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Monday, April 12, 2010

Jeff Mayweather: “Why is Floyd the Bad Guy?”

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Part Two of an Exclusive Two-Part Interview by Ryan Maquiñana

The second half of my conversation with Jeff Mayweather shifts the topic from his new job training pound-for-pound fighter Celestino “El Pelenchín” Caballero to his nephew Floyd’s eventful year, both in and out of the ring. On, we take pride in offering both sides to a story, so after my one-on-one exclusive with Freddie Roach last week, I thought it was only fair to get an opposing opinion regarding the unsuccessful state of negotiations between Floyd and Manny Pacquiao.

* * *

Ryan Maquiñana: Moving on to another topic, you were dead-on in your prediction for Pacquiao-Clottey, when you felt that the Ghanaian would cover up and play it safe all night long. In truth, the man everyone wanted Manny to fight was your nephew, Floyd. Why do you think the fight between them fell through, and do you think they’ll get it made by the end of the year?

Jeff Mayweather: There’s no secret why the fight never happened. Basically you have one guy who agreed to everything, and you have one guy who agreed to everything except one thing. That’s what killed the fight. If you’re not dirty, you step forward and be bold about the situation. You walk up there and prove you did nothing wrong instead of put up 101 smoke screens. [Pacquiao strength coach Alex] Ariza says Manny doesn’t know what he’s taking and that Manny just takes what he gives him, so basically, you’ve put yourself in the position of a scapegoat. Because Manny’s a damn fool if he’s not going to question you giving him something, and he doesn’t know what it is. That’s just common sense. I’m at least going to ask, ‘What am I taking, and why am I taking this?’ Right behind that, he says he’s scared of needles, and he has tattoos everywhere. I guess you must have been drunk when you got those tattoos, because you’re scared of needles. It doesn’t make sense. All this stuff [Team Pacquiao] throws out there doesn’t all add up. Another thing about the testing is that if the other guy is doing the exact same thing you are, that means there’s no advantage. Boxing needs to be cleaned up because it’s just like baseball. I’m not targeting Manny, but I’m talking about him in a sense because everyone wants to point the finger at my nephew like he’s the bad guy. I’ll give you another example: Michael Carbajal was the 108-pound champion when Tommy Hearns was still fighting. Ray Leonard was still fighting. [Wilfred] Benitez was fighting. Donald Curry. Can you see Carbajal beating any one of those guys?

RM: Different fighters in a different era, but I don’t think Michael Carbajal specifically would be able to move up and carry the weight like Manny did.

JM: It has nothing to do with that. I’m asking, can you conceive that because that’s what Manny Pacquiao is doing. The same guy who was knocked out at 106 pounds (Note: Pacquiao was knocked out at 112 pounds). The same guy at 126 pounds whose knockout ratio was 66%. In the Clottey fight, at 147, his knockout ratio, 21 pounds above that, was 100% [before the fight]. Doesn’t that raise a red flag? You don’t see the red flag when you say Manny Pacquiao, but you raise it when I mention Michael Carbajal. But it’s the same. There’s no difference.

RM: What’s your response to Freddie Roach saying that Floyd’s demands for testing aren’t within the rules of the Nevada State Commission, and that they don’t have to agree to those terms because Floyd doesn’t own the sport?

JM: Realistically, they don’t have to agree, but the fight’s not going to happen unless they agree. If you don’t have anything to hide, you step up. Manny goes around and plays the good guy, and my nephew has fingers pointed at him like he’s the bad guy, and yet all of Manny’s demands were met when they said, ‘Floyd, for every pound you’re overweight, it’ll cost you ten million dollars.’ No problem. They said, ‘Floyd, we’re going to use big gloves.’ No problem. But when you say, ‘Manny, we want you take this test.’ Problem? Now all of a sudden, because Manny dropped the lawsuit, which basically didn’t make sense anyway because how are you going to sue someone for having an opinion? Everyone has an opinion. Floyd Sr. isn’t the first person who said that. He might have been the first person to say it out loud because people were scared to say it.

Boxing’s become like baseball, especially with the suspensions. Look at [Antonio] Margarito and his trainer [Javier Capetillo]. Margarito being caught with the wraps was equivalent to what Panama Lewis did with Luis Resto and [Resto] was banned from boxing for life, while Margarito has a return match coming up soon. Margarito was caught red-handed. So it appears as though my attack [on cleaning up the sport] is solely about Manny and it’s not because he hasn’t been busted for anything. Although there are many red flags, it’s far from the same [as Margarito’s situation] when one man has been caught and another one is innocent until proven guilty. But ten years from now, 15 years from now, people may be thanking Floyd because this sport needs to be cleaned up. Manny Pacquiao was the one who said, ‘No. I’m not going to do that. I’ll do the other things, but I won’t do that.’ So why are all the fingers being pointed at Floyd?

