Why you should care
Because life can sometimes be a funny thing. And we don’t mean “ha ha” funny.
As told to Andreas Hale
I was 16 when we met in a Las Vegas lounge that I was definitely too young to be in. A girlfriend of mine said that there was a dude with a whole bunch of money who wanted to meet me. I asked if he was a pimp, and she said she didn’t know anything about him. I went over to meet him anyway.
“Hey, how are you doing?” I asked.
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Shaheed.”
I introduced myself, and we talked before he asked for my number. A week later, my phone rang.
“Can I speak to Melissia?”
“Who is this?”
“This is Floyd.”
“I don’t know a Floyd.”
“Where did you go a week ago? Did you meet somebody?”
“What was his name?”
“Oh, OK. That was really me. But I was just seeing if you were paying attention.”
He got me. From that point on, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and I hung out all the time.
It’s a gift and a curse. Whenever I go places, I’m Floyd Mayweather’s baby mama.
I asked him what he was doing in Vegas, and he told me that he was a boxer from Grand Rapids with a 1-0 record. I didn’t think anything of it. But the first time I went to the gym to see him train, I was amazed by what he was doing. I could sit there and watch him hit the pads for hours. I knew then he was going to be a superstar.
He was getting an allowance from Top Rank Promotions, so he’d take me shopping and all kinds of places. Before I met Floyd, I was a tomboy who dressed in oversize clothes and refused to wear heels. After we met, he had me in Versace. I started enjoying fashion, and it would end up being part of my future.
I’m a very independent person, so through all of this I always kept a job. I already had a son who was 8 months old when I met Floyd. I decided to drop out of school when I found out I was pregnant with my son so I could work. I needed money to take care of him, and going to school wasn’t going to get the job done. Floyd also helped out.
I started working as a maid in the Rio Hotel & Casino in 1999 and found out I was pregnant with our daughter, Iyanna. Right before Iyanna was born, Floyd and I stopped talking because of a situation with the mother of his other children, Josie Harris. I worked until I was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and eight weeks after Iyanna was born I went right back to work. I did what I had to do.
And I didn’t want him to feel like he needed to take care of me. He goes in the ring and takes those punches. What do I look like trying to take the money he made by risking his life in the ring? I worked jobs everywhere so I could have my own money while he became the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. I had to find my own way. This made me who I am today, and I’m thankful for that struggle.
But Floyd and I didn’t talk for five years after Iyanna was born. He was always there for his daughter though. I was also in a relationship with someone else. Shortly after that relationship ended, Floyd called. We talked about everything that happened in our five years of not speaking. He apologized for some things he had done and, ever since then, we’ve been co-parenting and have become very close friends.
Whatever we needed, he took care of. He bought me a house and gave me one of his cars. He was the best in the world and beat Oscar De La Hoya to become the biggest star in boxing.
But I didn’t stop working until 2009. That’s when he asked what I wanted to do, and I came up with the idea of a boutique. I had gotten my cosmetology and massage therapy licenses. I thought about opening a salon, but there were so many of them in Vegas already. I was really into fashion and considered opening a boutique. I decided to bring both together as a boutique with a small salon in the back.
Everything that I have done has been for my kids. So I took my son’s and daughter’s names — Devion and Iyanna — combined them and came up with Devanna Love Boutique. A lot went into making the boutique a reality. And even though he helped me starting up my business, I’m the one who runs it every day. I’ve had to learn how to start and maintain a business myself.
When I started appearing on HBO’s 24/7 [in 2008], everything changed and people began recognizing me from television. It’s a gift and a curse. Whenever I go places, I’m Floyd Mayweather’s baby mama. Sure, I don’t have to worry about a lot of things, but it’s a curse because I’m my own person looking to make my own path. I’d love to go places and not be attached to him. I’m Melissia Brim.
Watching him fight is still very stressful though. You don’t want to see anybody you care about get hit, and it’s scary knowing that any hit could be your last. It was so bad for Iyanna when Floyd fought Manny Pacquiao that she had to be taken to the back. Three days before the fight, she broke out in hives from stress. On fight night she told me she wasn’t going to watch. She was literally sick to her stomach. This is what comes with the sport.
As for me, I want to get involved in more business ventures while taking care of my family. Being in boxing was never for me, but it runs in my daughter’s blood. Iyanna may not have to work, but she wants to. Mark my words, she will be the CEO of Mayweather Promotions. She’s learned so much about the boxing business from her father and how to be an independent woman from me that she’s already making plans to take over the company. It’s going to happen, I guarantee it.