The Mayweather University: Whiskers, Canelo, and Freeflow

By Michael Schmidt on June 21, 2013
The Mayweather University: Whiskers, Canelo, and Freeflow
Jeff Mayweather, Steve Smoger and Carlos Varela Jr. in Panama Gym (Michael Schmidt)

“But you know you’re the first guy that’s actually mentioned, and it’s true, it’s true, that Floyd’s got a great chin…”

HARD WORK!…Dedication…HARD WORK!…Dedication

He has a graphic design degree from Western Michigan University and along with brothers Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Roger Mayweather, plus of course nephew Floyd Mayweather Jr., the Mayweathers are boxing’s “first family” these days. Jeff Mayweather, while proverbially cut from the same cloth, has his own thread on communication and presentation. Boxing Graphic Design. 

When you meet Jeff Mayweather, the communication and presentation starts in the eyes. Yes, it’s in the eyes. Those eyes, as calm and relaxed as a jazz song drifting down main street block on a summer day easy, announcing what his mouth is not about to say. “Jazzy” Jeff May…

Ringside from Las Vegas to Panama

I am sitting ringside beside Celestino Caballero and Jeff Mayweather. Breidis Prescott, in a round after round of headhunting, is being shutdown and shutout by Terrance Crawford. Hitting Terance Crawford in the head is not happening! Caballero is imploring “Body, Body, Body, Body!”  I point at Celestino’s mid-chest area and simply state, “Target!” Forget the head, forget the lower body, and start with powerful straight jabs and straight right hands aiming for the mid-lower chest. It’s Boxing 101 time and we both look and ask Jeff what he thinks.

If you didn’t know Jeff Mayweather you would think he was daydreaming but he’s not. He’s just calmly and coolly dissecting what is transpiring in the ring and cataloging it for future use. I suggest during a break in the action that we go see someone on the other side of the ring who certainly knows how to hit the body and Jeff smiles as we go off to say hello to WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov. 

Panama a Few Weeks Later

There are 16,000+ ecstatic, yelling and cheering Panamanian fight fans at Roberto Duran Stadium. The arena is perfect for boxing in its teacup shape. There is the proverbial electricity in the air and why not? When “El Nica” Concepcion fights he brings his own version of electricity, left hand, or right hand. Besides that fact, in a stellar fight card with the likes of Kenny Bayless, Steve Smoger, and Vic Drakulich brought in to referee title fights, working their hand to hand hello magic in the crowd are Roberto Duran, “El Chemito” Moreno, Hilario Zapata, and Eusebio Pedroza. 

Two arm lengths beside us facing Jeff Mayweather’s back is 50 Cent.  Along with 50 is his right hand man, security guard, human solar eclipse of the sun or whatever the hell you call this gentleman that is always with him at the fights. The Solar Eclipse of the Sun is yelling “Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, 50 is here behind you.” I am facing 50 and looking right at him. Jeff is not responding. 50’s eyebrow rises up in a kind of “what’s that” look as Jeff isn’t turning around or saying a word. I look at 50 and I point to my ear as if to say “it’s loud in here.” Truth in fact, Jeff has that same thoughtful look as he did in Las Vegas. 50 isn’t moving so apparently he’s not that interested either in coming over to speak to Jeff. I ask Jeff, “All good?” He responds, “Just thinking about the fights.” Enough said! A non-story for not another any other day.

One lesson to be learned if you haven’t learned it yet; This Mayweather boxing family is all business and they work. They work hard. Like them, don’t like them, but you better acknowledge they work and the results speak for themselves. “Just thinking about the fights” is a 24/7 matter for Jeff Mayweather.

Back in Vegas

Jeff and I are talking a few weeks later and trading war stories with respect to visits in Panama. I keep thinking of those eyes. They are such a contradiction to the man that you actually talk to. You see when Jeff Mayweather engages you in conversation those eyes take on a different focus. He is very clear, very concise and very specific. I jokingly tell him that if I was a gambling man (I’m not and my good friend Mr. Harding, he of our long weekend stories, prefers to call it my…more on that another time—CAL: Controlled Analyzed Logic) I would simply pick up the phone and call Jeff Mayweather. I have now talked to him about three specific fights in a row over the last two months and he has pegged them almost dead on. 

