After Floyd Mayweather underwent another punishing training camp, we asked a member of ‘The Money Team’ to give a glimpse into the unforgiving world of the ‘Doghouse’ gym.
Former British champion Ashley Theophane has trained alongside the American star for over five years, sparring numerous rounds with ‘Money’, and knows all about the harsh way of life in the Mayweather Boxing Club.
He offers insight into how Mayweather has sharpened his skills for a 50th bout against McGregor in Las Vegas this weekend, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
What are your first impressions of the gym?
It’s loud, you’ve got so many boxers there that are trying to be world champs, trying to be the best. I guess that rubs off on you, the confidence of all of the fighters. They all believe in themselves, from the amateurs to the guys at the very top. They all talk as if they’re world champs.
You can’t go in there and slack, because you’ve got the boss who is Floyd Mayweather. From when you watch him train, you’re going to train hard, because he motivates and inspires the rest of the guys there.
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What is sparring like?
The sparring is intense. We do four to six minute rounds, 30 seconds rest, and you’ve got boxers from all over the world that fly over there. It’s not a fight, but if you’re sparring a guy you don’t know, you don’t want to lose to him. There’s no result but everyone gives their all in the sparring.
Can it be a hostile environment?
There’s been many guys that have been intimidated. Guys who have been dropped or stopped in the gym.
If you’re going to go to that gym, make sure that you’re in shape. I have seen guys that pick someone by saying ‘yeah I want to spar with you.’ He might not look tough, but he’s been there for a long time, so he knows the drill, and if you’re new then everyone is going to be on his side, because he’s one of the residents there.
I have seen many new guys that come in there who want to impress and it just ends bad for them.
When does Floyd arrive for sparring?
He normally comes in around 3-4pm, whereas everyone is there from 12-3pm. The other pros usually train before he arrives and from 3pm onwards, it’s Floyd’s time.
How many sparring partners will he use?
At times it could be eight to 10. He doesn’t know who he is going to spar. There are some guys who will be part of his sparring team for like four-to-five weeks and they won’t spar him yet, but they will be getting their weekly pay. That’s great for them.
I always remember there was one guy and he kept saying ‘Floyd won’t spar me, Floyd won’t spar me.’ He sparred with Floyd and he got beaten up, so he should have just kept his mouth quiet, get your easy cheque. But he sparred Floyd and was terrible.
What are Floyd’s sparring sessions like?
I’ve seen Floyd spar with Steve Forbes, with Zab Judah, and sometimes he just works on boxing skills and sometimes he fights, but I guess it’s the day you get him on, and how he feels. I always enjoy watching him spar and that’s why it’s great to have him back. It’s nice to see the boxing skills, but there’s times when it’s nice to see a toe-to-toe war. He does it all in the gym.
I sparred him for the Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez camp and I sparred him for the Andre Berto camp. I will say, sometimes these young guys, they get intimidated. They go in there, then shrink within themselves, and don’t perform. But there are other guys who go in there and raise their game because they love it – they’re sparring Floyd Mayweather.
What was your personal experience of sparring Floyd?
I remember the first time I sparred with Floyd, I got in the ring and they started to bang on the canvas and were saying ‘there’s a victim here, another victim.’
You turn around and see Floyd shaking his legs and arms out, he’s staring at you, and it’s go.
The first time was like ‘wow’, Floyd Mayweather is opposite me. I done okay. In the Berto camp, that’s how I got the world title shot with Adrien Broner. Floyd told me afterwards that he believed that I could beat AB. He just thought I had that style that would trouble him.
Does the gym bring the best out of you?
I lost my British title here, then went over to Floyd [Mayweather’s promotional stable] and fought for a world title three years later. I didn’t win, but it just shows that never give up.
He gives a lot of money away to charities, helps his friends and family. He bought me a car. Mayweather does a lot of good outside the ring that never gets mentioned, because he never says anything.
Watch Mayweather vs McGregor, from the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, from midnight August 26, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book via your Sky remote or online here.