Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is the world’s best known boxer right now, partly because of his brilliance in the ring but also because of his colourful lifestyle, seemingly endless brushes with the law and equally fascinating family, including trainer Roger Mayweather who is his uncle and his father Floyd Senior.
The brash unbeaten 35-year-old WBC welterweight champion faces Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas on 5 May. Mayweather moves up from 147lbs to 154lbs to challenge Cotto for the WBA Super light-middleweight title.
Money will start favourite, not just because he is the more talented fighter but because he is obsessed with preserving his 42-0 (26 knockouts) record. Cotto is a well respected name but he was dismantled by Manny Pacquiao three years ago in 11 rounds and Mayweather probably wants to do it faster to get a psychological edge over Pacquiao who everyone wants to see him fight eventually.
Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane is the British light-welterweight champion who has just spent two weeks in Mayweather’s gym preparing for his next bout in England. Theophane, London-born of St Lucian parents, gave an insight into his time at the gym. Theophane is 31 and has a decent record of 31 wins, four points losses and one draw. He defends his British title against Steve Williams in Liverpool on 19 May.
Theophane said: My second – and unfortunately – last week at The Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas was truly amazing. In that time I pushed my body through 50 hours of gym and road work. It was both punishing and exciting. I went to bed each night fired up and looking forward to the next day.”
He arrived at the Mayweather gym at around 1pm, completed his workout then watched Money work. “I just couldn’t tear myself away and ended up leaving there after 7pm. They were long days, but worth every minute. Watching Floyd train is inspirational and motivational. I learnt so much just by watching him workout.”
On Monday last week there was a who’s who gathered at the gym, including lightweight world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa who was working out. Former world champions Hasim Rahman, Zab Judah and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad all came to watch Floyd Mayweather spar. 50 Cent was in the building all week, supporting his friend.
Theophane added: “I sparred with five fighters over three days. One of the coaches at the gym said that ‘normally British fighters get bashed up in sparring here’, but I represented. I travel well as my record shows with wins in Saint Lucia, America and Germany.
“Floyd dismantled Omar Henry, who was way out of his league. Then Floyd finished up with another stocky middleweight, Bastie Samir. Floyd sparred for around 30 minutes just stopping for sips of fluid every five minutes. He was sharp, fluent and commanding – a master class.
“Watching Floyd train you could see the desire and hunger in his eyes. He pushed himself hard, with his team shouting ‘hard work and dedication’ as he dug deep. His training sessions were like a friends and family get together. Around 50 people watched him train while music was pumping. The gym has a special aura about it on days that Floyd trains.
Bastie Samir, a strong middleweight earned his sparring partner wages on Tuesday. He stood toe to toe with Mayweather. Watching up close, I knew that Floyd would make Bastie do more rounds as he wanted to break him down. There were times I thought he might knock him out, but Samir showed he has a great chin. Floyd has six sparring partners and makes his choice when he arrives at the gym. It is extremely tough and demanding work, but they are well looked after and it’s the best boxing learning available.
“Roger Mayweather thinks he is second only to the great Sugar Ray Robinson. Watching Floyd work it is clear to me that he is an all-time great, and can only be compared with the very best in history. Floyd has a great commercial team around him, who deal with the business side of things. That along with his massive talent is why he is so marketable.
“Floyd took a day off from sparring, after going three days straight. He started off with some shadow boxing; he then moved on to the pads with Roger Mayweather and followed this with the body bag with Nate Jones. He then went onto the heavy bag, then back into the ring to hit pads and the body bag. He finished up with some strength exercises. To think that his fight is still six weeks away. He is fit enough now to do a 12 round fight, but Floyd is the very best for a reason.
“Floyd shouted out whilst he was in the ring with everyone watching him that he liked my Treasure t-shirt. The man has great taste as well. All the guys at the Mayweather gym have shown me love. I will definitely be back.
“J’Leon Love gave Floyd his best sparring session whilst I was there, and even impressed Roger Mayweather who thought he was the best out of the six. Floyd’s accuracy is amazing. He rarely misses a punch, and his defence is a work of art. As he says, defence wins fights and I couldn’t agree more.
“I spoke to Cornelius Boza Edwards who became a world champion back in the day, when there were some really great fighters about. He fought some legendary fighters including, Alex Arguello, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, Jose Luis Ramirez and Bobby Chacon. He said that he has watched me fight and that ‘my time will come to win a world title’. That meant a lot coming from a man who did what I am doing, but at a higher level.
“Michael Jackson’s father Joe passed by the gym on Wednesday. It was an honour to see him and he still has a swagger about him.
“I had a fabulous time training at Floyd’s gym. The Money team made me feel very welcome and Britain’s Treasure will be back, as they have left the door open for me. It is brilliant an inspiring place.
Every once in a while, you just feel you have been privileged to be in the presence of greatness. The last two weeks at The Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas has given me that privilege.”