- Kieran Mulvaney, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- Much of what most observers see of the interactions between the members of the Mayweather family is almost cartoonishly over-the-top and Jerry Springer-esque. As Nigel Tufnel might say, it's dialed all the way up to 11.
It is easy at times to forget that the caricatures on "24/7" are real people who continue to have real interactions with each other when the cameras are turned off. And while the intensity and conflict of the relationship between Floyds Sr. and Jr. is well-known, the depth of feelings and the strength of the bond between Little Floyd and his uncle Roger are sometimes only hinted at.
Roger Mayweather, who has trained Floyd for the great majority of his professional career, has diabetes now, and as a result, sometimes it is the nephew who must cast an occasional avuncular eye.
On Monday night, Floyd recalled to some reporters on Tuesday, "Before we started training, I had to hurry up and get back from [taping] the Conan [O'Brien] show, we were on the jet and I said to my chef, 'Make sure you take the food up to the gym so my uncle can get a meal. Make sure he gets water with his meal.' He's got [high blood] sugar, so sometimes he may want to eat sweets and not eat correctly, or drink soda."
Asked to describe his relationship with his uncle, the frequently combative Floyd dropped his guard and said, simply and earnestly, "I love him. I mean, I just love him." It is a love born from a respect that developed when Floyd was but a child.
"I saw the way he used to wear his cowboy boots with the jeans fitted, pinkie ring, nice chains -- I was like, 'Man, he fly,'" Floyd said. "I was a kid, so you look up to him. He was champion, and people embraced him with open arms. When I was young, I went to the Top Rank Boxing Gym, you'd see Julian Jackson, Gerald McClellan, James Toney, Donald Curry ... I was in the ring with so many different champions, I said, 'Damn. Hopefully, one day.' I'd see all those nice cars and think, 'If I work hard enough, hopefully I can get one.'"
He has more than one nice car now, and more than one championship belt, and he has acquired them all, partly because of his brilliance as his own pitchman, but ultimately because of what he has been able to do in the ring with Roger at his side.
"You know, he's older now, so he's not as sharp as he was," Floyd said of his uncle. "But the other night, my better half, Miss [Shantel] Jackson, we were laying in bed and she said, 'Your uncle may have forgotten a lot of stuff, but he don't forget that boxing.'"
Floyd is, he said, keen that the love and respect are adequately conveyed:
"I want to make sure after the fight, I'm going to make sure I get a nice ballroom, put a big screen up, show all the behind-the-scenes stuff, chop up the tapes, show everything me and my uncle have been through, everything me and my family have been through. Everyone's going to give Roger a gift, a lifetime gift. Because to us, Roger is an all-time great, a hall of fame fighter and a hall of fame trainer. Everyone in camp loves him."
27dBrian Campbell, ESPN staff writer