There is a YouTube video out of the three brothers, Jeff, Floyd Sr., and Roger, being interviewed. There are some rather funny, comedic questions including one where the three are asked who the best trainer is. Three brothers similar to a gag from that old TV show “What’s My Line” take turns faking getting up and then Jeff stands up and waves his hand. 

Forget all that Showtime action you see, what you are seeing here are three brothers having a good time enjoying themselves and that’s the way it should be and we both joke about the video.

Our conversation goes on, free flow, and Jeff mentions that he keeps a fairly heavy schedule working with anywhere from 10 to18 boxers a day and it all takes place “with everybody under one roof.” That’s the Mayweather roof! That’s a schedule excluding main event fighters that often fly in to Vegas for specific training before a fight. During the week of June, Jeff had a fight every weekend of the month taking him from Southern California to upstate Buffalo, New York. We talk further about mixed martial arts fights as Jeff trains some of the better known mixed martial artists and my conversation strays to one of the best “hands” that I have ever seen on a kick boxer/karate type being the legendary Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. Jeff trains some of the top rated MMA fighters, as well, under the Mayweather “roof” (gym).

We’re in further free flowing fashion on our conversation and Jeff politely lets me lead the way. The way leads as follows:

1.  Mom and Dad: “My dad was never really a full part of my life as he separated from my mom when I was about four. He came back from time to time. I’m not one of those bitter guys and you have to understand that. I enjoyed the time that I did have with him. I have no idea what he did for a living. Mom worked at a hotel. She still lives in Grand Rapids. I don’t get to go back there often because of my schedule. I have to make a living! You gotta work!”

2.  If you haven’t visited the Jeff Mayweather Pro Boxing Insider website you should. It’s a gem.

In fact Jeff has been writing for several years and this expanded into the website including videos, testimonials, boxing instruction, interviews, etc. “It became fun for me,” he said. “The only reason I did it is because I wanted to have a voice. You have too many people and specifically I dislike for someone that has never been in the ring criticizing someone (a fighter) in a fashion, which degrades them (fighter). If you have never been in the ring then you really have no right to degrade anyone. You’ve never been in there, you don’t know what it takes to be there and deal with the situation and the adversity you are confronted with.” 

3.  Best prospect three years forward: “Errol Spence”

4.  The Paul Spadafora “sparring session” with Floyd Jr.: “What you have to understand is that Floyd had not had been working (boxing) really for over a year and walks in the gym. It’s two weeks before a Spadafora title fight so the guy’s primed. Don’t get me wrong he’s a good fighter, but the video was selective. What it doesn’t show is Floyd beating the shit out him for the first three rounds!”                   

Jeff and I joke and trade various stories in terms of these “urban legend sparring sessions”.  They date all the way back to when the first stone was thrown.  Jeff Merritt “owned” Ali. Greg Page dropped Mike Tyson (cctually come to think of it he did and did it hard!)

The Canelo Fight

Schmidt: “We probably can’t get out of this conversation without talking about the biggest fight to come in a long long time, obviously your nephew and Canelo. So we might as well bounce that one around a little bit. I guess I would be painfully obvious to ask you what’s going to transpire so why don’t I give you my take. For years, up this neck of the woods, my buddy Fitz Vanderpool and I have been unmercifully crucified for telling any and everybody that Floyd Mayweather was going to slap (and I mean punch in that regard) Manny silly. It’s simply a matter of styles. Manny of course will go down as a great fighter, and a very exciting fighter as well. It’s just a bad match-up style wise. 

“The same is going to hold true with Canelo. Floyd is going to slap (and I mean, again, punch) Canelo silly. He’s too slow on his feet, too straight line back-and-forth and simply won’t keep up with the adjustments that Floyd makes. It’s a disaster waiting to happen for young Canelo. Besides that fact everyone is going to rely on the fact that Canelo’s got punching power.” 

I continue: “The only way you are going to close in on Floyd is by volume, volume, volume and that means losing some of your punching power. The other problem is everybody discounts Floyd’s whiskers. If you look at those fights where someone finally does get through with a shot, fights like Corrales, Mosley, and certainly Zab Judah, what you unfortunately discover is that Mr. Money Mayweather has a world-class set of whiskers. Aside from that there is a very limited list of fighters that come to mind (I mention Joe Calzaghe and his changing tempo and how Emanuel Steward said Calzaghe was a very special fighter for any era as is obviously Floyd) that have a radar -like ability to make adjustments early on in a fight and simply make the fight look like two entirely different fights packaged into one.

