Retired American boxer, Floyd Mayweather, has been flirting with a heavyweight pugilist, Anthony Joshua and he may end up in his camp as a sparring partner.
Joshua was in Las Vegas to let his hair down when Mayweather offered to take him around his favourite landmarks and watering holes.
Sin City was set to play stage to Joshua’s rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, so AJ decided to take a deserved vacation to check out the training facilities and local spots shortly after winning their Wembley epic.
When Mayweather caught wind that the heavyweight champion was in town, he was happy to play host and even gave Joshua and a small circle of his associates access to his gym and an exclusive look at one of his sparring sessions.
Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn joined Ak & Barak to discuss the latest on the potential blockbuster between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury including timetables.
‘It was a holiday but we were also out there looking for training bases,’ Joshua’s camp manager David Ghansa tells Sportsmail.
‘While we were out there we got a message from Mayweather asking what hotel we were staying at. We told him and all of a sudden, maybe an hour after, he was in the underground car park with all his mates and loads of Rolls Royces.
‘The hotel desk called our room and said Floyd is waiting for you in the car park. It was crazy. From that point on he basically hosted us for the rest of our time there.
‘We went to nightclubs with him and he even closed off his gym so we could watch him spar. He was preparing to fight Conor McGregor at the time and it was just an unbelievable experience.’
It was on that trip where Joshua and Mayweather established their friendship, which could now extend to working together in the ring.
Mayweather, who wants to become a trainer, flirted with the idea of a star-studded coalition with Joshua just days after the first of his two heavyweight blockbusters with Tyson Fury was confirmed.
‘I look forward to working with Anthony Joshua real soon, we communicate all the time, we talk all the time. His fight with Fury is a very interesting fight,’ he said last week.
The cynics will say there’s a reason Mayweather is king at staying relevant but sources have suggested there has at least been some conversations about the boxing legend coming on board and playing a role in his camp in some capacity. The legendary Rob McCracken however will remain Joshua’s trainer, regardless of what happens, having guided him to the Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and then throughout his pro career.
But Mayweather knows a thing or two about how to handle these legacy-defining fights and Joshua will be fully aware of the value he can bring, the Money Man having established himself as the greatest of his era with an unbeaten career record of 50-0, including wins over the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
The pair share a close bond as well and have been friends now for almost four years. Mayweather first reached out to AJ’s team in 2016 when they were both in Rio for the Olympics, but their schedules prevented them from meeting up.
Their first brush with each other came the following year at a meet-and-greet with fans before that trip to Las Vegas.
Since Vegas, Joshua and Mayweather had not spent much time in each other’s company, until the boxing legend made an impromptu jaunt to London last December to watch him successfully defend his world titles against Kubrat Pulev.
‘On the day of the Pulev fight I got a FaceTime call at 1am,’ Ghansa says.
‘I didn’t recognise the number but I answered it anyway. It was Floyd and he was like: “Where’s Anthony?” I was like “it’s 1am and he is fighting today!”
‘He’d just touched down and asked if he could come to the fight. He’d had his Covid tests and everything so we managed to sort out a ticket for him at the last minute.’