 at age 45, Mayweather quietly offered to pay for the funeral to relieve some of the burden on Hernandez’ family.
Hernandez is said to have been Mayweather’s childhood idol. As a teen, Mayweather had a poster of Hernandez over his bed, and remembers saying to himself then that “nobody will beat that guy.”
Later in 2011, Mayweather offered to pay for funeral services for Joe Frazier, the legendary heavyweight who became the first to defeat Muhammad Ali, and who reigned as heavyweight world champion from 1970 to 1973.
Mayweather Foundation fights for young people and communities
Mayweather boxed in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta and famously left with a bronze medal after a highly questionable judging decision kept the gold out of his reach. In addition to Pacquiao and Hernandez, he defeated De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto. Thanks to this storied career, Mayweather became the first recorded billionaire boxer, and retired officially undefeated 50-0 in 2017.
In 2009, Mayweather established his own charitable foundation. Today, the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation continues its work devoted to youth education, community health services, and economic opportunity. Fight for Your Education, one of the flagship projects of the foundation, works to improve Las Vegas-area primary education programs. The foundation also supports youth summer camps and a free boxing and mentoring program for young people.
“Pac-Man” Pacquiao donates a third of his earnings
Manny Pacquiao, born in 1978 in the Philippines, started out as a teenage stowaway on a boat to the capital of Manila, hoping to become a boxer and lift his family out of poverty. He would go on to earn more boxing titles across more weight classes than anyone else in the history of the sport.
“Pac-Man” also became an icon of charisma and success for people back home in the Philippines, earning TV, movie, and commercial deals there and in the U.S.
Pacquiao debuted professionally in 1995, at only 16 years old. His youthful grin and lightning-fast moves won him numerous fans. He took on an increasing number of celebrity-status fights, earning plaudits from sportswriters and publications. In 2008, he bested De La Hoya in a welterweight contest that sold some 1.25 million buys and took in about $70 million in pay-per-view earnings.
In 2009, he took Miguel Cotto’s WBO welterweight title, but after a 15-fight winning streak, lost it in 2012. Pacquiao retired in 2021—with 62 wins, eight losses, and two draws—after a loss to Cuban fighter Yordenis Ugás.
Pacquiao has also served in the legislature of the Philippines, championing laws against human trafficking and in favor of an increased minimum wage.
As a fighter, Pacquiao donated one-third of his earnings to charity, paying for hospitals, student scholarships, disaster relief, and aid to poor farm families in his home province.
Pacquiao Foundation rebuilds lives
And today, the Manny Pacquiao Foundation concentrates on community-building work, supporting victims of trafficking, donating medical gear to help combat COVID-19, and constructing hundreds of homes for people in need.
Pacquiao’s generosity became so legendary that fellow boxing icon “Sugar Ray” Leonard once cautioned him to be careful he didn’t himself end up with nothing. But, after saying that Pacquiao would likely give half his take from the 2015 bout with Mayweather to charity, his promoter noted, “That is just Manny.”
Now if these two giants of giving would just agree to meet again in the ring.