LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Sr. worked as trainer for his son for the first time in just over 13 years on Saturday night, apparently ending a widely-repoted turbulent relationship.
Their union resulted in a one-sided unanimous decision victory for Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 knockouts) over Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs), ending the loser’s winning streak at 15 bouts, including nine stoppage wins during that run at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I feel good about everything that happened tonight. I feel good about me and my son getting back together. I feel the bond that we had once is mended, and I like that,” said Mayweather Sr.
“I think that it was a great thing for me to come back into my son’s life and to do what we’ve been doing. It’s been quite a while since I did this with my son. But I came back, and you all seen what happened. Floyd is back. The real Floyd.”
It was right around Feb. 14 — Valentines Day — that Mayweather Jr. announced Mayweather Sr. would be working his corner against Guerrero.
Prior to facing Guerrero, Mayweather had been out of the ring for nearly a year to the day since vanquishing Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision on May 5 of last year, dethroning him as WBA junior middleweight beltholder.
“A lot of people thought that the layoff was going to play a major problem. But it didn’t. We stuck to the game plan,” said Mayweather Jr. “As far as the Miguel Cotto fight, I felt like I got hit with shots that I shouldn’t have got hit with, so I had to bring the defensive master back, my father.”
The presence of Floyd Mayweather Sr. in Mayweather Jr.’s corner is the first since a unanimous decision over Gregorio Vargas in March of 2000, and has him supplanting his brother and Mayweather Jr.’s uncle, Roger Mayweather, as the lead trainer.
Mayweather Jr. recalled one of the early training sessions with his father.
“You have to remember, I had been off for a year and I had been incarcerated,” said Mayweather, referring to a two-month jail stint from June 1 through Aug. 3. “I was boxing, and there were gym rats there who had been in there every day. I hadn’t been in there every day.”
Mayweather Sr. said his son was taking punishment from sparring partners.
“He was boxing some big old guys that were about 160 pounds, and he was boxing some other guys, and they were hitting him quite a bit,” said Mayweather Sr.
“So, I gathered then and I started telling him, ‘We ain’t going to take no more punches. We’re not going to do that.’ In two days, my son wasn’t taking no more punches and he started capitalizing, and counter-punching the guys. As we went along, he kept making the guys miss. He kept countering, and he just got better, and better and better. He’s planning on fighting in September.”
Floyd Sr. was in the Floyd Jr.’s corner when he won his first world title with an eighth-round knockout of Genaro Hernandez in October of 1998. The father was reunited with his son earlier that year, after being convicted of illegal drug trafficking in 1993 and serving a stint in jail.
“Once I shook the cobwebs off, my dad said, ‘You know, I’m not worried.’ Camp went great. My dad wasn’t stepping on Roger’s toes, Roger wasn’t stepping on my dad’s toes,” said Mayweather Jr.
“Sometimes they got into bickering back and forth, but we had a great training camp, and everything played out the way that it should have played out.”
The vitriol between father and son reached perhaps its crescendo in August of 2011 during Mayweather Jr.’s preparation for his fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz the following month.
Their heated argument during a training session was detailed on HBO Sports’ 24/7 series, an episode which ended with the unbeaten son and his trainer father ripping each other with harsh, obscenity-laced language, re-igniting a feud that had existed for years but had been seen as resolved until then.
“With any relationship, sometimes you have to grind it out. Our main thing was boxing anyway,” said Mayweather Sr. “I love boxing, he loves boxing, we both love the same thing. So it’s not hard for us to mingle and tango and to be as one like we are as of now.”
MAYWEATHER SR.: ‘MY SON WAS GOING TO STOP GUERRERO’ IF HIS HAND WAS NOT HURT
“I think I hurt my hand midway through the fight. It was the round where I had started to come on strong. My father told me, ‘It’s time for you to walk to him now. You took your time, you kept your composure, you boxed smart, you hit him with some big shots, now, he’s worn down.’ He said, ‘Now, it’s time for you to go for it,’” said Mayweather Jr.
“And then, I started to hit him with those big shots, and I hurt my hand. I came back, and I wasn’t using my hand, I think it was in the 10th round. My dad said, ‘Did your hurt your hand?’ I said, ‘Yeah,’ but I didn’t want to tell him that I had hurt my hand. So we said, ‘You know what? Forget it.’ I kept beating him the best way that I could.”
Mayweather might have stopped Guerrero, said his father, had he not injured his right hand midway through the fight.
“He didn’t have to tell me that his hand was hurt. I know my son. I told him. I said, ‘what’s wrong with your hand? Is the hand alright?’ He said, ‘No, I hurt my hand.’ I had seen that he had hurt his hand. He shook his hand just like that. I knew that his hand was hurt. So I know my kid. I’m going to tell you the honest truth,” said Mayweather Sr.
