This is my third week as a sparring partner for ‘Money’ Mayweather. It is an honour and a privilege but also hard and challenging work. I sparred with Floyd on his second day in the gym, then for the next two weeks I just worked out and stayed in shape as Floyd went through five of the other sparring partners. You have to always be ready as you won’t know if you are going to work with him until just a couple minutes before stepping into the ring.
On Tuesday 30th I got the call; “Ash, you working today with Champ”. I was really happy to get the call and I was up for it. Some of his other sparring partners seem a little fearful or have just come to accept the fact that they are going to get beaten up. Not me! I’m trying to be the best I can be, so I soak up the whole experience.
Floyd is 44-0 and an all time great! He beats everyone up. There’s just varying levels of beatings. Limiting the damage is what it is all about. After competing with Floyd for full 5 minute rounds, Floyd’s coaching staff tell me “I did well” and the onlookers are impressed.
To know I helped Floyd get victory over Alvarez is a big deal for me. Especially as I’m from London. I’m not supposed to be mixing with the very best, but I am.
Floyd Mayweather, Leonard Ellerbe and the whole of the Mayweather Promotions fighters and staff have shown me love and respect. I used to watch Floyd train via Sky Sports or BoxNation in the UK, but now I’m part of the training camp.
Dreams can come true, but you have to have self-belief to make it a reality.
You can dream about success, but working hard for it is what makes it happen. Every day is an opportunity to get better. Don’t waste it, you control your destiny. You can’t limit your challenges but you have to challenge your limits and keep pushing them. My belief in myself has seen me called ‘deluded and delusional’ in Britain, but in New York City they’ve always believed in my talent, and now Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe do. Believing in yourself when no one else does is a vital trait to achieving your goals. You’ll always have doubters, but if you believe in yourself and have a goal. Go for it! I did and look at me now.
February 23rd is now Ishe ‘Sugar Shay’ Smith day in Las Vegas. I’m very proud of my friend, as he achieved what he has against all odds. Floyd Mayweather made it happen, so he has to take pleasure in helping a fighter achieve his dreams. Next up is me!
Thursday 1st August 2013 is the biggest and proudest day in my 10 year career so far. It is the day that Leonard Ellerbe announced to the rest of the fighters at the team meeting that I was part of Mayweather Promotions.
Later that evening I would go running with Floyd Mayweather and thank him for the opportunity. He shared with me his plans, and what he has in store for me. All the hard work and sacrifice has been worth it. The number one boxer in the world ‘has my back’ and will get me the opportunities to enable me to fulfill my destiny.
On Saturday, Ishe Smith, Ron Gavrill and I did the weekly run up Mount Charleston. It was as hard and unforgiving as always. I now put in the extra half mile which Ishe always does; “champion work” as he calls it.
Afterwards we headed down to Baby Stacks Cafe for breakfast, this week it was my turn to treat the guys, as I’m now officially part of Mayweather Promotions.
Three hours later I was at the Mayweather Boxing Gym. I sparred with Al Haymon’s prospect, Daquan Arnett. He has had stints as sparring partner to WBA Interim champion, Keith Thurman and two time world champion, Andre Berto. Rumours are that he did more than his job and excelled in the sessions. He also sparred Floyd two weeks ago. We had a top quality session and we will work again in the coming weeks.
I ended my week with a swim, yoga session and strength conditioning at the 24 hour fitness centre. Afterwards I had a three hour pampering session, massage, facial, manicure and pedicure. My body is sore from the weeks of hard work.
I’m due to spar world champion Ishe Smith next week. It should be fun, but he warned me “I’m going to take you out in the deep sea and drown you”.
It gets no better than to be sparring not one, but two world champions in preparation for my fight on Saturday 14th September at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“If you want to go fast, then go solo, if you want to go far, be part of a strong team”.
To achieve anything great in life, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. In my tough and unforgiving profession, that tends to mean being prepared to fight in your opponent’s back yard. This dismissing of comfort zones has seen me fight abroad eleven times in five different countries. And vitally, I’ve won in all those countries.
I’ve been coming to America for well over eight years now, and what I’ve achieved so far is what I had set as a target for myself. Now, I have even more to achieve. As Floyd Mayweather always says “I have a fantastic team, and two of the smartest, and best business men in the industry on my team”. Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon are two people Floyd always thanks and acknowledges for the part they have played in his success. Floyd is the best boxer in the world, and the highest paid sportsman in the world. That is no coincidence or fluke.
The sparring performances I put in against two weight world champion Celestino Caballero, the money team’s Mickey Bey, world rated fighters Shawn Porter and Vernon Paris during Floyd’s camp for the Robert Guerrero fight got me a decent upgrade to be one of his sparring partners for his clash with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
This week saw Floyd steam roll through four of his sparring partners. It was an instructive pleasure to watch; blood and sweat flying off their faces, as Floyd tore into them. Floyd knows when to pause for a joke, but he was down to serious business. By paying big attention to the little things makes him the great fighter he is today. He is in great condition, his timing is near perfect, he’s very smart, super-fast and highly skilled. This has taken him a lifetime to get to where he is.
Being around ‘greatness’ on a personal and business level is mind blowing, but at the same time I’ve worked to be where I am and I’ve never been given anything. I have worked hard for everything I achieved; from London to Las Vegas. It has been a fantastic journey.
