Floyd Mayweather will continue his exhibition boxing career this weekend when he takes to the ring to face John Gotti III. But, unlike his other exhibitions, all eyes will be on his opponent given the MMA star’s intriguing background.
Gotti III, who grew up idolising Mayweather, forged a career in MMA – beating Johnny Adams via submission on his professional debut in 2017 before going on to take part in five more fights and try his luck in boxing.
However, fans will be more interested in Gotti III’s background than his accolades in the ring.
The 31-year-old is known for being the grandson of John Gotti, one of the most notorious American gangsters of all time and boss of the Gambino crime family in New York.
As a result, Saturday night’s bout has been given a tagline of ‘Last names matter’. Here, Mail Sport takes a deep dive into the Gotti family history ahead of the contest.
All eyes will be on John Gotti, the 31-year-old former MMA star (above) given his intriguing background
He is the grandson of mafia crime boss and gangster John Gotti, the head of the Gambino crim family
Floyd Mayweather will continue is exhibition boxing career this weekend against John Gotti III
Who is John Gotti the gangster?
Gotti III’s grandfather was a mob boss known as ‘the Dapper Don’ for his custom-made suits and slicked back hair.
John Gotti managed a ruthless criminal enterprise with more than 200 ‘made’ members and thousands of associates. He was known for ordering brutal hits on his enemies, sometimes doing the dirty work himself.
Gotti ordered and helped orchestrate the murder of then Gambino boss Paul Castellano in December 1985 and took over the family shortly after. As a result, he became the most important part of the most powerful crime syndicate.
Having twice been convicted, first for hijacking and then attempted manslaughter, Gotti was arrested in 1992 and charged with racketeering, murder, illegal gambling, loan sharking, bribery, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion. As a result, he spent the rest of his life in prison.
The FBI said of his final conviction: ‘This time, the judge ordered that the jurors remain anonymous, identified only by number, so no one could pressure them. And the case was airtight.’
James Fox, then the head of the New York office famously remarked, “The don is covered with Velcro, and every charge stuck.”
Gotti’s son, Jnr, released a self-published memoir called Shadow of My Father in 2015. The book outlined his father’s criminal activities and the circumstances surrounding his death.
In the book Gotti Jnr said his father was a genius, with an IQ of 140. He described how Gotti rose up from the streets of Queens, New York to become a Mafia kingpin.
John Gotti was known as the Dapper Don for his custom-made suits and slicked down hair
Gotti was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of murder among other charges
Gotti Jnr also revealed how his father would leave his humble Howard Beach home in the morning to blow a fat stack of money equalling $10,000 on the rummy card game Continental at his beloved Bergin Hunt and Fish Club.
Gotti would then end the night at the chi chi disco club Regine’s, downing bottles of Cristal champagne and thumbing his nose at the police – according to his son’s memoir.
The American gangster became extremely wealthy during his time as the mafia boss. According to reports, Gotti handed himself an annual income of around $5m during his years as the boss, with some sources stating it was more likely between $10m and $12 million.
Gotti Jnr says that his father’s life sentence became a death sentence due to medical neglect by prison authorities. He claims the water supply that fed the US prison in Marion, Illinois, where his father was incarcerated was laced with cancer-causing PCBs drawn from nearby Carb Orchard Lake.
He said that everyone but prisoners were warned not to drink the water. As a result, he believe the contaminated water caused his father’s head, neck and throat cancer.
Gotti subsequently died in prison after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002.
Who played John Gotti in a film about his life?
Famous Hollywood actor, John Travolta, played John Gotti in a film about the gangster’s life.
The 2018 film, entitled ‘Gotti’, featured Travolta’s real-life wife Kelly Preston as Gotti’s wife Victoria and daughter Ella Bleu as Gotti’s daughter Angel Gotti. Stacey Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince and William DeMeo were also included in the film.
At the time of filming, Travolta was pictured having a meal with John Angelo Gotti – who was a former mobster – and the son of one of New York’s most feared gangsters.
Travolta met with Gotti Jnr hoping to seek his approval to play the King of New York. Thankfully for the star, he was given the family’s utmost blessing and went on to film the movie.
It was not Travolta’s first time commandeering a high-profile role based on a real person, as in 2016, he portrayed Robert Shapiro in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Famous Hollywood actor, John Travolta, played John Gotti in a film about the gangster’s life
Who is John Gotti III?
Gotti III is a 31-year-old MMA fighter who will be Mayweather’s next exhibition opponent. The tagline for the June 11 event is ‘Last Names Matter.’
But he comes into the bout at FLA Live Arena as being famous for his family rather than his own exploits.
Speaking about the stigma associated with his name, Gotti told UFC: ‘My name is my name, but, slowly but surely, even now, I’m starting to pave my own way, so to speak. I’m not looking to run from it. I embrace it.
‘I fight for my name and the legacy of my name, so I’m just trying to be positive for myself and the future generations of my family.’
Gotti also revealed his plans to return to MMA after he fights Mayweather. He said: ‘I have some experience under my belt with two fights against some tough opponents, and here we are.
‘I am focused and we will just see where this takes me. But I am definitely going to go back to MMA because my last fight was a loss against somebody I had no business losing to, and that doesn’t sit well with me.’
He will be be facing Mayweather (centre) – who retired from professional boxing in 2017
What is John Gotti III’s MMA record like?
Gotti III made his professional MMA debut in 2017 after taking part in six amateur bouts. During his first professional fight, Gotti III beat Johnny Adams via submission at 3:50 of the first round.
Gotti III went on to beat Eddie Haws via KO/TKO at 0:32 of round one in his second professional bout before seeing off Josh Zuckerman at the Twin River Casino in 2018.
The 31-year-old also faced David Espino, Marcos Lloreda and Nick Alley – suffering the first loss of his professional career to Alley via decision.
Gotti III turned his attention to boxing soon after. He took to the ring to face Tulley in 2022 – winning the fight via unanimous decision. Gotti III then went on to face Citrowske – beating the American via KO in 2023.