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April 17, 2014

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BOXING:

Father is back in Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s corner

Ice thawed, Mayweathers enjoying camp

Image

Steve Marcus

Floyd Mayweather Sr., left, holds a heavy bag for his son Floyd Jr. during a workout Tuesday at the Mayweather Boxing Club. After a period of some tension between the two, the father is helping his son as a kind of informal adviser. “He doesn’t have a name to what he is,” Mayweather Jr. said. “He’s just my father. He’s there to support me.”

It Is a Family Reunion

After a nine-year estrangement, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have reunited for Junior's September 19 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.

One for the "Money"

Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with the media as he prepares to come back to boxing for the first time in two years. Mayweather Jr. fights Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday, September 19th at the MGM Grand.

Mayweather Training

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, works on his timing with his uncle Roger Mayweather during a workout in his gym Thursday, June 11, 2009.  Launch slideshow »

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If You Go

  • What: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), 12 scheduled rounds
  • When: Sept. 19
  • Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • Tickets: $150-$1,000, mgmgrand.com
  • TV: HBO pay-per-view, $49.95

Floyd Mayweather Sr. looked and sounded tired and acknowledged he felt a bit rundown.

It was late on the night that Mayweather’s fighter, Ricky Hatton, had scored an 11th-round technical knockout of Paulie Malignaggi in November at the MGM Grand.

Even fresh off the victory, Mayweather was not in a celebratory mood. Instead, he was detailing his plan to urge Hatton to kick his long-cherished habit of drinking between fights — perhaps foreshadowing the rocky training camp that preceded Hatton’s next fight, which culminated in a second-round knockout at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather also discussed his struggle with the pulmonary disease sarcoidosis, with which he had been diagnosed several years ago. The illness was leading to frequent bouts of coughing, Mayweather said, and could ultimately curtail his career as one of boxing’s leading trainers.

Flash ahead, nearly a year, to one day last week at Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s boxing gym in Chinatown, where the younger Mayweather — Little Floyd — is preparing for his showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Mayweather Sr., back in his son’s camp after a chilly relationship between the two had thawed, appeared lean and fit in a trademark flashy get-up. His health problems have not left him, Mayweather said, though he is making a game effort to keep them at bay.

“My health is not good, but my attitude is,” Mayweather Sr. said while watching his son work out in the ring. “It’s something I deal with every day of my life. But I know I can take it. I know I can live with it.

“Every day when I get out of bed, I make the decision that I’m going to focus only on the positive, not the negative. That’s how I can handle it, by staying positive.”

The onset of the illness had little to do with the father-and-son reunion, as Mayweather Sr. tells it. Both Mayweathers insist their differences have been blown out of proportion, a symptom of the media attention that accompanies a boxer who’s often touted as the best in the world. For what it’s worth, their statements on the matter seem to come from the heart and do not have the feel of a deliberately crafted public relations campaign.

“Anybody can have an argument,” Mayweather Sr. said. “Anybody can have a fight. Our family’s no different. The difference is our family is in the light right now. After that day is over, you won’t hear about it anymore. You’ll be talking about somebody else.”

He and his son both had some growing up to do, and they did it, Mayweather Sr. added. He’s satisfied with his current role as a sort of aide-de-camp to lead trainer Roger Mayweather, his brother and Floyd Jr.’s uncle.

“He doesn’t have a name to what he is,” Mayweather Jr. said. “He’s just my father. He’s there to support me. And my dad understands that Roger’s my trainer. But I love when my dad comes down to the boxing gym and supports me. Who wouldn’t want their mother or their father to support them?”

As he did when he trained Oscar De La Hoya — whose company is co-promoting Saturday’s fight — Mayweather Sr. has been evangelizing on the importance of establishing the jab, throwing combinations of punches behind the jab and developing defensive moves based on the jab.

“That’s what this fight is going to be all about,” Mayweather Sr. said. “He’s going to be working the jab overtime.”

De La Hoya is among those predicting an upset victory by Marquez — as it happens, based on Marquez’s ability to fire off triple and quadruple jabs, according to De La Hoya.

An unscientific online poll conducted by Yahoo! revealed 51 percent of nearly 55,000 respondents think Mayweather will win; 46 percent think Marquez will win; and 3 percent project a draw. That picture differs wildly from the outcome suggested by the odds on the fight in Las Vegas sports books, where Mayweather is better than a 4 1/2-1 favorite.

“I think Little Floyd can go in there and give Marquez a good whooping,” Mayweather Sr. said. “I mean a real good whooping.”

It would be a gratifying result for Little Floyd’s father, coming so soon after a gratifying reconciliation with his son.

“It’s been a long time,” Mayweather Sr. said. “But it’s a beautiful thing, man.”

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