I’ve been a professional for ten years now. Floyd has been a professional for seventeen years. I’m a baby in this game. I easily have another five years of my career to fulfil my dreams. It’s all about quality fights now.
My three ‘stand out’ fights have been in America against world champion, Danny Garcia, two times world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez, and former world champion, DeMarcus Corley.
Danny is now fighting on the undercard of Floyd’s show against Lucas Matthysse. This will be a really great fight. Delvin Rodriguez will fight the former Floyd Mayweather opponent in November, the legend that is Miguel Cotto – the three weight world champion. DeMarcus Corley has also fought Floyd and gave him a good fight many years ago. ‘Chop Chop’ as Corley is known, has fought some of the world’s best fighters. I may be known as a British champion in the UK, but in the United States of America, I am known for fighting some of their best fighters.
This week saw Floyd do a ‘live stream’ of one of his boxing sessions. I have watched Floyd train five days a week, now fight fans around the world can also share the treat of a unique and special session from one of the greatest fighters ever.
Floyd has also been busy doing interviews promoting the bout. I get to watch some of these live, as I’m with the team in the background. Floyd carries himself well and it is inspirational listening to him.
He is without doubt, the greatest of my time. I wasn’t born when Muhammad Ali was around, and I was a fight fan when Mike Tyson was at his best. To be part of Floyd Mayweather’s team. What can I say “life is more than good”?
Other than boxing training, my week consists of road work around the streets of Las Vegas, strength conditioning and yoga at the 24 hour fitness centre, altitude training up Mount Charleston and sprints at a local track with my coach Nate Jones, who is on Floyd Mayweather’s coaching team. I think he was shocked at my cardiovascular conditioning, as most fighters he takes to the track break down and struggle through it. Not me!
I finished my week of training with world champion, Ishe Smith; we did an intensive session of Bikram yoga for 90 minutes. It’s been nothing, but quality training in Vegas. If it’s not hard, it’s not worthwhile.
Over the weekend I got some great news regarding my next fight. It was timely as it’s my 40th fight. This is also my 10 year anniversary in the professional game, and this year my team and I wanted to do it big and this year has been big. Training with Floyd Mayweather, nothing is bigger than that.
Just like Floyd thanks Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon. I have to thank René Carayol.
It takes hard work to get to where I am, but it is worth it. To compete at the top table in sport you have to be able to motivate and push yourself. There is only so much your team can do for you. They can get you the opportunities then it is up to you to perform.
Setbacks are set ups for comebacks. I always come back bigger and better. Fighting in Las Vegas for my 40th professional is in touching distance.
I’m seriously excited but more importantly, I’m seriously focused.
The King is definitely back! Having had the privilege of spending nine weeks watching and training alongside Floyd Mayweather as he prepared for his previous fight against Robert Guerrero, he is back, and back for a huge blockbuster of a fight that the whole world can’t wait to watch.
Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez who is the WBC and WBA world light middleweight champion is putting his undefeated record on the line against one of the greatest fighters the world has ever seen.
Mayweather verses Canelo could break the PPV record set by Floyd and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Canelo is a massive superstar in his home country of Mexico.
This will be the third training camp that I will have witnessed the great Floyd Mayweather prepare for battle in his unique and special fashion. I was here to see him train for the Miguel Cotto fight back in 2012. And as I mentioned, I was also here for Floyd’s training camp for his last bout against Robert Guerrero. That proximity and friendship led to me being invited out with him and his team to concerts, BBQs, nights out and the fight itself.
The next two months will be incredible!
I spent the last month sparring Mayweather Promotion’s Mickey Bey. He was touted as being next in line for a world title shot until he shockingly lost to John Molina in the tenth round, after winning the fight with a master class of boxing skills. Mickey and I had some intense sparring sessions in 40 degree heat. He will be back just like all talented fighters are.
Badou Jack, Luis Arias and Ron Gavrill all picked up wins for Mayweather Promotions on the undercard.
We regularly run up Mount Charleston together, and I see first-hand the work they put in. It’s a pleasure to watch them succeed in this brutal sport we’ve chosen as our occupation.
I have also had the opportunity to train alongside world champion, Ishe Smith, before he had to pull out of his world title defence because of injury. His new date is to be announced soon, it may even be on the Mayweather/Canelo extravaganza.
Tuesday 16th July 2013 will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life. I sparred with Floyd Mayweather. The months of hard work I’ve put in at the gym paid off, as I was given a chance to step in the ring with one of the greatest boxers ever. Floyd even gave me his own gloves to use, which had ‘Money Mayweather’ embroidered right across them.
When I got in the ring, all I could see was the number one boxer in the sport standing across from me. It was sink or swim time. I loved every single minute of it. Floyd is razor sharp, a defensive master with the most amazing reflexes and has blistering hand speed.
It was an honour to trade punches with him and a memorable moment in my boxing life. I’ve got to where I am in my life with hard work and a never say die attitude. I’m certainly living my dream!
Over the weekend I went to a Ladies American football game at the Orleans Arena, and a bunch of us went out for Ishe Smith’s birthday at a restaurant.
Another extremely productive week is down in Las Vegas. Another one is due to follow.
Push yourself to your limit and when you reach your limit, push past it. That is the only way to find out what you are really capable of.
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali