After losing a good fight to Pablo Cesar Cano, Ashley Theophane has been rebuilding his career. Gradually becoming one of the more senior members of Floyd Mayweather’s Money Team, Theophane boxes in Texas on Friday night but was performing a crisp pad session with trainer Nate James at the Mayweather Boxing Club on Tuesday before heading south on Wednesday.
You lost to Cano, but you’ve had two comparatively easy fights since. Is it a matter of now pushing for big fights in 2015?
Yes. They wanted me to stay active and to get wins and they like me to ready for when they can get me back in the limelight again. This year has been about getting wins, working on stuff I need to work on and staying active. That’s what I’ve done and in my last two fights I’ve looked good so we want to finish on a high and make it three out of three.
It seems like you’ve spent most of the year out here.
Yeah, I’ve been out here for over eight months, the longest time and it’s hard, being away from friends and family. But it’s the sacrifice you have to make if you want to follow your dreams.
Do you think you are now being respected by in British boxing?
It depends. It’ will always be mixed. Whoever you are, if you’re a world champion you’re going to have the fans or whoever who don’t like you. So I think it’s mixed, there are more who have respect for me now.because of Floyd Mayweather and I think are still some who think I’m not worthy, But I think in my career I have shown that I’ve gone on to do okay.
What kind of accommodation do you have now, do you slum it while you’re over here?
I stay in holiday apartments. It’s right next to the Palms and Rio hotels. So where I am is okay, the rent I pay is not cheap so I’m not slumming it.
What’s it like being a recognised part of The Money Team, you’ve been part of it for a couple of years. Do you feel like you’re one of the leading lights in the team?
Well now you have Ishe Smith, who is fighting Erislandy Lara [headlining the bill Theophane is on], you’ve got Mickey Bey who has won a world title, there’s J’Leon Love and there’s me and Badou Jack, who is in line for a world title shot next year. Other than Floyd Mayweather, I have the most wins on the team, so I’m doing something right. It’s just staying doing what I’m doing and when the big opportunity comes to make it happen.
Have you sparred with Floyd at all this year?
No, I haven’t. I think from when you join the team, Floyd doesn’t spar teammates, he tends to bring guys in to spar. I haven’t sparred with him, just watch. He’s been here twice in the last month to see the guys, he was here just last week to see what we were doing and he will be at the fights on Friday.
What does [trainer] Nate James bring to the table?
Nate’s experienced. He went to the Olympics with Floyd, he got a bronze medal and he’s been part of Floyd’s team for over 10 years so maybe he didn’t achieve what he wanted to in the pro ranks but he fought a world title eliminator but at the same time he’s been around Floyd for over 10 years and he’s seen what it takes to do it at the highest level.
When are you going back to the UK?
After Texas I’m going to come back here to watch Amir Khan win, then I’m going straight back home. I can’t wait.
Have you got any inside information about who Floyd Mayweather is going to fight in May?
No. We all don’t know. We all speak amongst each other about who it’s going to be so none of us know, that’s top secret stuff. We speak among each other about who it could be, there’s Manny [Pacquiao], there’s Khan, there’s [Miguel] Cotto. Those are the three names we hear.
Does it feel like home now, here in the Mayweather gym?
Very much so. I enjoy my time here every day, it’s just sometimes you have to enjoy what you’re doing now because one day it will be your past. I just give my all every day and one day I will be able to look back and see I was part of Floyd Mayweather’s team, so I’m just enjoying it for what it is, giving it my all and what will be will be.
Who are you fighting on Friday night?
I’m fighting Miguel Zuniga, he’s 12-5, he’s lost his last four, so it’s an opponent 10 times out of 10 I’m supposed to beat. It’s over 10 rounds but the most important thing is how I win. It’s not about winning because I’m expected to, it’s about how I win so that’s important.
On the pads, it looked like you’re sitting down on your punches more…
Yeah, the power’s there. We work on speed, work on the combinations but we also work on power and just getting the power correct so on Friday I want to win by KO. He’s only been stopped once in five losses and I want to add a KO loss so that’s my mindset going in. I’m going to win, it’s how I win.
Do you think you will fight in the UK again?
Erm, I could. I could retire now and be happy with what I’ve done because nothing was ever expected of me by anyone other than myself, so I could retire now. But who knows, I might be British champ again. You never know.