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01 OCTOBER 2014

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Q And A With Jeff Mayweather


By Don Smith: "Jazzy" Jeff Mayweather’s boxing legacy is secure by virtue of winning the IBO super featherweight title from John Roby on April 21, 1994, a title which he defended twice.

 

After a successful career in the ring, Jeff followed in the footsteps of his brothers and became a well respected boxing trainer. Sultan Ibragimov and Celestino Caballero became champions by following his training blueprint. Listening can be productive.

 

A member of the Ottawa Hills High School, in Grand Rapids Michigan, Class of 1981, It is rather ironic, Jeff isn’t mentioned in Wikipedia as a notable alumni of the school. This significant snub may entitle him to root for Ohio State or give him the right to picket and boycott The Grand Rapids Press Daily newspaper for not protesting the omission. Included on the long and prestigious list are R&B singers Chico and James DeBarge, Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and professional Football player David Harris. I asked and was granted permission to forward questions to the "Quiet Mayweather" and the champ (born on Independence Day, 1964) said yes. There were no prior stipulations. Below is the unedited result! I began the questioning by asking him about his last professional fight with Eric Jakubowski.


Jeff Mayweather Jr

 

ABN&N: Your last professional fight was in 1997 and you won the bout which took place in your home state of Michigan. How important was it for you to end your career on a winning note in your home state and did you plan to retire, win lose or draw?

JM: It was more important to me to be fighting in my place I was born more than winning or losing of course no one wants to lose but allowing my fans that have followed me my entire career and my family and friends could share in this moment for me was monumental and personal to me.

 

ABN&N: What is the hardest part about making the transition from fighter to trainer and who did you consult( if anyone )before making the decision?

JM: It was a very easy transition I was approached by one of my really good friends I would always go to his fights and he would listen to what I’d say from ringside so he asked me would I train him I reluctantly said yes unsure of what I could really do as a trainer and also at the time handling Floyd Jr early part of his career but I gave in and created a few combinations and realized that the things I was teaching were working ,so I began to gain confidence in myself and eventually became consumed with that same fighter I took to a World Championship Fight his name was David Sample he fought Miguel Gonzalez for the W.B.C Lightweight Title

 

 

ABN&N: In addition to working with boxers, you also train MMA fighters. Do boxing purists chide you about making the crossover and do you think MMA is in

danger of becoming too theatrical like WWE?

JM:Well I enjoy working with M.M.A fighters because they have a different respect for me than a typical fighter they come to like a untouched canvas allowing me to mold them and grasp exactly what is is I’m trying to convey to them I won a world title as a fighter and also trained multiple world champions so they know I know what I’m doing and trust in my ability to make them better , I don’t really care what boxing purist think if they are not paying me not to do it , I make my living this way be training fighters mostly by those whom respect me enough to seek me out , I think M.M.A is more of a Middle class sport a lot of the fighters in M.M.A are College Graduates that may have come from a collegiate background so I think it’s far from a sideshow when you have intelligent people involved in the sport as competitors

ABN&N: You have been around the boxing game for a long time. In your opinion who would you consider the 5 greatest trainers of all time and the best fight

you ever saw live in person, pay per view live or on tape?

JM: I don’t judge trainers because I think anyone that can make a fighter fulfill their dream of becoming a Champion is a great trainer so their are so many great trainers to single out five history is still in progress so there will be many more to surpass those have already came before them, The best fight I think for me personally was Michael Dokes and Evander Holyfield great fight lots of give and take true warriors

 

ABN&N: You’re TKO loss to Oscar in 1993 was a shock to me and other journalists, was it a fluke or an off night in your opinion?

 

JM:Well it was a combination of more than one thing Oscar certainly was the better fighter that night I can accept a defeat without trying to sugarcoat it , The one intangible that no one took into consideration Oscar was the darling of the Olympics my name carried a little weight but I wasn’t a puncher so I was picked for Oscar to defeat because of that reason he was the better fighter that night but should the fight have been stopped no I wasn’t hurt at all I remember saying to Mitch Halpern I’m fine but I also understood the business of boxing that’s why the fight was stopped nothing against Oscar because he went on to be a great fighter so no shame in losing to him but I wasn’t hurt when the fight was stopped

 

ABN&N: Who gave you the nickname of "Jazzy Jeff" and what sports did you play in high school and college?

