feature Friday, 16 August 2013

Ashley Theophane delivers fascinating insight into life inside the Floyd Mayweather Gym

The British welterweight's Las Vegas diaries explain exactly what it's like to train with Floyd Mayweather

Monday July 22 2013

I'd like to say a big thank you to Boxing News for publishing my Las Vegas diary.

I've had a great four months here in America; I’ve done a two week sparring stint in New York with former world champion Luis Collazo, who was dethroned by Britain's own Ricky Hatton. 

I was offered unsolicited promotional deal from a New York consortium which would have seen me fight on Golden Boy cards at the Barclay's Centre in Brooklyn, New York. It was a great deal and a great opportunity, but it just came at the wrong time. I’m focused on getting back to the Floyd Mayweather gym in Las Vegas.

Floyd Mayweather has been back a week, and I had the massive pleasure of sparring him on his second day in the gym. After months of sparring quality fighters like Shawn Porter, Vernon Paris, Celestino Caballero and Mickey Bey. I was eventually rewarded with a session with one of the greatest fighters ever, and the current number one boxer in the world. He is extremely sharp, smart and strong. I even got to wear a set of his gloves for the session.

World champion, Ishe Smith started back training after his injury the injury he sustained whilst getting ready for his first title defence, which was due for July 19.

I was at the gym for eight hours, which is not unusual, as I worked out at 1pm, watched Floyd work out, and then watched Ishe. Up close learning from two world champions is something I will never take for granted.

Tuesday July 23

Floyd is putting in an order for Mayweather Promotions tracksuits for the team and I am lucky enough to be getting one, along with some ‘Money’ team t shirts.

I'm hoping I get to spar Floyd again this week. There are around seven sparring partners at the moment, so there will be some cuts and injuries happening before long. I'm a 140lb fighter, and the smallest out of the group. The others are weighing in at around the 160s to 170lb mark, and I'm around 150lbs. So that goes against me, but we'll see how the week progresses.

Today it was announced that my former opponent, Delvin Rodriguez, who I beat three years ago, is fighting Miguel Cotto.

I'm always happy when my former opponents go on to do well, as it reflects well on me.

Danny Garcia is fighting Lucas Matthysse on Floyd’s undercard. DeMarcus Corley who I beat just after he lost to Devon Alexander in 2008 for the WBC number one spot, went on to knock out Paul McCloskey and beat WBC number 16 Gabriel Bracerco, last year.

Wednesday July 24

It’s yet another beautiful day here in Las Vegas. The sun is shining and it is another day of positivity.

I completed a four-mile run, followed by an hour strength and conditioning workout at the 24-hour fitness centre. I had a couple of hours rest, then ate and headed off to the boxing gym. I completed my 90-minute workout, which consisted of 22 rounds of skipping, shadow boxing, speed bag drills, pad work with my coach Nate Jones and heavy bag work. I finished up with one thousand abdominal and back crunches.

I ate a high5 sports bar and a carbohydrate drink to try and restore my energy levels. As a Floyd Mayweather sparring partner, you never know if or when you are sparring Floyd. As you prepare and get your sparring gear on and you then get told if it’s going to be you as he gets ready to go into the ring - so you need to stay ready. Right now there are seven of us, so you need to stay completely focused and primed for action. 

The sparring partners, who don't get picked straight away, normally hit the bag for twenty minutes. That's not good enough for me, so I tend to prefer a workout beforehand, and rest for an hour to recover and if I spar Floyd I know I'll be okay.

Floyd put in a master performance today. He sparred a fighter who had just been in camp with Keith Thurman and Andre Berto. He was supposed to have done really well against Keith.

Floyd is not Keith! There's Floyd Mayweather, then and only then, there's other fighters. Watching Floyd at close quarters five days a week is such a great experience.

I can see why he is the best. It isn't by luck or by chance. He works extremely hard.

