By Chris Robinson
On Friday night, inside of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, aspiring middleweight Luis ‘Cuba’ Arias kept his career momentum going with a six-round decision over Philadelphia’s Latif Mundy that saw his record rise to 6-0 with 3 stoppages.
Arias came out of the gates strong, ripping Mundy with some telling shots to the body and head, but soon realized that he would be in for a longer night than expected given his opponent’s grit and experience.
With another victory under his belt, Arias will have little time to rest, as he seems all but set to begin helping his boss Floyd Mayweather in training for his Sept. 14 clash with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Arias shared this information with me a few days before the Mundy bout during media day inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club in advance of the Mickey Bey-John Molina Jr./Badou Jack-Farah Ennis Showtime double header that he fought underneath.
“It’s been excellent,” Arias would say of seeing Mayweather’s return to training this past week. “It always feels good to see Floyd back in the gym. He brings a certain type of energy to the gym. You know, he’s Floyd Mayweather.
“But I’ve been blessed again to be a part of his camp as well,” Arias added. “I’m going to be a part of his camp again, sparring with him and working with him again, getting him ready for that. I’m looking forward to that and I’m ready. This is a big fight; potential pay per view breaker, potential biggest fight in history. I’m ready to see what’s going to happen and I’m ready to go through the process.”
This isn’t anything new to the 23-year old Milwaukee native, as Arias helped Mayweather get ready for his May 2012 clash with Miguel Cotto.
And while Arias is now looked at as one of Mayweather Promotions’ rising talents, a flash back some sixteen months offered a different story, as he was then unsigned and just getting used to the transition of life in Las Vegas following a bold move to the city in hopes of jumpstarting his professional career.
“I was still an amateur at the time when that happened,” Arias reflected. “In my life it was a little tough time before that happened. Some things had happened between me and the USA Boxing Organization that didn’t allow me to try out for the Olympics, so I was kind of forced to turn pro a little earlier than expected.”
Through Arias’ mentor Hasim Rahman, a longtime Mayweather friend, he was set up with the opportunity to put in some work with Floyd.
At the time, Arias was a fresh face to the gym and outside of J’Leon Love, who he had been sparring at the nearby H.I.T. Factory, he really didn’t know anyone inside of the facility.
“I kind of came in as an outsider,” Arias admitted. “[Floyd] knew of me, he started talking smack, he started saying such and such about me, how I was still an amateur and he doesn’t spar amateurs.
“I told him ‘Look, this is my opportunity, just give me a shot. You don’t have to sign me, you don’t have to spar me again; just give me an opportunity.’” Arias stated.
About a week and a half later, Arias’ moment finally came.
“It was my time,” Arias stated. “It was my opportunity to show what I have. He saw that I could fight and I gave him excellent work. I sparred with him like I was sparring anybody else and we were going at it. I was able to showcase my talent to him first hand.”
After testing each other inside of the ring, so too did Arias’ bond with Mayweather grow outside of the ropes. An eventual move to join Mayweather’s promotional stable was inevitable.
“I guess he liked it,” said Arias. “We talked a little bit and he said ‘I want to help you out’ and I said ‘I would love it. It would be an honor to be one of your fighters.’ Everything else is history.”