("Minced martial arts is great. I watch it all the time.")
The father of IBO, IBA, IBF and WBC welterweight and WBC super welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Junior, Senior has trained several top boxers including his son, Oscar De La Hoya, Leila Ali, Ricky Hatton, Joan Guzman and Chad Dawson.
“Joy” says that when “The Prodigy” first showed up at his gym, his nickname didn’t seem to be an accurate description of the Hilo, Hawaii native’s fighting prowess, but with a few days of his tutelage, Penn picked up a lot.
“BJ Penn is a cool dude, man. I’ll be honest, at first, it didn’t seem like he could fight that good. I mean, I don’t know about his ground game and all of that stuff, but he’s got some pop and in just the three days I’ve been working with him, he has improved, man,” he says. “In his words, man, he told me, ‘I ain’t never seen some of this stuff you’re showing me, man.’ And that’s only after three days. BJ is learning fast, man. He’s a good guy.”
(Video courtesy BJPenn.com)
According to Mayweather, a former colleague who is now Penn’s strength and conditioning coach and the boxing trainer of Strikeforce standout KJ Noons facilitated the pairing.
“Well, you know his strength and conditioning coach is Robert Garcia. Robert was Oscar [De la Hoya]’s strength coach when I was with him, so he brought BJ down and we doing some stuff together,” explains Mayweather. “He was only supposed to be down here for a week, but he said he’s learning so much that he’s gonna stay two. If they really want him to win this thing and look good, I would like to have him for three to four weeks, but trust me, the stuff I’m showing him in these two weeks will work if he uses it…trust me.”
Mayweather says that two of the main things they worked on were adjusting BJ’s stand-up to help him deal with a larger opponent like Fitch and tweaking Penn’s style to be more like a boxer’s – two areas that he thinks will pay dividends in his next fight.
“I heard [Fitch] is about six foot tall and cuts a good bit of weight to make 170 pounds, but guess what? If BJ throws his shots the way I got him throwing his shots, he will win. See, those guys throwing shots different than the way we do it, so I’m teaching BJ how to keep it standing and be effective,” he says. “Let me tell you something, man, if he uses it, then it will work…I got BJ working on something just for a taller opponent. I don’t know what BJ’s ground game is like at all, but if he uses what I’m showing him, he won’t need it. Trust me when I tell you now.”
As far as training MMA fighters goes, Mayweather says that he embraces the opportunity to share his expertise, just don’t ask him to name the difference between an armbar or a triangle because he says he’s about as knowledgeable as Gus Johnson when it comes to that area of expertise.
“I work with a couple [MMA fighters] now and I’m all for it,” he explains. “I don’t know shit about that ground stuff, but I can get their defense tight and get them throwing their shots right..”
FMS couldn’t get through the interview without throwing a jab at his arch nemesis, Freddie Roach who Penn spent time with in the past and who De La Hoya opted to train with over him for his 2007 showdown with “Pretty Boy” Floyd.
“I bet [BJ] ain’t going back [to Freddie Roach] either,” Mayweather Sr. asserts. “He worked with Freddie “The Joke Coach” Roach and he telling me he has never seen the stuff I’m showing him, so what does that tell you? Man, the only thing Freddie Roach can do better than me is wash my car.”