“I believe that my son was going to stop Guerrero. I had my son to start putting pressure on Guerrero, and he kept hitting him with the good right hand, and I wanted the hook to come behind it. He hit him a couple of times with the left hook in the corner, but my honest opinion is that had my son’s hand not gotten hurt, then I think that my son would have stopped him.”
‘MONEY’ MAYWEATHER CASHES IN YET AGAIN
Mayweather pocketed a purse of $32 million to the $3 million earned for Guerrero, tying the record mark he earned against Cotto.
An online report by Forbes’ Magazine estimates that Mayweather’s exclusive multi-fight venture with Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corporation, could be worth a guaranteed $250,000 million to Mayweather, who made his first-ever appearance on Showtime Pay Per View.
According to Forbes, Mayweather netted a total of $45 million against Cotto. In July, Mayweather was named the highest-paid American athlete for 2012, topping Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 ahead of golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at Nos. 2 and 3.
Nicknamed “Money,” Mayweather made $85 million for his last two fights, comprised of his fourth-round knockout victory in September of 2011 that dethroned Victor Ortiz as WBC welterweight belholder, and his triumph over Cotto.
Last June, Mayweather topped Forbes’ list of its 100 highest paid athletes internationally, trumping second-place boxing rival Manny Pacquiao with $62 million from earnings and endorsements.
Mayweather holds the all-time record of pay-per-view buys with more than 2.5 million for his victory over current Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya in May of 2007, dethroning De La Hoya by ther’s split-decision for the WBC’s junior middleweight belt.
MAYWEATHER’S LEGACY TO BE DEFINED BY OPPOSITION
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has earned eight belts over the course of five different weight divisions, topping out with victories over Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya at 154 pounds.
Mayweather Jr. has decisioned Guerrero, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Jose Luis Castillo, Carlos Baldomir and DeMarcus Corley, and knocked out Hernandez, Ricky Hatton, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti and Sharmba Mitchell.
“I’m going to tell you this right here, about the boxing game,” said Mayweather Sr., who was stopped in the 10th-round by Leonard in September of 1978.
“There were much better fighters back when Sugar Ray Robinson was coming along. It was much better fighters when Joe Louis was coming along. But that’s not my son’s fault. My son has beaten who is here today, and if they can’t protect themselves, oh well.”
“I take my hat off to Sugar Ray Leonard and all those other fighters who paved the way for me to be where I am at today,” said Mayweather Jr.
“I’m not here to match myself against them because…I’m not in their era. But I respect them. I take my hat off to them. But I’m in my era, and I just do what I do.”
MAYWEATHER-PROMOTED FIGHTERS GO 5-0
In addition to Mayweather, all five of the undercard fighters who are promoted by Mayweather Promotions were victorious, three of them by stoppage.
In a super middleweight bout, Lanell Bellows (4-0-1, 4 KOs) scored a fourth-round knockout over Matthew Garretson (2-1, 1 KO), then, light heavyweight Badou Jack (14-0, 10 KOs) earned a third-round TKO over Michael Gbenga (13-8, 13 KOs).
In yet another super middleweight matchup, Luis Arias (5-0, 3 KOs) ground out a six-round majority decision over DonYil Livingston (8-3-1, 4 KOs) and, super middleweight Ronald Gavril (4-0, 3 KOs) scored his second consecutive knockout victory, doing so in the third round against Roberto Yong (5-7-2, 4 KOs).
“There were some good fights tonight. Badou Jack looked superb. J’Leon Love, it was a tough fight. He got knocked down, but I think he won the early rounds. We’re going to tighten his defense up a little bit better, but that’s what we want. I want my fighters to be tested early on, so when they face the guys like Robert Guerrero, they’ll be able to deal with the pressure,” said Mayweather.
“It was a great turnout. My team did a tremendous job. I tell my fighters, day-in and day-out. They train, but they watch me. I say, ‘if you want to get to my level, or if you want to surpass me, then you have to study me and you’ve got to watch me.’ It wasn’t bragging or boasting, but that’s all that I did. I studied all of the legendary fighters. You could name all the legendary fighters. I studied every fighter to get to this level.”
MAYWEATHER TO FIGHT ON SEPT. 14
Mayweather said he still plans to return to the ring on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand, and expects that his swollen right hand will have healed by then. A possibility, Mayweather acknowledged, is RING and WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“I’ve got plans on fighting in September. Yes, I’ll be back in September. That’s the plan. I took a couple of shots. Wild shots inside, but that comes with the territory. My dad said, ‘I tell you what’s going to get him: The right hand. The jab’s going to work, but the right hand is going to get him.’ Right hands all day,” said Mayweather Jr.
“So all I did was execute the plan that was delivered to me. I just came off of a solid victory tonight, and I’m closer to 40 than I am to 21, so I feel like I’m in a position to take some time off, talk it over with Al Haymon, talk it over with my father, and the rest of my team and see what I can come up with. He’s a young guy, and Floyd Mayweather’s not going to duck or dodge anyone. I’m not in a rush. Canelo Alvarez is a helluva fighter.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com