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