By Chris Robinson
On Tuesday, Floyd Mayweather once again captured the attention of the boxing world when it was revealed that he had inked a record-breaking six-fight deal with Showtime PPV.
Coming in hand with the announcement was the confirmation of interim WBC welterweight champion Robert Guerrero as his May 4th opponent when he steps back into the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for his next ring assignment.
Coming off of decision victories of two bruising welterweights in Andre Berto and Selcuk Aydin, Guerrero will figure to give Mayweather a spirited battle despite the heavy odds that will see him as the underdog.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes in Las Vegas, Mayweather’s camp is already taking shape.
Having engaged in a routine sparring session with welterweight prospect Joseph Elegele (13-1, 10 KO’s) a few weeks back, Mayweather has told the 28-year old lefty that he will be using him this camp in preparation for Guerrero.
Elegele is a man of few words while training, but he’s been a welcome addition to the gym due to his skills, work ethic, and the respect that he shows to the sport.
Growing up in Melbourne, Florida, Elegele came from a crowded household and recalls getting into a lot of scuffles as a youth. At the age of 11 he approached his mother and pleaded with her to take him to a gym for a better way to vent his frustrations.
Elegele would end up calling University Boxing his home away from home as his journey in the sport took off.
“I got gloves and she signed me up,” Elegele recalls. “I never left there.”
Over time, Elegele would form a bond with junior middleweight prospect Daquan Arnett from Orlando and also speaks highly of a few camps he shared with him and Berto in Winter Haven.
Elegele won his first 12 bouts, 10 of them ending within the distance, before suffering an eight-round technical-decision loss to Aaron Martinez in July of 2011.
Without wanting to make excuses, you can tell that Elegele simply didn’t feel himself that evening in Cabazon, Calif.
“I learned a lot from that fight,” Elegele admits. “You live and you learn. I wasn’t in the best shape for that fight, but me being a fighter, I’m going to come and fight regardless."
Now lined up for a March 9th return against Javier Molina (12-1, 5 KO’s) in Costa Mesa, Calif., Elegele first got a taste of life in Vegas when he fought inside of Hard Rock this past June, winning an eight-round split-decision over Lanard Lane.
One month later and Elegele returned to the city but he admits that he didn’t know exactly where he was going to end up.
“I knew I was coming to Vegas but I didn’t know what gym I was going to be training at,” stated Elegele. “It just so happened I started hearing about Mayweather’s gym and I started going there.
“It’s a good experience,” Elegele continued of his time inside of the gym. “They’re very good people to work with and I’m sparring people from Europe, all over the world. It’s been a good mix of people I have been sparring with. That experience there, you can’t get enough.”
For fighters inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club, studying the movements of Floyd both in and out of the ring has become habit-forming.
So too does Elegele pay his respect to the five-division world champion.
“Floyd, he’s a very, very smart dude,” Elegele stated. “He knows the game in and out. He’s been on top for a long time. He knows what moves to make. He’s a very smart dude. We had a quick sparring session, but while it lasted it was real nice. I learned a lot from it.”
Anyone who has witnessed a Mayweather training camp can attest to the kind of commitment that Floyd has in training and Elegele is anticipating a whole new experience.
“I’m expecting the best work,” Elegele stated. “I know it’s going to be tough work. I’m expecting a tough camp and I’m expecting to learn a lot.”