A few weeks back, the Borizteca Boxing Management Group announced the boxers who will be battling it out in their next boxing show at the Salon Mezzanine in Tijuana on February 26, 2016. Among their talent laden fight card of 12 bouts, they have the undefeated Armando Tovar from the House of Boxing and Alex Vargas of The Arena, a Mexico versus the Philippines scrap between Alfredo Pitta and Adam Fiel, seven boxers making their professional debuts, plus an added attraction of Justin Mayweather Jones, the paternal half-brother of Floyd Mayweather Jr. (1-0-1 KO) in his second fight.
A notice buried in the Flint Michigan Journal on April 16, 2007 read, “Grand Rapids (amateur) boxer Justin Jones, who won at the 152-pound novice level at the Michigan Golden Gloves Tournament, recently found out through a DNA test that he is the son of Floyd Mayweather Sr.”
A recent, most curious remark was attributed to the young Mr. Jones: “The name by itself is not a burden or an asset.” That’s not necessarily so.
Even though family and friends had often alluded to or made these sly remarks about his likeness to Floyd Mayweather, it was still quite a revelation for the 19-year-old. After much thought, the 151-pound super welterweight added Mayweather as his middle name. Much is expected of you when you’re the son of a former world class athlete like Floyd Mayweather Sr. Plus, he had suddenly become part of the Mayweather dynasty, which includes boxing greats Roger and Jeff Mayweather and a paternal half-brother Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of the greatest boxers of his generation.
At one point, his paternal father, Floyd Mayweather Sr. (28-6-1, 17 KOs), who turned pro in 1974, had been an inspiration to all. With his brothers wanting to be just like Floyd, they followed in his footsteps. Floyd Sr., who never won a world title and broke his hand on the way to losing a decision to Sugar Ray Leonard in his biggest fight, became of even greater import as the trainer of his son Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Roger Mayweather (59-13, 35 KOs) had great success as a boxer and won titles in two weight divisions. Jeff (32-10-5, 10 KOs) was a top contender. After hanging up their gloves, both went on to become trainers of the next generation of champions.
Two great trivia questions for the diehard boxing fan: Can you name three brothers who all fought Olympic gold medalists? Floyd Sr.: Ray Leonard, Roger: Pernell Whitaker, Jeff: Oscar De La Hoya) and then can you name three brothers who trained world champions all at the same time?
What is the current relationship that Jones has with his father? In a recent interview, Floyd Mayweather Sr. stated, “I hope one day Justin returns to Las Vegas to live and train with me.”
Jones’ response: “I enjoyed training with my father. He is a great trainer, but there is more than that in a boxing career. I did not want to make my career in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I don’t like the way the promoters work there and I always had the goal of going to the West Coast. At first I moved to Oregon and now I’m living in Fresno, Calif. This is currently my home base while training with Rudy Aguero and (The Hypeman) Repo Ric (the colorful boxing promoter who is part dancer, singer and cheer leader). I had to go beyond the training aspect and go with a team I feel comfortable.”
Speaking of comfort, at what weight does Jones feel most comfortable when fighting? “Eventually I think I’m gonna make my mark at 140, but we will see how that turns out. At present, I am a welterweight (147),” he said. For his first fight, Jones weighed in at 151 pounds.
Last year, while training in Las Vegas with his father and uncle Roger, a boxing analyst may have been a bit impetuous, when he called Jones “a champion-in-waiting.” The more-candid boxer didn’t see this as a given.
“I have been training hard and I’m just happy,” said Jones. “I’m happy that I’m continuing my career and I think it’s going to be a long, long ride and Tijuana is the place to do it. Nobody can be called a champion at the start. But I am ready to give the fans their money’s worth and do my best to get to the top. I just need an opportunity to prove I am an exciting fighter. Both Floyd and my uncle Roger earned the respect of the Mexican fans. I want the same opportunity to prove myself.”
About it being a long ride, that’s especially true when you start off fighting palookas like Rick Ogden (0-6) from Kalamazoo, Michigan and now welterweight Dario “Chaman” Cervantes (0-5) from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. In Ogden’s six bouts, he has managed to get out of the first round twice. He went 1:32 into round two with Mayweather. Cervantes’ career is almost a carbon copy of Ogden’s. Cervantes has made it to the third round twice.
Not to be overtly positive, excessively confident, it’s always good to add a detractor’s point of view. A blogger by the name of thatsmydin Blue Belt wrote, “What kind of a kid is he? Super getto like Roger? Entertaining wisdom rapper like Sr? Make it rain on them hoes asshole like Jr? Laid back runt of the litter like Jeff?”
What kind of man and what kind of athlete is Jones? Can he come close to matching his brother’s accuracy, his phenomenal hand speed, his smarts and stamina? From the limited intelligence we have, we know Justin stands 5’11” tall and he’s been boxing for a little more than 10 years. He did compete in the Michigan Golden Gloves as a Novice and won in his weight division, but never returned to defend his championship. We’ve also heard some negative feedback on why he didn’t want to train full time with his father. Is he not hungry enough to put up with the harsh criticism from his father? The same way the Brooklyn Dodger’s GM Branch Rickey tested Dodger great Jackie Robinson, it takes a special person with his eyes on the prize.