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24 MARCH 2018


April Showers Bring Mayweathers

De La Hoya, Floyd Sr & Forbes:
De La Hoya, Floyd Sr & Forbes:

By Jason Pribila: On the First Saturday of May 2007, the sport of boxing found itself in an unfamiliar place. It had once again captured the attention of the mainstream media. “The World Awaits” was labeled by some as, “the bout that would save boxing”, as It featured the sport’s most popular fighter, Oscar De La Hoya, against its best, Floyd Mayweather Jr. The fight went on to break pay per view records by capturing 2.4 million buys, as Mayweather claimed Oscar’s Jr. Middleweight belt, via split decision.

Oscar returns to the ring on Saturday Night headlining the inaugural boxing event at the Home Depot Center. A 27,000 seat soccer stadium in Carson, California. He will face Steve Forbes in a bout dubbed “Homecoming” as it will serve as De La Hoya’s first fight in his native California in eight years . Although Forbes is a former world champion at 130lbs, he was handpicked because he seems unlikely to upset the apple cart. He is fighting 10 pounds above his natural weight and he has only recorded nine knockouts in his career. A De La Hoya victory over Forbes would seem to lack much suspense, however, one only needs to look toward their trainers for drama. Oscar will once again be led to the ring by Floyd Mayweather Sr., who will be opposed for the first time by his brother, Jeff.

A year ago, Floyd Sr. sat ringside as Oscar challenged his son. At the time, Oscar was uncomfortable with the notion of having a father train him to defeat his own son. Oscar chose to go to the ring with Freddie Roach, while Floyd Jr. remained with his uncle, Roger Mayweather. A year later it is business as usual for Oscar, with Sr. back in his corner. “We had unfinished business. We didn’t have problems. They chose Roach for a smaller fee, and Roach took the job… I would have too. Things didn’t work with Roach, so he came back to the best.” boasted Mayweather Sr.

When Steve Forbes was selected as the opponent for this fight he chose the man that guided him to a world championship at 130lbs., Roger Mayweather. Roger recalled his experience with Forbes, “The minute I met him, the minute I worked with him, I said, you’ll be champ of the world. I’m gonna train you to be champ of the world”. Their reunion, however, would be short lived. A month and a half before the fight, Floyd Jr. gave his uncle an ultimatum, leave Forbes or be fired. Floyd felt that if Roger would be successful in training Forbes to defeat De La Hoya, it would cost him the lucrative payday that the September rematch would bring. Forbes’ natural replacement would have been Floyd Sr., who guided him through his last nine fights, but he was obviously unavailable. So he then turned to the third Mayweather trainer, Jeff. For Forbes it was simple, “For any big fight, I would want a Mayweather in my corner.”

For years, Jeff, who is often referred to as “The Quiet Mayweather” has escaped the spotlight that often shines on those that share his surname. Although he will be working across the ring from his brother, this is not the case of a sibling rivalry, “I have a good relationship with both my brothers, but my nephew… either him or myself will have to make a decision on being a bigger person and squash our differences.” According to Jeff, those differences occurred when Floyd Jr. was still being promoted by Top Rank. At the time, Jeff was serving as Floyd’s manager, but without the title. When Floyd Jr. hired his own manager, Jeff walked away. “Once I know when I’m not needed or wanted, I’m not going to hang around for a handout.” So he and Floyd Jr. parted ways.

Floyd Sr. shared similar sentiments regarding his family, “The Mayweather family is a warm family. Everyone looks at us like we’re violent. If there is a difference in a family, that is not dysfunctional. I don’t have a problem with my brothers. Roger came over and we all laughed and had a good time. Floyd Jr. is where the dysfunction comes in.”

Although Steve Forbes has been trained by all three Mayweathers, Floyd Sr. doesn’t think it will be enough, “I trained Steve for nine fights. He can give the look (of Floyd Jr.) roll his shoulders, and come back with the right hand. (But) my man is bigger, stronger, punches harder, and I think that he’s faster.”

“He will be the closest fighter out there to Floyd Jr.”, offered Jeff. “I’ve seen improvement in Steve. I’ve witnessed his maturity outside and inside the ring. He has fast hands…a strong body puncher. His right hand is a lot stronger.” He does concede that the deck is stacked against his fighter, “We’re climbing a very steep hill. De La Hoya already fought when he had a big fight in place, and he lost that fight (against Felix Sturm). We’re fighting Oscar and the business of boxing itself.”

If the “business” side of boxing has its way, Saturday night will launch “The World Awaits 2”. A sequel destined to do massive box office, featuring the addition of Floyd Mayweather Sr. this time in Oscar’s corner. A supporting character from the first fight with a much meatier role, “Do I want my son knocked out? No. Do I want his ass whooped? Hell yeah, he needs it!” Until then we should just enjoy the warmth.

May 1, 2008

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