FLOYD MAYWEATHER did not get dropped in sparring according to his close friend and member of his training team, Nate Jones. Though the former heavyweight did not deny Mayweather had hand problems and admitted the veteran has not trained every day ahead of his August 26 bout with Conor McGregor, Jones rubbished the possibility that anyone would know of an injury should one exist.
“Let me tell you something,” Jones told Boxing News. “Floyd has a will to win stronger than any man I’ve ever met. If his hand is bothering him you’re not going to know that. I’ve seen Floyd fight and we never knew his hand [was injured] until he took the glove off [after the fight] and his hand would be really swollen. He has high pain tolerance. To do things that Floyd do, the tolerance has to be at a high level. You’ve got to trust and believe me, he’s going to knock this mother f****r out.”
And according to Jones, who has sparred “1000 rounds” with Floyd Mayweather in the 23 years they have known each other, the threat of being completely embarrassed by Conor McGregor on Saturday night has created a focus like he hasn’t seen before.
“I’m going to tell you like this. In all the years I’ve been his friend, I’ve never seen him as focused. You hear all these rumours, ‘He got dropped in the gym’. That didn’t f*****g happen, I swear on the life of my kids. There ain’t no way Floyd is going to lose this fight, he’s the best for the reason. How can he be slipping? Come on. He’s ready, 100 per cent.”
When Jones first met Mayweather when they were both young amateurs, the heavyweight had little time for the cocky upstart but he soon discovered why Floyd had so much self belief. Both went onto win medals – Jones (bronze) and Mayweather (also bronze) – while US teammates at the 1996 Olympics.
“I met him in 1994 and I didn’t like him because he was always bragging about how good he was,” Jones, now 45, remembered. “I was like, ‘Who’s this dude who’s always talkin’ about how good he is?’ I said to him, ‘I can’t wait to watch you fight after all this talkin’.’ Then when I seen him fight I bowed to him. ‘Who the f**k are you?’ He was that good, and that’s how we met.”
Jones retired in 2002 with a record of 18-2-1 (9) and was invited by Mayweather to join his training team shortly afterwards. Involved in every major training camp since then, Jones admitted that while certain things were different this time, Mayweather remains as elusive as always.
“What we did differently is we didn’t train every day,” Jones revealed. “You don’t need to. You’re 40 years old. Train for two days, then you rest for a day. You’re 40, you look good. He’s sparring the whole day and he doesn’t get hit six times. I promise you. All this bulls**t from McGregor, we’re going to annihilate this man. This is not a contest. He’s truly focused, he’s not going to lose, it’s not possible.
“I’m telling everybody it won’t be the seventh round. We’re knocking him out [before the seventh]. We’re gonna show him some things, he don’t know what he’s getting into. When people fight Floyd, they say he’s different [to other fighters]. He [McGregor] doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He can change in the ring, he will change his body language, he’ll make you think he’s going to do one thing, then bang! He hasn’t lost that. He’s the greatest fighter of all time.”
At the final Mayweather-McGregor press conference, Jones berated the Irishman from the sidelines which drew a telling off from Floyd.
“It’s my passion for us [Mayweather and I],” Jones said when asked why he was shouting at McGregor. “We go back a long way, we’ve hung together every single day, before the greatness, before we both made the Olympic team. I’ve sparred him over a 1000 times. We used to spar every single day because most of the guys wouldn’t box him because he was such a freak, so it would just be us two. We have a lot of respect and passion for each other.
“He’s not going to lose. Don’t believe any stories. He’s going to win by knockout, you can put a lot of money on that.”