MAYWEATHER-MOSLEY: Do Family Matters Matter?

BY Michael Woods ON April 12, 2010
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Fathers training their sons to fight--it can be a recipe for a heart-warming storyline about family bonds, or, more frequently, a surefire path to relationship combustion.

The dynamic makes some sense at the start; who better to make sure your offspring is watched over with care and passion than dad? But as a boxers career takes off, the dynamic gets muddier. Bigger money can mean interfamilial squabbling over purses. Dad can take umbrage at being paid like an employee.

Hey, son, Im family; dont I deserve the family rate of compensation?

And when a marquee boxer starts to slip, it can be hard for dad to acknowledge this; after all, dad is too often living vicariously through the son, and will often be more stubborn in evaluating a sons level of decline than an unrelated person would.

Daddy issues are a considerable subplot in the May 1 Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley welterweight tangle. Jack Mosley brought son Shane from diapers to the top of the pound for pound heap, while Floyd Mayweather handed over all his genetic gifts and pugilistic tips to his kid. Both dads have experienced rifts with their sons, stemming from boxing-related issues. Might those complicated relationships affect the result come May 1?

Looks to me like there might be some unacknowledged tension lingering in the Mosley family circle. Last week, Jack Mosley during a conference call didnt exactly brim with enthusiasm when asked about Naazim Richardson, who is working for the second time with son Shane, leading up to the May 1 Mosley-Floyd Mayweather clash.

Do you not have an opinion about Nazim as a trainer? Papa Jack was asked.

No, I dont, not really, Shanes dad said. Hes a trainer. He trained Bernard, and now hes training Shane, but Shanes already been trained. I dont know what hes doing with Shane, but I know when Shane fights he fights the way Ive trained him to fight.

If indeed Jack Mosley harbors some slight ill will over the fact that Shane has chosen Richardson over his dad, that would be understandable. Think about it--if Mosley beats Mayweather, one of the story lines to the upset win would be the revitalizing effect Richardson has had on Mosley. Papa Jacks lifelong tutelage would get lost in the shuffle. Sounds like hes aware of this potential development.

Shane already knows how to fight, Jack insisted.Ive trained him from age 8 up to now. Thats 30 years, and so if he doesnt know how to fight now, he never will. I dont think anybody can train him to fight any different. He already knows how to fight. If Shane at this point wanted someone else to train him, well, fine. Hes a grown man, and I stand behind him. If he asked me to train him, would I train him again? Well, yes. Thats my son. Im going to do whatever my son wants me to do to help him in his career. Thats where Im at with it. Right now Im in a fathers role, and Ill support him as his father.

On Monday, WBA welterweight champion Mosley spoke about the effect Richardson has had on him. Was he speaking in response to dads quotes from the week before?

Naazim has definitely reenergized my career, Sugar Shane said.He is one of the hardest working trainers in the business. You can find him in the middle of the night watching film so that he knows the other fighter inside out. Its all about strategy with Naazim and Im confident with him as my trainer going into this fight.
Tension in the Mayweather family circle has been documented ad neauseum. Floyd Sr and Floyd Jr have engaged in a war of words, mainly through media intermediaries, since the son dumped the dad as trainer in 2000, and hired his uncle Roger in his dads place. But for now, the clan is keeping a lid on the tempest.
How much are you in the camp right now? Sr was asked on conference call last week.

Im in the camp every day, he answered.

No blast about feeling left out, about how many has warped his son, or about how he, not his brother Rog, is the best trainer in the game.

Are you consulted anymore for this fight for strategy purposes since you have experience specifically putting together a game plan for fighting Shane? Sr was asked.

The only thing I can tell you, is everythings going real good in the camp now, and Floyds looking very sharp....I would be lying to you to tell you that Im not happy to be back with my son. I love my son. Thats my blood. My blood runs deep. Thats my son, and there isnt anything that I wouldnt do for him because thats why right now as soon as I get through ... gym, Im at my sons gym because my sons first.

The trainer/father, as is so often the case, is so tangled up with the fighter/son on so many levels, emotionally, financially, with buried elements of jealousy, and competitiveness, factored in. Does all this turbulence actually matter, come fight time? Or do the fighters shrug it all off, and just get down to business? Hard to say. Really, impossible to know. Youd have to attach Mosley and Mayweather to polygraphs, during a family therapy session, to get a true sense of how patriarchal issues truly touch them. Around midnight on May 1, well get a better sense of how family matters did or didnt factor in.

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