RM: What about Freddie’s comments about Floyd’s alleged use of Xylocaine?

JM: I think that to do that for a fight, that’s wrong, too. But that’s how boxers make their living. And that’s not making you better. That’s not a PED. Boxers fight injured all the time, and regarding my nephew, I don’t know. But at the same time, to me, if that’s how I’m supposed to make my living, and boxers’ hands are their tools, they need to be protected. I’m not saying it’s right because if it’s wrong under the rules of the commission, it’s wrong, but for a guy to be on a substance that makes him perform at a level that’s way beyond reality, that’s what should be questioned.

RM: Now the question on everyone’s mind: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao—how would that go?

JM: Manny has a puncher’s chance. That’s because he has hand speed and he has good power. But realistically, I see this fight playing out like the Marquez fight, with a little more give and take. I don’t see him beating Manny that cleanly, but extremely decisive. Every single round.

RM: What do you foresee in the May 1 showdown between Floyd and Shane Mosley?

JM: That’s a fight which I think, early on, will be a competitive fight. But once Floyd figures ‘Sugar Shane’ out after two or three rounds, from there, I mean, it’s going to be a one-sided fight. It’s going to be checkmate, pretty much. One thing about Shane is that he doesn’t have a jab. If you don’t have a jab, how are you going to find Floyd? You’re not going to find Floyd with some big, wide punches. Floyd can see them. Shane’s been pretty much all about the right hand. He’s been using the right hand for a long time. The Cotto fight, the Margarito fight. Everyone was excited because he beat Margarito, but Margarito’s a walking punching bag. The guy don’t move. He can’t get out of the way of nothing. It was Bob Arum who created Margarito anyway. Margarito was so upset about Floyd that they created that myth that he’s the most feared guy in boxing. How are you feared when the only guy you ever beat was [Kermit] Cintron? How can you be the beast, and everyone is scared of you, and then you turn around and lose to Paul Williams? Now all of a sudden, Paul Williams is the most feared guy, and he loses to [Carlos] Quintana? So it’s a situation where all these guys are supposed to beat Floyd Mayweather. That’s what they’re looking for. It’s a situation where either you love Floyd or you hate him, but you got to respect what he does in that ring because he’s a master at it.

RM: I asked Freddie Roach how Manny would fare in fights at 135 against Roberto Duran and Pernell Whitaker. Floyd cleaned house at lightweight during his time there, so how would you see those two fantasy fights playing out against ‘Manos de Piedra’ and ‘Sweet Pea’?

JM: I think that Floyd would probably beat Duran. Leonard beat him at welterweight, but he basically had the blueprint on how to beat him. Floyd always fights that way, so I don’t see Duran having anything except a puncher’s chance against Floyd. Don’t get me wrong; Duran was a great fighter, but he’d have problems with Floyd. Floyd would probably beat him by decision. With Whitaker, it would be a very tough fight, and the only advantage in that is that Floyd is the better puncher. To be honest, Floyd’s hands are faster than Pernell Whitaker’s. The thing about Pernell is that he was a very good body puncher. They’re equal in a lot of aspects. So it’s probably a pick ’em fight, but I’d lean towards Floyd, because he’s a little faster and is the better puncher.

RM: You’ve also been working with Cleveland super featherweight prospect Mickey Bey Jr., who currently sits at 15-0, 8 KOs. Can you tell me about his progress and goals for 2010?

JM: As of right now, I’m not really working with Mickey. He’s in transition because he’s trying to get out of a promotional deal he’s involved with. He’s trying to move on to a different company. Since I’ve been with Celestino, I’ve basically been more focused on that and nothing else really matters right now. I haven’t heard from [Mickey] lately, but he has my number and he can call me to let me know what’s going on.

RM: Last question. As trainers, all three Mayweather brothers (Floyd Sr., Roger, and you) have developed world champions. Who would you say has been your biggest influence in the sport? Was it a family member or someone outside of it?

JM: It would have to be my family, because without my brothers, I don’t think I’d ever be involved in boxing at all, so it would definitely have to be my two older brothers.

RM: What’s the best advice you’ve received in the ring, and something you’d pass down to any future aspiring trainers?

JM: The most important thing is that you have to be yourself at all times with your fighter. You can’t create a ‘Rocky’-type situation. You and your fighter need to have a friendship because, realistically, your fighter is putting his life in your hands. You got to create a bond that goes beyond boxing. In order to be a good and successful trainer, you have to wear many hats. Sometimes you have to be a psychiatrist, and sometimes you have to be a big brother. Sometimes you have to be a mentor, and other times you just have to be his friend. I think about it all the time because I witnessed it firsthand. I was at fights where guys actually died, and that will always stick with me. It makes me realize that my fighters are entrusting me with their lives.

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