Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers to ever step foot in a boxing ring and some people even place him on the top spot. As much as he is a divisive figure outside of the ring, once the bell rings Floyd became a relentless master of his craft with no visible flaws.
Mayweather is brash, loud, outspoken, but his moniker “The Best Ever” is backed up by a flawless 50-0 record and accolades that even a diehard hater cannot argue against. And ultimately boxing is not about behavior but about winning, and there is no bigger winner than Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
His incredible career was built upon an immovable block of disciplined training. His philosophy is capsulated in the motto he repeats countless times in the gym and in any public event, two sayings that have become an enchantment for him and his followers – “hard work, dedication”. A simple formula that any aspiring or established boxer should follow.
Mayweather was trained by his father Floyd Sr and his uncle Roger since he laced up his first gloves and together they arguably ruled boxing for over 20 years. Many of the training methods and drills they used are the staple of boxing training, but there are also some details that may come as a surprise and make Floyd stick out from other champions.
Let’s now take a look at the training of the great undefeated champion and undisputed king of money-making in sport.
Running is life
A simple fact is that Mayweather never gassed. He seemed to have unending cardio that allowed him to use all of his skills in the ring without worrying about his gas tank at all.
An important aspect of his outstanding cardio is his road work – a constant companion in every boxer’s life. However, Floyd took this a bit further and ran 5-10 miles every single day. Or in fact, at night. There are many stories recalling Floyd getting out of the club late at night and running back to his house. He became famous for running and training at whatever hours he pleased, not following any specific time regimen.
If you need some more proof of how seriously Mayweather treated his road work here is a famous quote from Zab Judah, whom Floyd beat in 2006, but later took in as a sparring partner in his preparation for the mega-fight against Manny Pacquiao.
“The way he works is different. He put the work ethic on top of being talented. I had a chance to work with him for the Pacquiao fight and got to see how he trained,” Judah recounted.
“We’d pull off four or five-hour gym sessions, right from the gym session, leave there and then go for a run for ten miles. We’d go home and lay down and he’ll call you again, like two or three in the morning, and say ‘Yo, what’s up, let’s go running. He outworked everybody.”Zab Judah
Running may be essential, but it’s definitely not enough to reach the conditioning levels he reached. Another staple of Floyd’s training was the skipping rope. Another tried and tested exercise from the old days, Floyd turned this simple exercise into a thing of beauty.
He would often use the rope as a warmup and would bust out 10–15-minute rounds, most of the time with ankle weights. Double unders, triple unders, cross jumps and other advanced exercises made his routine a pleasure to watch. And judging by the expression with which he did it, he honestly enjoyed the jump rope. Even with 5-pound ankle weights, he looks like he was floating above the ground.
Aside from the specific training Mayweather also likes to play basketball with his teammates. He’s even been seen to participate in many charity basketball games over the years.
Most viral training videos around the internet were taken after Floyd had become “Money” Mayweather, but judging by the footage from his “Pretty Boy” years. It’s easy to see that his training remained largely unchanged throughout his career, he just found what works and took it to perfection.
After Floyd became a superstar, it became even clearer that he thrives under the spotlight. On the open workouts, there was always a crowd of 50 or 60 people watching him perfecting the craft and pointing cameras at him.
Most exercises were done in an extended nonstop fashion. Even the breaks he took, were spent talking and dancing. If there was a time Floyd was tired, it was never around camera rolling nearby.
What made Floyd special was not extraordinary punching power, or blinding speed, or any other physical attribute. Mayweather remained undefeated because of his otherworldly skills. He was a defensive mastermind and used a defensive counter-punching style that got him to get hit as little as possible. He took the age-old motto of “hit and not get hit” to the highest level. This is why he also maintained his level all the way to 40 years of age. Read about the science behind the shoulder roll here)
Let’s look at how he sharpened his boxing skills.
Shadowboxing was a vital part of Floyd’s routine just like it’s for any other boxer. He would switch between weighted and weightless shadowboxing and would often do 15 minutes without any rests. Many coaches today advise against punching with weights, but Mayweather frequently did it.
Shadowboxing has to be one of the most underrated training techniques for boxing and especially for those that are beginners. Read more about how it can help you here.
The heavy bag is the best friend of any boxer and is indispensable in building power and endurance in your punches. “Money” is frequently trained on it, but from what we’ve seen he has a bit of different approach than most. He would often do long rounds of 15 minutes without any rest. But he didn’t blast the bag full force all the time. He would just flow from strike to strike endlessly.
Another great exercise for building endurance is his alternating cadence between light shots and haymakers. Alternating the cadence of the punches is a great way to confuse the enemy as opposed to hitting with the same tempo and force in every strike, so this is great for both technique training and stamina building. Check out Precision Striking demonstrating this in his training video below:
Visualizing an opponent while hitting the heavy bag is a very powerful training method. Many famous boxers and trainers strongly recommend for everyone to learn this technique. While I haven’t encountered an instance where Floyd says it explicitly, looking at his laser-focused expression while battering the bag, I am pretty sure he is visualizing a real opponent in front of him.
While some sparring sessions were viewed by crowds in the gym, the prime of his fight preparation was heavily guarded behind closed doors. There are many stories and may I say myths, surrounding his sparring sessions. There are videos of Floyd sparring and humiliating world-class boxers and rising prospects, while also talking smack to them. After all, humility is one of the last qualities, you’d associate Mayweather with.
