Inside Floyd Mayweather's secret sparring sessions as training partners open up on gruelling rounds and mind games

FLOYD MAYWEATHER lived much of his iconic boxing career on camera – offering a unique insight into his private and professional life.

A star in HBO's famous '24/7' pre-fight docuseries and even an executive producer in Showtime's 'All Access' – Mayweather was happy to let fans go behind the scenes with fly on the wall coverage.


But his only rule was a simple one: no filming sparring sessions, with the only exception an open workout in 2015 before he beat Andre Berto.

Cameras from TV crews and team members inside his Las Vegas gym had to be switched off.

It has left little footage of Mayweather sparring, only adding to the intrigue and fuelling whispers of what went on behind closed doors.

The tales still live long in the memory for those trusted to help the boxing legend sharpen his prized assests.

And speaking to SunSport, they opened up on gruelling sessions, sometimes with no break and even how Mayweather used mind games to get the upper hand.

The 50-0 icon was a master on the mic, beating some of his opponents mentally way before the first bell sounded.

But the verbal warfare continued even away from the bright lights.

Daquan Mays, used in 2017 before fighting Conor McGregor and a year later ahead of an exhibition with Tenshin Nasukawa, remembers all too well.

Mays, 28, said: "During the session, Floyd would talk so much s***. I'm the kind of person who's very arrogant myself, so I'd talk s*** back.

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"He'd say certain things but it was always something funny.

"Like, we'd exchange punches and I'd probably get off with two and he'd get off like three or four, he'd get the last shot, slip my punch and he'd say something like, 'I'm Floyd Mayweather, motherf***er, you know that'."

Ashley Theophane was signed by Mayweather in 2013 and was even gifted a brand new Chrysler 300 for impressing so much in sparring.

The Brit, who recently released his book 'Raised By The Hood' whichincludes training camp diaries with Mayweather, witnessed first hand the trash talk.

Theophane, 40, revealed: "Floyd likes to get into your head. Talk to you during sparring. Laugh at you or critic you during the session.

"This throws off a lot of young fighters off.  He’s definitely a master of mind games."


If Mayweather could not get you mentally, then he would try physically, often switching off the clock, allowing for no breaks.

Mays said: "We're boxing, going back and forth, we did three or four rounds straight, but Floyd's the type of guy to try and break you.

"He's looking me in the eyes the whole time, and I'm like this s*** is fun as hell.

"We're in like the third round and he's like, 'I ain't tired, I'll keep going, I don't give a f***.

"I was like, well I don't give a f*** either. So he said, 'Get the clock off, get the clock off, we going until you're tired, until you're done boxing'.

"Me myself, I didn't care, I wanted to see where I was at. We did 16 minutes, he gave me props afterwards and that was that."

Denis Douglin is another of Mayweather's regular southpaw sparring partners and most recently shared rounds with the American in the summer of 2020.

And he was stunned as the session spanned over half an hour without a breather, with only an impatient Devin Haney bringing a halt to the spar.

Douglin, 33, said: "The last time we sparred, Floyd said to me, 'We're going to turn the bell off and spar till somebody quits. I'm gonna make you quit'.

"I said to him, 'Floyd, if you turn that bell off we're going to spar for the rest of the day, because I'm not quitting'.

"We sparred about 20-30 minutes straight, but we had to stop because Devin Haney was sparring after us.

"If it wasn't for that we weren't going to stop – we'd probably still be sparring now."


During the latter stages of Mayweather's career he was forced to switch styles from electric combination puncher to a master tactician.

But his performances in the gym depended on his mood and company.

Theophane said: "Floyd would have easy days and hard days in the gym just like any athlete. Watching him, you could only learn.

"Floyd tended to be aggressive in sparring. He went into the Canelo fight with injured hands and still put on a masterclass."

Mays added: "It was more like a chess match, there weren't a lot of punches thrown, it would be like tit for tat.

"More so he's a counter puncher, he sets you up for punches, or change the pace of the fight every now and then. He's real tricky."


Even in retirement the 44-year-old is ever present at the Mayweather Boxing Club and is now preparing for his latest return to the ring.

Four years after retiring as a professional, he is set to lace up the gloves once more for an exhibition bout with YouTuber Logan Paul, 26, on Sunday.

And while he could be excused for simply showing up for what looks to be on paper his simplest challenge yet, the famous regime has still been followed.

Badou Jack, 37, promoted by Mayweather, said: "He's a competitor, he wants to look good so of course, he's going to train hard even if this is probably going to be an easy fight.  

"His mentality is still the same, he'll work hard and put on a show for the fans." 


 

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