It was the phone call Floyd Schofield Sr. didn’t expect to get, but when he got it, he knew what he had to do. He had to come get his son, Floyd Jr.
“His grandmother called me to go pick him up and said he was in foster care,” he said. “So I took the steps. When I was young, my mom and dad got divorced and my mother sent me with my dad. And my dad couldn't deal with kids and he left me in the system. I didn't want Floyd to go through that. His mother gave him up to foster care because she didn't want to take care of kids because she had four other kids, and that's the main reason I had to do it. I had to break the cycle.”
Floyd Jr. was two years old at the time, Sr. was an A&R rep in the music business, and all of a sudden, nothing was ever going to be the same for either of them. Not that they’re complaining.
“Floyd helped me change my life,” said Sr. “Just having a child, I had to slow down, I had to get a normal job, I couldn't do the A&Ring anymore, so he helped me change a lot.”
Sixteen years later, Schofield Jr. is one of the most intriguing prospects in boxing, 5-0 with five knockouts, a sparring partner with the likes of Devin Haney and Shakur Stevenson, and that rare fighter who already has the “It” factor before he’s even reached the next level of his career.
But it wasn’t easy getting here, even though Schofield has made it look that way thus far.
Once dad got custody of his son, he got the “normal” job a judge suggested he get in order to stay off the road the music biz had him on, but when that job didn’t allow him to make ends meet, father and son were homeless for a spell as Sr. did what was necessary to take care of them both.
When life finally settled down and with no more music business craziness to keep Schofield Sr. occupied, it was the boxing gym that filled his free time, and as he hit the bags, Floyd Jr. was right there with him.
“I don't think he wanted me to box,” said Jr. “I was a baby and I'd see him training and doing his stuff, so I just picked it up and started punching bags as a kid, running around the gym and I just stuck with it.”
So he was that annoying kid interrupting everyone as they worked out?
“I think so, I think I was,” laughed the 18-year-old. “I'm like that now.”
Sr. saw something in his son, though, even at that young age, and he knew boxing was something he could give him that had the possibility of making sure he would never have to struggle or worry about money as an adult.
“That's all I knew,” said Schofield Sr. “That's the only trade I could give him that I knew he could make money off of, whether as a coach or as a fighter. So I got him into that and kind of passed down the trade because my dad, who was a professional fighter, passed the trade down to me. Just watching him blossom from that, and watching him train and fight in the gym, people would come up, saying, 'He's gonna be a champion one day.' We knew he had a gift that most kids didn't have.”
Jr. also had a maturity beyond his years, even as a child.
“He grew up in boxing gyms and he was homeschooled, so he grew up always talking to mature people and was always around adults, so I think it came from that,” said Sr., who had his son in the ring at the age of eight. Add in moves from New Jersey to Atlanta, and now Austin, and father did everything possible to give his son the best shot at being successful.
And here we are. After a solid amateur run, Schofield Jr. is now five fights into a pro career that has already seen him calling out WBC lightweight titlist Haney even though he is still facing the type of opposition fighters with less than 10 pro fights face. But this is 2021 and that’s what young folks do these days. It may be the only “teenage” thing Schofield Jr. does.
“He has his moments when he wants to do teenage stuff, but he grew up studying and practicing boxing, so most of the influences that a normal teenager would go through, I don't have to face,” said Sr. “He don't hang out anywhere - he never got to experience that. It was just home, gym, studying and boxing. So it's been fairly easy, but like most teenage boys, he wants to eat everything in the refrigerator (Laughs), so we have to lock it up sometimes.”
From the other side of this duo, what does Jr. believe he’s given up to chase his dreams as a pro boxer?
“Everything,” he chuckles. “Not having friends, not being able to eat what I want, watch what I want, girlfriends, other teenager stuff. Of course, when I get my break after the fight I can do little things, but my dad programmed me since I was like a baby on what to do and what not to do and how to be disciplined, so I feel like everything came from him and he taught me everything.”
That’s got to be gratifying for a father to hear that from his son. It’s usually around this time that teenagers rebel and either get into trouble or want to do their own thing their own way. In boxing, it usually takes a little longer with father-son teams, but for now, Sr. is enjoying the ride and embracing the opportunity to watch his son chase greatness.
“I take the chance to sit back and thank God for allowing me to be able to experience this,” said Schofield Sr. “Just to be around a kid like him is something, and not just because he's my child, but to watch him grow up always wanting to be the greatest boxer of all-time manifest. I never seen a guy with five fights get as much attention as little Floyd is getting. This whole journey has been kind of weird like that for me. So I'm just waiting to see how it unfolds, but I thank God all the time for blessing me to be able to be there to experience it.”
Greatness. It’s reserved for a select few, and if “Kid Austin” has that in him, we won’t know in his next appearance on June 19 or in the next year or the next several years. That’s a long-term proposition and there are more ways for that quest to go awry than there are for it to succeed. But at 18, everything and anything is possible.
“I wouldn't necessarily say the money (is why I box), but I do have a family to feed, and I've got family to get out of certain areas,” said Jr. “But not only that, I want people to know who I am, and know that I was great at something before I pass on. I feel like the glory is really what I want. Trust me, if I could have the money and the glory without the fame and the crazy fans, I would, but it comes with it. I want the legacy.”
A lot is going to change in the coming years for “Kid Austin” and that’s a given in this sport. But as good as he can get, dad will always be dad on fight night.
“I never take dad out of it,” said Schofield Sr. “I'm scared to death every fight. (Laughs) And I know my son don't even get hit like that, and I'm still scared to death. I look like I'm cool, but I'll be ready to faint. I'll be going through it because that's my child. But through the practice of all these tournaments from when he was a kid, I learned to hide it more.”
He laughs, knowing that the nerves will be there in full force in a couple weeks. As for Jr., there’s none of that.
“I'm calm because I know what I've done in training,” he said. “I know I'm in shape, and what's the worst that can happen in the fight, so I'm already mentally prepared for it. I feel like nobody should be worried before their fight if they know that they were disciplined and dedicated and did what they had to do.”
Yin and Yang…18 years and counting.