FLOYD MAYWEATHER divides opinion. Some find his lavish habits deeply annoying, while others worship his garishness, and are eager for him to fulfil his promise of retiring undefeated. But the American superstar has worked hard to carve out his reputation – particularly when one considers he is rarely in a thrilling fight. The fact he is – year after year – the highest paid athlete in the world speaks volumes for the determination and focus that drives him.

It’s hard to know what truly goes on behind the scenes, or in his head. In 2002, Mayweather was convicted of assaulting the mother of one of his children. Domestic abuse is perhaps the most damning evidence of Mayweather’s dark side. He does not welcome criticism and has, for the most part, created an environment full of worshippers who applaud his every move. It’s tough not to be a little envious of his fortune, and the private jet that transports him distances too vast for his array of sports cars to travel. But those who know him speak of a man who gives millions to charity, and is generous with his time and affection. In June 2011, he paid for the funeral of his former opponent, Genaro Hernandez.

If money is the root of all evil, Mayweather – who last year bet $810,000 on an NFL game (he won) – might be heading for a fall. But those quick to criticise should remember he has been the master of his own destiny from the start, and every last cent earned the hard way.