Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s problem was how to force his way against the grain of history into big- time celebrity in an era when being the best boxer in the world no longer automatically qualified him for the A- list. My problem was how to write a magazine profile about a subject who was not inclined to give me anything worth writing about. The two problems and their potential solutions were intimately connected, and together they open up a useful perspective on the larger histories of celebrity and journalism.

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