RIO DE JANEIRO – Retired former five division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. dropped in to see the next generation of Olympic boxers in Rio.
The U.S. bronze medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Games stood on a platform at Riocentro Pavilion 6 to watch Saturday evening’s fights, starting with the welterweight quarterfinals. He stuck around through a major heavyweight semifinal and a first-round knockout by Britain super heavyweight Joe Joyce.
“It was good to show him what I can do,” Joyce said.
Mayweather was besieged by a stream of autograph-seekers and photo-takers even with most of the U.S. men’s basketball team, including Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and DeMarcus Cousins, sitting a few rows behind him, but Mayweather kept one eye on the ring.
Mayweather is a boxing promoter of sorts after his retirement, and he could have been scouting talent for his company. Saturday’s card included several pro prospects from around the world, albeit no Americans.
The 39-year-old Mayweather retired last year after a 49-0 career. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) changed its rules this year to allow professionals to fight at the Olympics, but Mayweather had no interest.
Mayweather’s undefeated professional mark has been the topic of much fanfare as he became the most famous boxer in the world. But his Olympics 20 years ago marked the last time he lost a fight, dropping a much-disputed decision before winning bronze.