JM: Well the nickname actually came from a school teacher of mine because I would always go to school dressed up in leisure suits at the time I wasn’t like the average kid I would like to dress up when I went to school not in clothes to play in so my teacher would say to me you look jazzy today and would say it often because of the way I dressed and the name stuck unfortunately I wasn’t the one whom made it famous even though I was called that before the fame of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince


 

ABN&N:  There isn’t enough time for you to train everybody,so what criteria do you use in selecting your pupils/clients and how much does character matter?  

JM: Character plays a major part speaking of myself I must make training a fun experience not only for myself but for my fighter as well and that’s why I implement what I call the Doom Session and that is my own personal defensive drill in which I try my best to counter punch my fighters while we are doing mitts I have no problem smacking someone upside their head no matter whom is watching it’s for the benefit of my fighter to stay alert and maintain solid defense at all times pad-work is where a fighter actually learn their craft because I simulate pad-work as close to a actual fight as I can not just you hitting mitts for technique but to know how to protect yourself in the heat of the battle 

 

 

ABN&N: What is your crowning achievement in boxing so far, is it your winning a world title or perhaps another accomplishment?

JM: Yes I would say winning a championship belt of any kind is a accomplishment to be proud of it’s like anything you participate in you want to know when your done with it , You have something sitting on your mantel that said you were someones Champion at one time in your life 

 

 

ABN&N: When a fighter is found guilty of using performance enhancement substances; should the trainer of record  be held accountable and punished also?   

JM: That’s a good question because the fighter has to get it from someone unless the fighter is doing it to himself a fighter has to know what’s legal and not I think Freddie Roach said it best this wasn’t happening in boxing until a strength and conditioning coach became a fixture in the sport, I’m certainly not saying that it doesn’t have it’s upside or that all strength trainers employ the same method but until they became prevalent in the sport this was a very rare occurrence

 

ABN&N: According to Box Rec, you left the ring with five draws; how many of those draws do you think should have been victories for you?  

JM: Four and even a few of my loses as well one of my draws had to be one of the worst decisions ever I fought in Hawaii the fight was over and I was announced the winner by unanimous decision during the course of actual fights taken place they made anannouncement that the fight between me and the guy I had fought has been changed to a draw  

 

ABN&N: Given what we know we know about the danger of concussions leading to possible brain damage; should boxing address the issue more vigorously

and require an MRI & Cat Scan after every knockout and if a fighter doesn’t pass; should he or she be denied a license to fight or spar professionally anywhere in the world? 

JM: Well that’s more of a medical question and don’t want to act as though I know the ramifications to make those types of decision but I certainly would like to think that the sport is evolving in the right direction and it’s better now than it was 10 years ago and hopes that it continues to get better with each passing year People like to use that clique saying that boxing has got another black eye  boxing has long run-out of black eyes I’m all for the safety of the sport 

 

ABN&N:  You’re are a active  member of  what is commonly referred to as a   boxing dynasty. How has that  reference   affected your life and do you think the so called dynasty ends after Floyd Jr. retires?  

JM: I certainly don’t think the dynasty ends with Floyd because we as brothers have created our own dynasty and will continue to make more and more World Champions we are the only three brothers in the history of the sport to have these two distinctionsnumber 1. Only brothers to train 3 different World Champions simutaneously   myself  (Sultan Ibragimov) W.B.O Heavyweight Champion  Floyd Sr Chad Dawson Light Heavyweight  Roger Floyd Mayweather Jr  and also we all three fought Olympic Gold Medalist in our career Me (Oscar Dela Hoya) , Roger (Pernell Whittaker) , Floyd Sr (Sugar Ray Leonard) 

  

ABN&N: You’re considered the "quiet" Mayweather; yet you defend your family when you decide the time is right to do so. What barometer do you use to

gauge when is the right time to defend anyone in your family in print? How heavy to you weigh your words?  

JM: When it’s a blatant attack solely because of jealousy or envy, I don’t really go after anyone at least not hard but when people just put things out there that are ridiculous and have not even the slightest merit of truth I will go hard at you and put you in your place with facts and not made up B.S  I love my family with all my heart not just my nephew and my brothers but each and every singleone of them 

 

ABN&N:  Thank you for taking time  to answer my questions and may you enjoy good health and peace!

JM: Thank you for such a candid interview 

 

May 21, 2013



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