“The guy only has 8 fights, but he has an extensive amateur background; kind of like a Lomachenko. He had 300 and something amateur fights and won the World Games and different tournaments and stuff like that, so he could easily fight at the highest level and that’s what he did...I have never seen anyone work harder than this guy; maybe Floyd. Maybe just as hard, but not harder. He is the only guy that I seen that works just as hard as this kid does,” stated Jeff Mayweather, world-class trainer of flyweight Muhammad Waseem, who talked about their upcoming title shot. Check it out!
PC: July 15th, you said it best, it’s been a long time since you have had a fighter fighting for a world title. How has training been with Muhammad Waseem and what has the process to get to this point been like for you guys?
JM: Basically, this is a situation that kind of evolved out of nowhere. I don’t even know what happened. It’s funny because I was reaching out to Sean Gibbons because the fighter and promoter were kind of at odds. He went from being #1 in the world and got dropped all the way to #4 and that’s because they were having a dispute. For awhile, I didn’t know what was going on. It’s probably been close to a year since Waseem last fought, so I didn’t know what direction he was going in. I was just hoping and praying that something does happen for him. And for some reason, out of all of the people in the world that I called, God must have made me call Sean Gibbons because I called him. I said, “How about you guys signing Waseem. I don’t think him and the promoter is together anymore and he’s available. Here is a guy that was ranked #1 and now he’s dropped all the way to #4. But he was in position to fight for a world title, but what’s going to happen now if he don’t get back started and get his career started again. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” And the weirdest thing came back from Sean. He said, “You talking about Waseem?” I said, “Yeah!” He said, “We already looked into that. We got him a title fight.” I was like, “What did you say?” He said, “Jeff, he’s fighting for the IBF flyweight title.” At first, he was ranked #1 in the WBC, but I don’t know, I guess the flyweight title became vacant in the IBF and we just stepped right in. It was truly a blessing. I had no idea that all of this stuff was going on and I had absolutely no knowledge of it. Maybe it was God’s plan for it to happen this way because no one knew. Waseem didn’t even know. No one knew but Sean and whoever he was doing business with. Now, our job is to win this world-title.
Waseem is a devoted Muslim, so after this, we’re going to take our show to Dubai. He would be a great representative for them. It’s also a place where he could make decent money because smaller guys don’t usually make that much money. That would be the best situation for him. It’s like a prayer was answered when...I wouldn’t say I wasn’t asking for it because I was always wondering, did we do all of this work for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, the guy only has 8 fights, but he has an extensive amateur background; kind of like a Lomachenko. He had 300 and something amateur fights and won the World Games and different tournaments and stuff like that, so he could easily fight at the highest level and that’s what he did. After two or three fights, he was fighting guys with great records like 29-2. The second I trained him, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “This guy is going to be a world champion.” Now, we’re that close. It can become the reality that I perceived when I first saw this guy. I have never seen anyone work harder than this guy; maybe Floyd. Maybe just as hard, but not harder. He is the only guy that I seen that works just as hard as this kid does. I have to stop him. He’s one of those work, work, work...he got that Rihanna syndrome or something (laughing). It’s great to finally be back with him. Not only is he a good fighter and things like that, but with me, my fighters aren’t just my fighters, they are my friends. I do things with them and we communicate and when we have problems, we share our problems. So it’s good to have him back and be around him and catch up on life and what he’s been going through and what’s been going on in my life as well.
PC: Being that you guys are in two different countries, is there a major disconnect when he doesn’t have anything going on or is social media your tool for bridging that gap?
JM: Social media is probably the greatest invention since the telephone. It doesn’t matter where they are at now. They can be in Timbucktu as long as they have a phone. That’s one of the pluses with social media is that you can stay in contact with anyone. We have been back and forth, back and forth. I just knew nothing was going on on his end, so I didn’t know what was going to happen. I know him and that promoter had a falling out, but he may still be under that contract. He still has to fulfill his obligations. I have no problem with the promoter. I think the promoter is a great guy. It’s not like I’m in the middle and making a choice. I like both guys equally, but it’s business and this is the business that I’m in and fortunately someone else was able to make his dream come true and actually help me to help fulfill his dream.
PC: One of your former champions was recently released from prison, Celestino Caballero. Have you been in touch with him?
JM: Most definitely! It’s funny and it’s ironic to me because I know Celestino was loved by everybody in Panama. One time, this guy was driving probably about 115 miles an hour, flying past the police and everybody, and I’m like, “Please, slow down.” So finally, the police stopped us. They looked at him and they were like, “Celestine!” That’s what they call him down there. They didn’t give him a ticket or nothing and the car that we were driving didn’t even have plates on it (laughing). I was like, “Wow!” Another thing that showed how much he is loved by that country, when he was getting ready to fight in Panama, by some mysterious thing that happened, I don’t know if the lady forgot to give me my passport back, but I jumped on a plane and went all the way to Panama without my passport. And once I got there, the first thing they told me was, “You have to wait for the first plane going back to America and you gotta go back home.” Finally, I was able to get in touch with him and he actually called the President of Panama and the President said, “No, listen, he is here for our champion, let him in.”
I told him, “I don’t know what you had to do or say to get me in, but if you were in my country, you up shit creek.” I can’t call Obama or Trump or nobody and tell them to let my man in (laughing). I ain’t got that kind of clout. What’s funny is, right after that, the President...it’s a lot different over there. The President is hands on with everybody. He’s not an untouchable figure and he doesn’t only deal with the highest class people. It’s nothing like that. I went to the fights and the President is there and he’s shaking hands and high-fiving everybody; just a regular dude. I took pictures with him and everything. I thanked him of course for allowing me in his country. But I talked to Celestino right after he got out and of course he said, “I’m going to come back to fight,” and I told him, “Nah, don’t do that.” That’s one of those things when you’re locked up, it’s probably one of the only things you have passion for when you’re in there. That’s the first thing that enters your mind and one of the only things that keeps you sane while you’re locked up. The reality of it is that you can ‘t come back and do this.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]