AS world champion, Mayweather became an attraction. So much so, that HBO were prepared to offer the 23-year-old a $12.5m deal for six fights. Floyd, nurturing his raging ego, dismissed the offer as a ‘slave contract’ and angered many veteran boxing writers in the process. Boxing News were less than complimentary following a March 2000 win over Gregorio Vargas [above], observing the fighter was not improving, and commented on him wearing a $300,000 watch “as if he’s the Sultan of Brunei”.

Even so, Mayweather was an exceptional talent that was illustrated by his (perhaps career-best) performance against Diego Corrales, regarded by many as the best super-featherweight in the world.

Mayweather dominated, decking his rival several times before the massacre was curtailed in the 10th round. Floyd, now 25-0, said afterwards: “I’m still young, I’m still learning. By beating the best you become the best.”

Mayweather signed a $15m deal with HBO and after the Corrales shellacking, few could dispute he deserved it.