Afterwards Floyd did a range of interviews with different pay-per-view channels promoting the fight. Listening to him talk, he never forgets to praise his team which includes Al Haymon, Leonard Ellerbe, his father and his uncle, Roger Mayweather. As he always says “family first”.

Floyd Mayweather is a real rock star. I see at close hand the amount of cameras that follow him around and the amount of fans that come to the gym in hope of seeing him.

After training I hung out with Ishe Smith for a bit, and had some words with Leonard Ellerbe.

When you surround yourself with positive people, positive things happen.

Thursday July 25

Completed my Thursday morning routine which consists of an hour of yoga and an hour of strength and conditioning at the 24-hour fitness centre on Decatur and Tropicana. Finished up with a four-mile run around the streets of Las Vegas.

I did my normal workout minus the pad work with Nate. I was feeling tired after my morning session and wanted to save energy in case I got the call to spar Floyd.

Floyd didn't spar today. Instead he did his normal boxing workout, which was streamed onto the web. Afterwards he came into the locker room. He told me “you can fight. We going to work again. I'm just getting in shape”. For someone just getting in shape, he looks razor sharp. Being around someone with such a great work ethic can only motivate you to push yourself more.

Friday July 26

Floyd put in a blistering performance in sparring today. One of his sparring partners only made it through one round, as Floyd busted his nose. Blood was everywhere!

Stepping in the ring with Floyd is like ‘death row’ for most of his sparring partners. It is a rather strange pleasure to watch. The man has it all.

The second sparring partner tried hard, as they all do, but Floyd punished him. Sweat and blood flew from his face. He shouted at Floyd “I have heart”. Floyd answered back with heart stopping combinations and told him “heart alone doesn't win championships, skill does”.

It was a good day in the gym. Afterwards I went down to an amateur tournament with some of the Money team fighters to watch some amateurs from Mayweather Boxing Club box.

The Money Team where partying for Doralie's birthday at the Gallery night club. I had to be up for 4:30am to hit the mountains with world champ Ishe Smith, so we gave that a miss. There's a time to work and a time to play. It's work time right now for us.

Saturday July 27

I didn't get home until close to midnight as I was at the mall with JLeon and Luis doing a spot of shopping, but by 4:45am I was up for the 6am start at Mount Charleston. Whoever you are, if you are not there at 6am Eddie Mustafa Muhammad will leave you. 

Everyone knows their role by now. I always come first and they can run or walk at their own pace. Believe you me it is real hard no matter what pace you go at. 9000 feet above sea level. The air is thin and it is as much a mental challenge as it is physical running up there. On the plus side, there is some beautiful scenery during the painful experience. Nature at its finest!

Normally I would go to sleep afterwards, but I did my laundry then headed to Mayweather Boxing Club for an hour's workout on the heavy bags.

Whilst there I received a call about a potential fight in Las Vegas. My 40th fight could be my greatest yet.

Sunday July 28

I was awoken by a loud bang on my door this morning from Todd, who assists me with my training. It sounded like the police were at my door which was confusing to me at 7am on Sunday in Las Vegas, with me being a sportsman.

We headed down to the local track where we met Nate. It was a lung busting session. I didn't know what to expect, but it was hard with a capital ‘H’. 20 laps of the track. Sprint one lap and jog the next for recovery.

I had to push myself but with most top athletes, you have to be self-motivated and drive yourself to the top. Your team can only do so much for you.

I had three hours rest before world champ Ishe Smith came to collect me to go Bikram yoga. Everyone knows I do yoga, so he wanted to see how good I really was. Anyone who does Bikram knows how hard it is. It was my first time trying this type of yoga. It was ninety minutes. From start to finish I was dripping of sweat.

We went for a healthy smoothie at a Vegan store near by afterwards.

It’s been an intensive week of training, but one that has been full of quality at all levels; working with Nate, watching Floyd Mayweather and just being around the Money team.

Life is what you make it!

Author : Ashley Theophane


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