The politics of the fight game, the crooked managers, shifty promoters, the dates that fall through, all the annoying impediments that must be dealt with for a boxer to ascend to the upper echelon can sap a man as much or more than physical punishment.
Sechew Powell, a 32 year old junior middleweight who lives in Flatbush, has been touched by all the typical collateral idiocy associated with the climb to the word class level. But he has not let those hurdles sap his love for the game.
So no, no fan of Powell's who has followed him since he turned pro in 2002 should hear that he has been working as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas, and infer that he has capitulated. No, Powell told NYFightblog, even though he has made more money working with Floyd with the first week of August than he did in his last bout, a title shot against Cornelius Bundrage in June, he hasn't retired his desire to win a world title.
Mayweather has been getting himself ready for his fight with Victor Ortiz, which unfolds at the MGM Grand in Vegas tomorrow night. So Powell (26-3 with 15 KOs), a lefty like Ortiz, has tried to approximate the underdog for Mayweather. He believes he's earned his keep, and helped Floyd to fine-tune. But the experience has also benefitted him, beyond the solid paychecks. He's soaked up some of the ways and means which have made Mayweather the top rated fighter, pound for pound, in the world.
"You'd be a fool to come around the best and not pick up some things, not take a few pages from him," Powell said. "His work ethic, his psychology, it's out of this world. I believe Mayweather is the best in the biz."
Part of that success, Powell said, stems from the fact that Mayweather isn't afraid to do things that work for him, even if the culture or tradition frowns upon it. Thus, Powell has to be ready to work four rounds sparring with Mayweather at 4 AM if the champ asks.
Mayweather is 34; fight pundits wonder if he hasn't slipped a bit. He got wobbled by aged Shane Mosley in his last fight. I asked Powell if age has robbed Mayweather of something.
"He's looked sharp. He hasn't lost anything to my eyes. I think he's better than he was five years ago, two years ago. Staying in a line of work, you get better. When it comes to boxing, people skip over that. As you age, you get smarter. But people think he will regress. Floyd is not breaking down. It's all about how you take care of your body. The best Floyd is here today."
Check back later..I'll post some info on where Powell hopes his career will go next, and if he ever regrets the business he's chosen.
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