Roger Mayweather, a former two-division champion and uncle and trainer to Floyd Mayweather Jr., died Tuesday after battling declining health for years and several known medical issues, including a long battle with diabetes. He was 58.
Mayweather compiled a professional record of 59 wins, 25 of those victories via knockout, and also had 13 losses in a career that spanned from 1981 through 1999 before he moved on as a full-time trainer to his nephew.
“My uncle was one of the most important people in my life inside and outside of the ring,” Floyd said. “Roger was a great champion and one of the best trainers in boxing. Unfortunately, his health was failing him for several years and now he can finally rest in peace. Roger meant the world to me, my father Floyd Sr., my uncle Jeff, our whole family, everyone in and around the Mayweather Boxing Gym and the entire boxing world. It is a terrible loss for all of us.”
Roger Mayweather was born April 24, 1961, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
He first became a champion in 1983 with a technical knockout over Samuel Serrano for the World Boxing Assn. super-featherweight title in Serrano’s home country of Puerto Rico. He defended the title twice before suffering his first loss, in his 18th fight, to Rocky Lockridge in 1984.
In 1985, Mayweather met Julio Cesar Chavez for the World Boxing Council super-featherweight title but was stopped in the second round. He went on to become a champion again in 1987 with a TKO against Rene Arredondo at the Sports Arena to win the WBC super-lightweight title. He defended the belt four times before losing to Chavez in 1989 at the Forum on a 10th-round TKO.
“An opponent in the ring, a great friend, coach and person outside of it. I regret the loss of one of boxing’s greats. I will always have you in my heart,” Chavez said on Twitter.
Mayweather was seemingly a Southern California staple during his heyday, fighting 11 times in Los Angeles. He headlined events at the Olympic Auditorium, Reseda Country Club and Hollywood Palladium.
The self-anointed “Black Mamba” also defeated the likes of former champion Vinny Pazienza, but lost unanimous decisions to Hall of Famers fighters Pernell Whitaker and Kostya Tszyu.
“One day when I was flipping through channels and I came upon this channel showing different reptiles, and they were showing the black mamba,” Mayweather said in 2006. “I loved the way the mamba attacked so quietly, but when he hit you he just hit you one time and the poison was in you. That reminded me of myself right there.”
Roger was the most successful slugger among his siblings. Brother Jeff was 32-10-5 from 1988 to 1997, and Floyd Sr. was 28-6-1 from 1974 to 1990.
When Floyd Sr. was in prison, Roger partly put his career on pause and helped guide Floyd Jr.’s pro career from 1996 to 1998. After Floyd Jr. fired Floyd Sr. as his trainer, Roger resumed duties and directed Floyd Jr. as head trainer in 2000, shaping him into one of the all-time great boxers.
Roger was no stranger to controversy. In 2006, he started a riot in the ring in the middle of a fight when opponent Zab Juddah hit Floyd Jr. with a low blow. He was banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a year and fined $200,000. In 2009, he was arrested on charges of coercion with force and battery strangulation on Melissa St. Vil, a female boxer he trained.
Floyd Jr. finished 50-0, but toward the end, he reunited with his father, just as Roger’s health was beginning to fail.
In 2015, Floyd Jr. blamed boxing for damaging his uncle’s brain.
“My uncle Roger Mayweather has lost a lot of memory from the sport of boxing,” he said. “He’s only in his 50s, but it seems like he’s an old man in his 80s.”
In 2016, Roger went missing less than a mile from Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, but was found a day later.
Floyd Jr., whose uncle’s death comes less than a week after Josie Harris, the mother of three of Floyd Jr.'s children, was found dead just outside Santa Clarita, said he was thankful for all the love and well-wishes he and his family had received following the death of Roger.
“It helps me to see that he was able to touch so many people through [Roger’s] life in boxing, because he gave so much to the sport which was his first and longtime love,” he said.