It’s been a long, sometimes tough and sometimes exhilarating journey, but one that has been so worthwhile. When I turned professional in 2003 at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London my goal was always to train, fight and compete at the top in America. Just like the boxing legends that inspired me so long ago now.
A trainer from New York came to visit my amateur boxing club, All Stars in 1997, and pinpointed me as a fighter that could excel in America. He said he was from Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. There was some talk of the club financing a trip there for me, but unfortunately, that never came to pass.
Two years into my professional career, I decided to travel under my ‘own steam’ to New York and train at Gleason’s Gym. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew boxing greats had trained there, and I wanted to see how good I really was. This would prove to be a major turning point in my career, but I wasn’t to know that then.
I started training with Lennox Blackmoore, who had fought the great Aaron Pryor. At the time he trained two world champions, in Vivian Harris and Wayne Braithwaite. He also worked with future champion Elio Rojas, who I had some great sparring sessions with. I thrived in the gym and everyone would show me nothing but love.
Harry Keitt was the first trainer there to do some mitt work with me. He was training Dmitriy Salita at the time, and they took me to training camp a year later, in the Pocono’s mountains to help Dmitriy prepare for a fight.
A couple of years later, Harry and I would start working together, with Jihad Abdul Aziz added to the team in the build up to the Danny Garcia fight.
I learned loads at Gleason’s Gym, and sparred some world champions and top contenders. Yuri Foreman, Paul Malignaggi, Joan Guzman, Elio Rojas have all had good careers, and I’ve had the pleasure of sparring them.
After a good few years of training in New York, Las Vegas was the next obvious destination. Floyd Mayweather, Leonard Ellerbe and the rest of the Mayweather promotions team, made me feel at home from I first entered the gym. After training there for three of Floyd’s camps, I was made part of the team. By far the biggest turning point in my career.
Now the hard work begins!
We are now in the final part of training. Nothing but hard work now. We are all ready and sharp for September 14th.
I sparred highly touted prospect, Daquan Arnett, at the Magic show at the Mandalay Bay on Tuesday, as part of the promotion for my fight on September 14th. There was a couple hundred fans watching us spar, followed by Floyd working out with Roger Mayweather on the pads.
Floyd and the Mayweather fighters were there to promote ‘The One’ card and the ‘Money Team’ clothing line.
Rappers Rick Ross, Tyga, French Montana and Jim Jones were all in attendance at the Magic show, due to it being a huge networking event for clothing companies. It was great to see that Ted Baker, my clothing partner, were in attendance.
We put in an extra shift up Mount Charleston on Tuesday, to go along with our weekly run on Saturday. We are really in great shape. The altitude is tough on our lungs, and the mountain is hard on our legs. If it isn’t hard, it isn’t worthwhile.
Over the last two weeks I have done interviews with BBC Sport, The Metro newspaper, Mail Online and BT Sport. The love from the British media and fans has been genuine and great. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Next week will see me do interviews with The London Evening Standard, ZOO magazine, TalkSport and The Mirror newspaper.
Later in the week I sparred with junior middleweight world champion, Ishe Smith, it is always high quality work and very intense!
On Saturday I got in some explosive sparring with welterweight Cortez Bey, brother to Mickey Bey. Mayweather Boxing Club is filled with some very good fighters, all on their own quest to be the best.
This week saw me step up my work load with my trainer, Jihad Abdul Aziz working with Nate Jones to push me hard. What doesn’t break you will only make you stronger. Jihad will head back to New York this week, and Harry Keitt will replace him here for the final two weeks.
This was the second birthday in a row that I spent in training camp. Last year I was in Scotland sparring with world champion, Ricky Burns. I helped him prepare for his domestic clash with Kevin Mitchell, which he was victorious in.
This year I’m in camp for a career defining fight against Pablo Cesar Cano. The celebrations can wait until after September 14th.
I started at the bottom. Now I’m here!
I’ve officially been a member of Mayweather Promotions for just over two weeks now – and it feels great!
My fight with Pablo Cesar Cano has been signed and sealed for September 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
I’m the PPV opener for Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather vs. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez showdown. Which is a huge honour and a huge responsibility, handed to me by Leonard Ellerbe and Floyd himself.
My fight will be followed by my team mate, and world champion, Ishe Smith, as he defends his world title against Carlos Molina. My former opponent, who is currently world champion, Danny Garcia will face the dangerous Lucas Matthysse in the co-main event.
Then the fight everybody has been waiting for – “Mayweather-Canelo” will happen. This is the best PPV card that I can remember, by a long way – I might be just that little bit biased, but it’s a brilliant card. Floyd already holds the record for most PPV ‘buys’ for his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, and this looks like beating it.
Over the last two weeks I’ve been very busy and challenged, sparring world champions Floyd Mayweather and Ishe Smith, Al Haymon fighter, Dequan Arnett and world title challenger, Arash Usmanee. It is really top level stuff.
I do road work with two world champions in Floyd and Ishe. They both motivate and inspire me. They are never short of words of advice, which is always appreciated.
On Saturday at 6am, the Money team fighters hit Mount Charleston. It is always a hard suffocating run, but one that brings much mental satisfaction once completed.
The Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame evening was hosted by the Monte Carlo hotel and casino, it was a fantastic event. Boxing legends Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes and Earnie Shavers were in-attendance. Legendary promoters Don King and Bob Arum were also there. Floyd won an award for ‘Fighter of the Year’ and Ishe Smith was presented with an award for being the first Las Vegas born fighter to win a world title belt.
One half of my coaching team from New York City, Jihad Abdul Aziz arrived in Las Vegas to assist Nate Jones in getting me primed and ready for September 14th. He’s been here a week and we’ve been putting in hard and quality work.
Those at the top of the mountain didn’t just fall there. Putting in hard work and believing in yourself, especially when many people doubt you, will see you achieve your dreams or at least create opportunities.
It’s been a long hard road to the top of this particular mountain, but to have the number one boxer in the world recognize my talent, and present me with such a great opportunity, has made the hard work and dedication all worthwhile.
I must add without René Carayol, this wouldn’t be possible. He also saw my potential, believed in my talent and backed me to help make my dreams reality.
This week saw Ishe Smith, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Carlos Molina, Pablo Cano and I conduct a conference call with the media. Over 30 journalists took part, and it was really great to hear all the fighters sounding confident, as we prepare for the biggest fights of our lives.
Ishe Smith and I did a TV Interview at Fox 5 studios on Friday, it was good fun. We spoke about our careers and promoted the ‘back to school’ drive which happened on Saturday. It was a privilege to be part of a genuine good cause giving to school kids and their parents. As most parents around the world know, it is not cheap to buy your kids the necessary school clothes, laptops, books and pens. I’ve seen just how hard it is for most parents first hand, so helping out and putting a smile on the kids and parents face was so worthwhile.
I finished off the week with a much needed 90 minute sports massage.
Just 4 weeks until ‘The One’ is here in Las Vegas. I’m working as hard as is possibly can, every day. This is the chance of a lifetime.
Prepare for fireworks!