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I watched Floyd Mayweather vs Errol Spence sparring – did Spence really give Mayweather a black eye after trash talk?


Jul 27, 2023
I watched Floyd Mayweather vs Errol Spence sparring - did Spence really give Mayweather a black eye after trash talk?

Errol Spence had only just turned 23 years old when he sparred Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and people still talk about those sessions ten years later.

The young welterweight prospect, who represented Team USA at the London 2012 Olympics, had recently began his professional journey and racked up an early record of 4-0 (3 KOs).


Mayweather was the king of boxing when he brought in a young Spence for sparringCredit: Getty
It was rumoured that Spence gave him a black eye


It was rumoured that Spence gave him a black eyeCredit: Ryan Hafey/PBC

While beginning to prepare for his fifth fight, Spence received a shock phone call recruiting him for sparring with boxing’s pound-for-pound king at the time.

After beating Miguel Cotto, Mayweather agreed to defend his WBC welterweight world title against Robert Guerrero.

To get ready for the fight, he enlisted the division’s best young talent and, according to some rumours, got more than he bargained for.

Mayweather was 36 at the time, but still at the peak of his powers.

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Therefore it was a shock when the young Spence was able to give him competitive rounds in the ruthless ‘doghouse’ sessions at the Mayweather gym.

Former IBF lightweight world champion Mickey Bey was a teammate of Mayweather’s and witnessed this sparring.

“Yeah, I was there,” Bey recalled to Trill Boxing Talk.

“I was impressed with Spence, and one of the reasons why I was impressed is because, at the beginning of camp, he had some good sessions where he might have got out on Floyd maybe once or twice.

“When Floyd’s in top shape, it’s hard for anybody to deal with him. But Errol gave him a good sparring session the whole camp.

“Usually Floyd was beating the hell out of people. By the time the camp was over, Floyd would damn near ruin the fighter’s career. I’ve seen him ruin young fighter’s careers because Floyd sparred different than he fights.

“When he sparred, he tried to knock you out. So with Errol, he was talking s*** and got the whole gym, Floyd has got the whole entourage talking s***.

“Errol told him, ‘I ain’t going nowhere. I’m going to be here. There ain’t going to be none of that where I’m quitting.’

“So Floyd even gained respect for him and was like, ‘Damn, this kid is the truth.’

“Because usually people fold under pressure. Floyd would cut the sparring clock off like, ‘We’re just going to spar until somebody drop.’

“But Errol was still in there and was throwing leather with him, and he was young at this time. So yeah, he gave Floyd the best work I’ve ever seen.”

Spence himself recalled the story as he described the ruthless atmosphere in the legendary gym.

“Once I got in there, everybody started hitting on the mat,” Spence said on The Pivot podcast.

“They call it the doghouse. That just triggered something in my head. It was like a competitive instinct in my head that was like, ‘Oh it’s on now.’

“We went like five to ten minutes for one round. So I get out the ring, he gets out the ring and he says, ‘You aight for a b**ch.’

“I said, ‘What? Man you got me messed up.’ I said, ‘Man, put your s*** back on. Matter of fact, turn off the clock. We’ll go until somebody drops.’

“Then we get in there and spar for like eight or nine more minutes and then he was like, ‘Alright that’s enough.’

“I think I earned his respect. He was like, ‘Alright, this kid ain’t no pushover.'”

There were even rumours that Spence gave Mayweather a black eye in one of these sparring sessions close to the Guerrero fight.

Refusing to confirm or deny the rumour, Spence told Showtime: “Well, I never saw his eye.

“I mean, I don’t know. I didn’t see his eye black. I didn’t see it, but that’s how the story goes and that’s what people say in the gym.”

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Black eye or not, the hard sparring with Mayweather and confidence gained from holding his own no doubt helped propel Spence to becoming a welterweight world champion himself.

Now, he will look to achieve a feat even Mayweather never did by becoming an undisputed four-belt king against Terence Crawford on Saturday night.

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