When England’s Ashley Theophane decided to make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas in 2012 he did so for one reason and one reason only: he went in search of Floyd Mayweather. To find him, befriend him and learn from him was to crack the code or discover the Colonel’s secret recipe. It was something every boxer wanted, but only few managed to achieve.
Owing to Theophane’s amiable personality and street smarts, however, it didn’t take long for Mayweather to take the Londoner under his wing and point him in the right direction. They trained together. They sparred together. They socialized together. Quickly, Theophane was covered head to toe in The Mayweather Team (TMT) paraphernalia and managed and promoted by Floyd. It was an unlikely friendship, but a friendship nonetheless.
“I’ve been watching Floyd Mayweather training camps going back to 2012 when I was British champion,” said Theophane, a former British super-lightweight champion and WBA world super-lightweight title challenger.
“I’ve seen Manny Pacquiao and various world champions train and Floyd is the hardest worker I’ve watched. You could watch him for three hours working intensely and then he still finds the energy to go for a run an hour later. He’s definitely a one-off. I think any fighter who watches Floyd train will be inspired and motivated to step up their own work ethic.”
The Mayweather Boxing Club on Schiff Drive is a temporary Vegas home for both Mayweather and Theophane. They convene there most days; sometimes they share its boxing ring. But it’s away from the gym Mayweather has been sorely missed, claims Theophane. It’s on the billboards, around the casinos, along the Strip that ‘Money May’s two-year absence has been felt.
“Floyd Mayweather fights are major events,” said Ashley. “There’s nothing like it. I’m glad he’s back. I’ve missed watching him in training camp the last two years. There have been so many big fights in Las Vegas since Floyd retired but none have matched the buzz Floyd brings to the city.
“No matter what anyone says, Mayweather vs. McGregor is the boxing event of the year. You have boxing fans and UFC fans coming together to create up to $500 million dollars for the fighters and the city of Las Vegas.”
As for the fight itself, 36-year-old Theophane feels no way about calling it a mismatch, nor siding with the man who has given him a second shot at a boxing life these past five years. He feels no way about it because it’s a view held by many.
“Floyd has faced and beaten the best of his era,” said Theophane. “He has beaten Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao to name a few. In my opinion, Conor doesn’t have a chance.
“I don’t like to predict how fights will end, but it’s very possible Floyd stops Conor. A win is a win. I haven’t seen the odds for the fight but bookmakers don’t know much about boxing. There’s no boxer alive with Floyd’s experience or pedigree. That’s fact. He doesn’t get the praise his achievements deserve.”