The Calm Before Canelo: Floyd Mayweather Keeps it on the Level

Wake up. Run. Rest. Eat healthy. Drive to the gym. Work out with the trainer. Spar. Heavy bag. Sit-ups. Stretching. Hydration. Weight check. Drive to lodging. Rest. Calm family time. Sleep. Repeat the next day.

While not exact, the above represents a calm and tranquil training camp for a prize fighter. Something that the great Bernard Hopkins would go through. His discipline is unquestioned and has allowed him to thrive in the face of boredom. You can tell that the young punching machine Leo Santa Cruz uses the mundane of training camp to prepare to be a whirlwind in the ring on fight night. The Klitschko brothers, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Gennady Golovkin, Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez… the list of fighters who use a stress-free, repetitive and distraction free training camp to fully prepare themselves for fights goes on and on.

The world’s best fighter, Floyd Mayweather, is notorious for not being on that list. Take a look at his training camps since he became a star fighter:

2005: Prior to his first pay per view main event against Arturo Gatti, Mayweather was more concerned with promoting himself and disparaging the beloved Gatti at every turn. In retrospect, he was taking the time to create the “Money” persona rather than training for a fight.

2006: Mayweather ignited a media firestorm and chose to fight Zab Judah even though Judah lost his previous fight and welterweight championship to Carlos Baldomir. The fight almost devolved into a riot which causes Floyd to become involved in Nevada State Athletic Commission proceedings and his head trainer, Roger Mayweather, to be suspended for his next fight. To follow up the Judah win, Mayweather’s then-promoter offered him a then-career high purse of $8,000,000 to face fellow 147 pound titlist Antonio Margarito. Boxing fans were salivating over a confrontation between the flashy number one pound for pound player and the larger aggressive Mexican pressure fighter who was earning a reputation as “the most avoided man in boxing.” Instead, Mayweather joined with Al Haymon, bought out his contract with Bob Arum and Top Rank and trained himself to face Carlos Baldomir.

2007: In the year that Mayweather would become a bona fide mega superstar with fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, he threatened retirement in order to get some negotiating leverage against De La Hoya, then complained about every part of the deal (example: the type of boxing gloves to be used) he did not like; Floyd stole De La Hoya’s bags on the promotional tour for the fight; he used HBO’s “24/7″ reality show to bash not only De La Hoya but also his father, Floyd Mayweather, Sr. ; spent more time hanging out with rapper 50 Cent than doing most other things; and joined the case of “Dancing with the Stars” when he was supposed to begin training for the Hatton fight.

2009: Here, Mayweather ended a two year “retirement” to make Juan Manuel Marquez move up two weight divisions to face him at a 144 pound catchweight and then proceeded to not even try to make the weight limit. Mayweather was also facing charges from the Internal Revenue Service that he owed millions in back taxes.

2010: Mayweather ended up facing Shane Mosley instead of a certain Filipino southpaw. This drama certainly does not need to be revisited.

2011: Shortly after the Mosley fight, Mayweather was involved in an incident with the mother of his children, Josie Harris, which led to domestic violence charges being brought against him. There was also an incident where it was alleged that Mayweather attacked a security guard who asked him for identification. Remarkably, this outside-the-ring activity had no effect on his bout with Victor Ortiz who was the one who acted distracted and mentally deranged.

2012: Following the Ortiz fight/debacle, Mayweather plead guilty to domestic violence charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He was originally scheduled to report to jail shortly after being sentenced but he scheduled a May bout with Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas. The economic windfall of a Mayweather bout for Las Vegas was enough to encourage the Judge to postpone the sentence until after the fight. Stated otherwise, Mayweather approached the Cotto fight with a jail sentence waiting for him and every media member asking him about it.

2013: Before facing Robert Guerrero, Mayweather switched networks from HBO to Showtime and signed six fight deal which guarantees him at least $30,000,000 a fight. He also switched head trainers due to Roger Mayweather’s health situation and reunited with his estranged father.

With all of those distractions (and maybe turmoil is a better term for it), it is quite amazing that Mayweather is still undefeated. Fighters have often cited losses, even to inferior opposition, on outside circumstances. Even though his life has been quite crazy the past few years, and most of it was of his own doing, Mayweather never let it effect his work.

Now, as he approaches was some say is his biggest challenge and what is most definitely his biggest payday (according to Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather’s guarantee for Saturday’s fight is $41,500,000!), there are no outside circumstances/tribulations/distractions. Really. Sure there was a multi-city press tour to promote the pay per view event but that must have been welcome in light of the lack of promotion for the Guerrero fight which, by most accounts, underperformed economically.

What all this means is Canelo must face a fully focused Mayweather. One who has nothing to worry about but training for the fight. No IRS waiting to garnish his purse after the fight. No criminal charges or jail sentences. No accusations of personal misconduct. No family or personal relationship drama. No network hassles or promotional or managerial issues. And, for the first time in years, there is popular support of Mayweather’s choice of opponent.

The media cannot even make up a pre-fight issue, drama or distraction. The closest they have come is to criticize Mayweather for the agreed 152 pound catchweight (the normal junior middleweight limit is 154 pounds). Such criticism is based on Mayweather’s statements in 2009 that it was unfair for Manny Pacquiao to make Miguel Cotto agree to a 145 pound catchweight for a welterweight (normally a 147 pound limit) title bout. In reality, the criticism makes little sense as it was Canelo’s people who offered the catchweight in an effort to sweeten the deal to seal the fight. Additionally, Canelo is a 23 year old who should be able to handle the loss of an extra two pounds, especially since he weighed 151.5 pounds for a fight against Matthew Hatton just two years ago and weighted 153.25 for his April fight with Austin Trout. Basically, the catchweight is a non-issue.

The question now becomes how will Mayweather perform in light of the tranquility he is now enjoying. Despite the distractions noted above, Mayweather turned in dominating performances in those fights. In the case of the Hatton and Cotto fights, Mayweather even put forth the most entertaining performances of his career post 2001! It is possible that Mayweather is more like Pacquiao than he would like to admit… they both thrive in the face of distractions and turmoil. Canelo is probably hoping for that. Because if that is not the case, and Mayweather will perform better than ever because of the lack of pre-fight issues, Canelo may be in deep trouble.

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