The retired American boxer was emotional as he collected the accolade, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious honours a boxer can receive. He had to be comforted by Laila Ali, the daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who was also a top fighter in her own right.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Floyd said as he started his acceptance speech. “I told myself I wouldn’t cry, but this is something beautiful. This is one of the best days of my life.”
“To all these champions up here,” he said, turning to other inductees around him. “All these champions to me … they molded me to be who I am today.
“The champions from the past, I could name so many fighters, the list goes on and on. I’m so proud of these fighters. I’m not even here to talk about me, because without them, there would be no me.
“I’m happy that Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley are in the Hall of Fame. All of these legends. Bernard Hopkins and James Toney. The list goes on. Andre Ward, Laila Ali. I’m so proud of you guys.
“This isn’t just about Floyd Mayweather,” he said.
“I love my dad because if it weren’t for him, this wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
“And I said to myself, I told myself over and over, ‘When I get up here, I’m not going to cry. I’ll give a great speech, and say how proud I am of my mother, my father, my family.’
“You guys always see my dad — the best trainer. They’ll never be another trainer like my dad.
“They call [boxing] the ‘Sweet Science,’ so what my dad said, ‘You know what, son? The less punches you take, the longer you’ll be able to last in the sport of boxing.’
“I said, ‘I’ll take less punches, retire on my own terms, and make smart investments so I can live a comfortable life long after retirement’.”
Mayweather continued: “Boxing is blood, sweat, and tears. Shit, I cry on a great day like this? These are tears of joy.
“My body of work is amazing. To fight guys like Shane, Manny Pacquiao, these guys are amazing, unbelievable, great champions — I love all these guys.”
The fighter then commented on what motivated him in sport. “When they say I can’t do something, that make me work that much harder. I push myself and push myself and push myself to be the best.”
The former five-weight world champion retired from pro boxing in 2017 after beating the UFC star Conor McGregor in the 10th round of a landmark, crossover bout.
Mayweather is regarded as one of the most successful boxers in history after he retired with an unbeaten record (50-0), which saw him hold titles from super featherweight to light-middleweight across his career.