“Don’t be surprised if Canelo gets stopped late in the fight.” 

Jeff Mayweather, Pro Boxing Insider, responds as follows: “You’re right. My nephew adjusts probably better than anyone that you would remember going back some time and certainly better than anyone now in terms of during the fight action. But you know you’re the first guy that’s actually mentioned, and it’s true, it’s true, that Floyd’s got a great chin. If you look at those fights you mentioned he’s got a great chin and aside from everything else he does, you know, and he does everything so well, I mean if you’re lucky enough to finally get through the defense, he’s got that chin. But yeah you’re the first guy that mentions that.”

I could have gone on and on with the conversation with Jeff “Jazzy” Mayweather. Jeff “Graphic Design” Mayweather. He lays out that communication and presentation perfectly. It’s the eyes and demeanor that keep coming to mind. Amongst the family he reminds me of that line from the English philosopher Francis Bacon: “He that plots to be the only figure among ciphers, is the decay of the whole age.” While the other brothers are up front, Mr. Jeff Mayweather fits his part of the fighting Mayweather family. The only decay of the whole age, in the case of nephew Floyd “Money” Mayweather, will be old age and I suspect that the three figures among the ciphers will provide their own input in terms of when it.s time to call it a boxing day for Floyd Mayweather Jr. That day is not going to be September 14, 2014. It will not be an easy fight as young Canelo is a big, strong, busy punching warrior. 

To Jeff Mayweather, to “The Professional,” I thank you sir. Prompt emails and phone calls back and forth and refreshingly thoughtful and specific, without an ounce of envy to the world, and that is you!

SIDE NOTE: A big bald white guy, dusty hard from being in the desert on his Dune Buggy is supposed to jump in a limo provided by a buddy and go over to the Mayweather gym.  Early in the morning he mentions to one Mr. Jazzy Jeff Mayweather that he is “fookin” tired. “Hey, no problem, I’ll swing on over and see you. Why don’t you meet me at the side parking entrance to Luxor” responds one Mr. Jeff Mayweather. An hour later, 100 degrees plus, and rising at a time when the sins of the City are still sleeping in Sin City, up walks Jeff, like that summer day easy. That’s the Jeff Mayweather that I’ll remember. Thanks Pro Boxing Insider.

END NOTE: YES WE ARE HAVING FUN—GO TO JEFF’S TWITTER, “JeffMayweather1”— go to June 18th entry for details on getting your Roger Mayweather “You Don’t Know Shit About Boxing” t-shirt or go to Jeff’s Pro Boxing Insider. Also go to Jeff’s June 19 entry “Boxer gets KTFO after showing up opponent— the lad waives his opponent a “bring it on” and walks flat into a left hook.

Tweety bird time…

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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Boxer gets KTFO after showing up opponent

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  1. Mike Schmidt 02:03pm, 06/23/2013

    Well, well—Thank you Sir. What were the odds of having a nice big hunk of Steak with Roberto Duran and you Sir—and what a great host The Grand Champion was—and as well to be joined by the young 18—1 “Baby Face” Assassin and his trainer—more on this young Fighter another time. Casa Del Duran—great restaurant hosted by one of the all time top ten pound for pounds.  The Grand Champion, what say you Steve, looks to be about 165 lbs and for such a beast in the ring—what a great host—I was in Heaven Sir—absolute Heaven. Thanks for the post.

  2. Steve 01:47pm, 06/23/2013

    Truly enjoyed spending quality time with Michael, Carlos & Jeff. The highlight of my “fight” trip to Panama was an excellent steak dinner with “Manos de Piedras”.

  3. Mike Schmidt 07:18pm, 06/21/2013

    Great night of boxing—what did we have, five title fights??

  4. 06:34pm, 06/21/2013

    Meeting Jeff Mayweather was the most incredible experience I had as a boxing trainer I get to talk boxing all night with him we analyze every match an hour with him was 5 years in the University of boxing, a very humble man down to earth and willing to share his knowledge we really enjoy a good boxing show in Panama.

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