But the bulk of his sessions was cut from the public eyes and with a strict restriction of filming. According to Mayweather’s former training partner Dmitriy Salita, at times Floyd sparred in 4-minute rounds with just 15 seconds rest in between which is brutal.
Other sparring partners like Denis Douglin recall 20-30 minutes sparring sessions without any clock running. (Read here to find out more)
Everything Floyd does is calculated and serves a purpose. His open workouts garner a lot of attention, but his closed doors sessions are even more interesting because they add to the intrigue and rumors, exaggerating his legend even more.
The constant trash-talking during sparring sessions was not saved only for the cameras. All of his sparring partners testify that he does not stop talking during sparring taunting his opponents. And to use the words of longtime foe and friend Zab Judah in front of the ESPN:
“When he trains, he lines up like 15 to 20 sparring partners at a time. I’ve known him since we were amateurs. He’s always done over and beyond what the job consists of. You can’t beat someone who’s not going to get tired.”Zab Judah
You can only expect such astounding feats in the gym from “The Best Ever” in the ring.
Pad work unlike any other
If there is one thing that sets Floyd Mayweather’s training aside from other boxers it’s his patented pad work with his uncle Roger Mayweather. Resembling a choreographed sequence more in line with karate. The two flowed in an endless combination of punches without uttering a word to each other. The two had such synchrony that it may seem as they are using telepathy to predict each other’s movements. I have to say that the work of Roger, who sadly passed away in 2020, is even more impressive than that of his nephew.
Many have debated the actual merit of this method of using the pads. In my opinion, this does not bring much value to other boxer and trainer duos, but it does indeed seem impressive when the Mayweathers do it. And you can’t argue against the accolades Floyd achieved and this peculiar pad work definitely helped him get there.
Strength and conditioning
Floyd is certainly not known for any exceptional physical gifts, other than his never-ending stamina. An often-overlooked aspect of fight endurance is breathing. Often you will see fighters breathing out of their mouths, but Floyd always breathes through his nose. It was interesting to see him chew bubble gum all the time while hitting a bag or pads, but how this helped him is beyond my understanding.
As far as strength and conditioning goes, I haven’t seen Floyd do anything fancy. Just like with the rest of his training (except the flashy pad work) he uses classic bodyweight exercises to build his body, but just does an otherworldly amount of them.
5000 sits up a day done in a few different ways, followed by a medicine ball to the stomach that takes care of Floyd’s core. The ab roller has also been a constant companion of his ab work.
Countless push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and squats kept his muscles in prime condition. In today’s fitness world of endless possibilities of machines, exercises, and methods, Floyd chooses the most basic exercises that have proven themselves in time. While Mayweather may not be physically imposing, I’ve never seen even bigger men being able to handle him and throw him around the ring.
Diet and recovery
Most boxers follow a strict dieting regimen even when out of camp. Floyd found a way to “cheat” the system. Or at least that’s what he says. Mayweather does not cut weight before weighing in and maintains a weight within 3 to 4 pounds of his divisions limit. Because of that, he can often be seen eating big macs and drinking Pepsi. I have a very serious doubt that this is the reality of his pre-fight diet, no athlete can maintain the elite form Floyd has (and actually still is in his retirement) by eating junk every day. This was more of a show, like many of his other antics.
Actually, Mayweather had a personal chef that had to prepare special meals with only organic products including all kinds of meat, seafood, broccoli, fruit juices, and many other things. A solid diet is a must for every boxer and it surely helped Mayweather keeps his body fresh and agile even in his 40s. But deciding to fight closer to his natural weight Floyd definitely had the freedom to get away with eating a hot dog or two.
Aside from the standard recovery protocols, later in his career, we’ve seen Floyd use Cryotherapy (see above). This procedure is done by exposing the body to temperatures of -220 degrees via liquid nitrogen in a special chamber. The cryo sessions last 90 seconds to 3 minutes and help enrich the blood, expel toxins and thus quicken recovery. After we first saw Floyd use the innovative cryotherapy back in 2015, today many athletes from major sports like football and basketball are using it as well.
Check out my article for more recovery methods for boxers here.
Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather will without a doubt remain one of the greatest boxers in history. His brash persona and off-ring antics may fool a layman that he is just arrogant, but make no mistake about it, he lived and breathed by his motto “hard work and dedication”.
Even now, in his 40s, he still lives a very active lifestyle and has that same championship mentality, as was shown in his after-retirement exhibition bouts against Tenshin Nasukawa and Logan Paul. While the ethics of these matches are very debatable, Mayweather still showcased a world-class level of preparation and skill. So you will do well to steal a page or two of his disciplined training regime into your own.
See more boxing training advice by visiting the link here or related useful articles below:
- Top 10 Exercises To Improve Hand Speed For Boxing
- 10 Exercises To Improve Your Reflexes For Boxing
- Shadow Boxing Exercises For Home Or The Gym
- 10 Exercises To Increase Your Punch Power For Boxing
- Simple Boxing Workout Routines For Home
- 6 Key Boxing Defensive Techniques – Hit And Don’t Get Hit
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