Las Vegas Sun

June 30, 2022

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Columnist Dean Juipe: Mayweather Jr. could be great

The man who piqued Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s interest in boxing is about to be reunited with the promising 20-year-old who is showing signs of potential greatness.

That man is Floyd Mayweather Sr., a former professional fighter who will be released from a Michigan halfway house next month after serving time in prison for a drug offense.

"I'm not sure of the exact date but he'll be in Las Vegas soon," Floyd Jr. said this week before working out at the Golden Gloves Gym. "He started me off and we've worked together before. Basically, he'll come here to polish me up."

Mayweather already has a certain glossy sheen to him, the result of his own abilities as well as his family heritage. His uncles, pro fighters Roger and Jeff Mayweather, serve as his trainers.

Floyd, a junior lightweight, is 10-0 with eight knockouts. An Olympic bronze medalist in 1996, his next scheduled fight is Oct. 14 in Boise, Idaho, on a Top Rank-promoted card to be televised by the USA cable network.

He is the first of the recent Olympians to have fought a scheduled 10-rounder and he expects to be the first world champion as well. (Incidentally, the 12 U.S. Olympians from 1996 are now a collective 65-0 as professionals, with Mayweather and Eric Morel leading the way with 10 wins apiece.)

"Top Rank has moved me well ... great, as a matter of fact," Mayweather said. "I don't want to rush it but I feel like I'm already ready for a world champion or a top contender.

"Don't hold me back. Let me fight somebody."

In his most recent outing, Sept. 6 in Texas, Mayweather disposed of Louie Leija in two rounds. While his next opponent remains undetermined, plans are to move Mayweather into position for a title fight next year.

"I can't be beat," he says. "How can you be beat if you can't be hit? I know what I'm capable of doing and that's becoming the best fighter in the world."

Perhaps before graduating to the championship level, Mayweather expects to face fellow local prodigy Augie Sanchez. The view from the Mayweather camp, however, is that Sanchez is vastly overrated.

"That's a two- or three-round fight," Roger Mayweather said. "They'll make it because it's the only payday Augie can get. It'll draw well and be talked about a lot, and Augie will bring some people to it. It'll be a big fight with a quick ending."

While welcoming the attention a fight with Sanchez would bring, Floyd Mayweather is already looking past it "to bigger and better things." Adding his father -- who once fought Sugar Ray Leonard -- to his camp may only bolster a young man whose confidence borders on cockiness.

"I think about boxing 24 hours a day," he said. "No matter where I am or where I'm going, boxing is always on my mind. It's my job and I do it well."

Around the ring

A BAM Promotions card scheduled for Friday at The Orleans continues to undergo daily revision and, as of Wednesday, appeared to have junior lightweights John Montes and James Crayton as its main event. ... Former world champ Wayne McCullough of Las Vegas withdrew from a televised main event Tuesday in Ledyard, Conn., citing a bad back. ... Veteran multichamp Mike McCallum is back in Las Vegas and training daily in the hope of extending his career. ... Another ex-champ, Donald Curry, is back in the gym after a dreadful showing against Emmett Linton April 7 in Las Vegas. "I hope to give a better account of myself," Curry said. "I wasn't in shape and wasn't who I thought I was that night" he said of his TKO-7 loss. ... NABF super middleweight champ Joseph Kiwanuka of Las Vegas has agreed to a rematch with his lone conqueror, Thomas Tate. Kiwanuka, 25-1-2, and Tate, 32-5, will meet Oct. 28 in Philadelphia. "He wants it and I appreciate that," said Kiwanuka's trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. But Kiwanuka's manager, John Phillips, has his reservations. "I think it might be an easy fight but what do we gain?" he said. If he's not derailed, Kiwanuka may move into the IBF's mandatory challenger position at 168 pounds. ... Another fighter who works with Muhammad, heavyweight Jimmy Thunder, has had his fight with unbeaten contender Chris Byrd pushed back. They're now scheduled to meet Dec. 6 in Atlantic City. "He was annoyed about it, but that's life," Muhammad said. Thunder agreed and added "I can't wait but it gives me more time to work on the things I need to do." ... Forum Boxing of Los Angeles has announced its Oct. 18 main event at the Tropicana: Hector Lopez, 36-6-1, vs. Angel Beltre, 26-6, 12 rounds, junior welterweights. Heavyweight Ed Mahone, 13-0-1, has a spot on the undercard. ... Forum Boxing also has a Saturday card at Caesars Tahoe that offers junior welters Jaime Ocegueda, 17-1-4, and Hector Quiroz, 22-2-1, in the main event. ... Main Events has requested Nov. 4 and Nov. 7 dates from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and will look to book some fights those dates, which is the week of the Evander Holyfield vs. Michael Moorer card at the Thomas & Mack Center.