by Ricardo Aguirre
World class trainer, Jeff Mayweather, is currently preparing his fighter, Celestino Caballero for his world title match against Mikey Garcia. Jeff took some time to talk with The Boxing Tribune about a wide array of topics, from the famous Mayweather name to his current charge, Caballero. And, of course, he addresses why the “big” Manny vs. Floyd bout hasn’t happened yet.
Boxing Tribune : Jeff, many people are not aware that you attended college. Could you please tell us about the challenges you faced as a college student and a professional boxer?
Jeff Mayweather: Well, college to be honest was very easy for me. I’m the type of person that if I apply myself I can excel and conquer whatever is put in front of me. It was a very rewarding experience and I am very proud of my accomplishment . I was an art student and majored in graphic design. I actually graduated from college even before I became a professional fighter. It was very challenging my senior year because I fought in the Golden Gloves Nationals and was studying for my final exams prior to graduation. So I had to study every chance I got when I was down there when everyone else was hanging out having fun, especially after they lost I was confined to my room because I had a college degree awaiting me long as I was able to pass my finals. I graduated from Western Michigan University and received an award from Inter Collegiate Black Student Caucus as Student of the Year
BT: Jeff your family has so far produced three world champions. What is it about your family that makes them so successful in the ring and as trainers?
JM: Well, I guess we have just been very blessed. Roger and Floyd Jr. and even Floyd Sr. loved boxing with the deepest passion. For me, boxing was more of a hobby and something I became a part of solely because I wanted to hang out with my brother Roger. I guess I was just a good athlete and like I said I excelled in everything I’ve done. Boxing was option number two when it came to sports. I was a pretty good basketball player when I was in college and in high school. That was my first love, but I realized at 5″8 you have to be better than good, you have to be spectacular and, obviously, I wasn’t, so I became a professional boxer. As trainers, I think the reason we have been successful is because we all are students of the game in every aspect first as fighters. Our style of training is very fast paced with a high punch output and we teach defense, which is really a lost art with most trainers, or they just don’t know the mechanics of how to teach it. As a family, we have made boxing history, something that will be very hard to surpass. We were the only three brothers in the sport of boxing to simultaneously have a world champion at the same time, myself with Sultan Ibragimov, Roger had Floyd Jr., Floyd Sr. had Chad Dawson. And I have also came out of the other corner against both of my brothers against their fighter. Last but not least, all three of us fought Olympic Gold Medalists. I fought Oscar De La Hoya, Roger fought Pernell Whittaker, and Floyd Sr. fought Sugar Ray Leonard. Unfortunately, we all came up short.
BT: When the Floyd Mayweather movie gets made, who do you think should play Roger, Floyd Sr., Floyd Jr., and yourself?
JM: Well, to be honest, if that happened the only person that I think looks a little like myself is Derrick Luke. For everyone else I would have to give that some serious thought.
BT: Why do you think the fight between Caballero and Juan Manuel Lopez was never made?
JM: I think the reason the fight was never made was because Juanma never wanted to fight Caballero. [I they had fought], all the hype and build up it took to make him a star, never would have happened. Celestino called him out for years, so if he wanted the fight or his promoters wanted the fight it would have happened, but sometimes the promoters know what’s best and have an entire different plan of proving you’re the best, but putting you in a position to make people believe that you are.
BT: What did you work on in camp to prepare for the fight with Mikey Garcia? What should we expect to see in this fight?
JM: To be honest, at this point, we are just focusing on getting in shape. Lots of strength conditioning to be very strong for the fight and to make sure his legs are very strong for this fight. All Celestino has to do is be himself on fight night and he will emerge victorious. Garcia is a very good fighter, but his style is tailor made for Celestino to look great against him and he’s extremely focused because he knows Garcia is a threat if he’s not, but a focused Celestino beats him convincingly
BT: If you could work with any other fighter as a trainer who would you work with and why would you want to work with him?
JM: Vitali [Klitschko] because I love working with heavyweights and I also love working with tall fighters and he’s a very solid one in all areas: good skills, great power, and knows how to use his height and will reign for a very long time. I can add to him, but he already has what’s needed to dominate the division until he decides to retire. The only guy that even remotely has a chance against either brother is [Robert] Helenius.
BT: Do you believe that Floyd has anything left to prove in boxing?
JM: No he doesn’t and he can walk away from boxing and it will be debated forever if he is or isn’t the greatest fighter to ever grace the ring. He beat everyone that was put in front of him, never fought at a catch-weight, and he can’t make Manny fight him. He’s already put the challenge out there he (Manny) said no more than once or maybe his promoter said no, but it’s not Floyd’s fault the fight never happened. No one in boxing has reigned 16 years without a defeat barely losing maybe a total of 10 rounds in all your fights combined fought against all the guys who were supposed to be threats to him at all the weights he campaigned at. In truth, he should actually be an 8-time World Champion, legitimately as no catch weights were ever involved because he chose not to pay the sanctioning fee for the belt when he fought Shane Mosley. His legacy is well intact and he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone! He won’t be appreciated right away, but 10 years from now people will realize how great and amazing his accomplishments are.
BT: In your opinion, how reliable is the information coming out of Manny Pacquiao’s camp and Top Rank regarding the failed negotiations to make the mega fight? What went wrong? What needs to happen in order for that fight to be made?
JM: Well, there is lots of talk going around and everyone can put there own spin on it as to why it didn’t happen. You will never get the real or completely true story. I think the biggest hurdle could be Bob Arum because Bob has a lot of animosity towards Floyd and Floyd doesn’t care for him either. With that being said, that is the biggest reason the fight can’t be made. Floyd wants to make the fight happen by directly paying Manny more money than he ever made, but with Bob in the picture, that can never take place. So maybe when Manny’s contract runs out with Bob, if he doesn’t re-sign, the fight can happen
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