Interview: Trainer Jeff Mayweather – Part 1

InterviewEveryone in boxing knows the Mayweather name.  The star of this three part interview is Jeff Mayweather.  Jeff is known by many as “The Quiet Mayweather” because of his laid back and calm nature.  He is also an outstanding trainer and all around good guy.

His love of boxing is what you notice the minute he starts speaking about training fighters and the sweet science.  Jeff knows his craft from both sides of the ropes; he has worked the corner of several well-known champions and continues to do so today. Jeff finds enjoyment in helping young fighters reach their potential and make their dreams come true.

Jeff is a dedicated trainer, intelligent and a positive example to his fighters.  He has stayed away from interviews for a few years and I was very lucky to get a chance to chat with him.  Let’s talk with Jeff Mayweather:

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When did you realize you wanted to become a trainer?
Once I retired from boxing, I never thought about being a trainer.  At the time I was behind the scenes managing and advising my nephew.  I had a very good friend, David Sample, who was an active fighter.  I would always go to his fights and give instructions from the audience.  He said he would only listen to my voice in the crowd, so he asked me to train him.  I said yes,and the rest is history.

How was the transition from pro boxer to trainer?
The transition was very easy for me, because I have been involved in boxing for so many years that it just became natural to teach and pass on on what knowledge I had to offer.

Has being a boxer served you well as a trainer?
Being a boxer gives you a reality from that experience.  You’re not just giving the fighter a line of b.s. because you have been there before and can share genuine experiences.  Unlike a guy that has never been in the ring, everything to them is foreign.  They have to create a tale in which to keep the fighter motivated.  They have never been in such a situation before to be capable of giving a real answer from experience.

Where did your nickname “Jazzy” come from?
The nickname actually came from one of my grade school teachers.  It had nothing to do with boxing at all.  As a kid I would always dress up and a lot of times even wear suits to school.  My teacher would always tease me by saying you look “Jazzy” today and the name stuck.

You have been described as a trainer in many positive ways.  How do all the accolades make you feel?
It’s always a good feeling to be appreciated for what you do, but at the end of the day I’m just doing what I signed up for: helping someone to reach their goal or dream of becoming a world champion and knowing that you had a hand in helping that person reach that plateau is the ultimate feeling.

Who are you currently training?
I have 10 fighters; some amateur and some professional.

What hot prospects do you have?
Well, Kevin Newman currently 4-0-1.  I have great expectations for him.

What makes a GOOD trainer?
What make’s a good trainer is to keep the focus on the fighter and to find the fighter’s weaknesses and strengths.  Try your best to make them equal by bringing the weaknesses up to or close as you can to the same level as the strengths.  That the fighter and trainer have chemistry is most important along with mutual respect.  This person is entrusting you with his life when they go to battle, it is important to have a strong bond.

What is your training philosophy?
Box first.  Fight or slug only if you have to.

What qualities do you look for in a boxer?
Focus, confidence and the ability to listen and grasp what I’m trying to convey.

In your opinion, who is the greatest trainer of all time?
I have no idea whom is the greatest trainer of all time, because it’s not always the trainer that is great.  Sometimes, the fighter makes the trainer look great and there are so many trainers that have helped countless fighters win world titles.  If you go by statistics maybe Emanuel Steward, Angelo Dundee, and Eddie Futch.  In some cases the fighters would win championships no matter who was in their corner.  So, to me, there is no one that carries that crown.

What is your opinion of undefeated records?
Having an undefeated record is only as good as the opponents who are on that record. Boxing records can be manufactured.

Have you ever had to throw in the towel?
Yes I have thrown in the towel on one occasion.

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How do you deal with a difficult boxer who won’t listen during training or in the ring?
If I have a fighter that doesn’t listen, I will let them go.  I have done it before on more than one occasion.  We have to be in sync on almost everything it has to be a team effort.

Why do you think people choose boxing for a career these days?
Boxing is something you have to have a strong desire to do; it’s not something you can play with.  It’s unlike a team sport.  You’re alone in that ring, you only have a support system one minute of every round.  Boxing as a career choice has to be a love of the sport.

What doesn’t the public realize about boxing trainers?
That a boxing trainer has to wear many hats when dealing with a fighter.  He sometimes has to be his best friend, sometimes he has to take the role of his or her psychiatrist.  A trainer has to know what makes their fighter tick and when the fighter is feeling down and needs to be consoled.  There are so many different roles that come into play long after the gym is closed.

Is it difficult to train a southpaw?
The very first fighter I trained was a southpaw, so it’s not difficult at all for me.

How is your relationship with your fighters?
I have great relationship with all my fighters.  All of my fighters know I go above and beyond the call of duty.  My home is always open to them.  If they are in need of anything and I have it, they don’t have to ask twice.  There has to be a relationship beyond the realm of the gym.

How do you keep yourself sharp as a trainer?
I stay sharp by giving my fighters what I call the “Doom Session”.  That is when I try my best to create openings while I train my fighters to exploit their flaws by smacking them upside their head and to also step up their defensive skills.

Do you consider yourself a “professor” when it comes to training?
I guess I consider myself a professor in a sense, because I pride myself on teaching.  When it comes to defense I feel I’m one of the best in the game of boxing.

What is your favorite division?
Welterweight.

Let’s wrap part one with this question:  How can we keep boxing strong?
Continue to support it.  If you’re a true boxing fan go out and support your favorite fighter and show them some love by just showing your support.

Check out Jeff Mayweather’s PRO BOXING INSIDER, on Twitter, and on YouTube.

About the Author

Judi Abate - "Boxing Diva"
Judi Abate, the "Boxing Diva", has been interviewing the fighting community since 2007. Her trademark questions are sassy and unpredictable. She has contributed work to Diamond Boxing, Boxing Rant, and WBAN. Away from the PC she enjoys reading, shopping and painting. Her dream interview is Oscar De La Hoya.

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