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Brutal sparring footage shows the moment Floyd Mayweather learnt the importance of staying in shape all year round. In 1998, a brash and arrogant ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ was 13-0 and en route to his first world title.
At the time he had an air of invincibility about him as he rose through the ranks virtually untouched. But that would all come crashing down on one fateful night when Mayweather met the soon-to-be IBF lightweight champion, Paul Spadafora, in a sparring session that broke the young superstar’s will.
The video, which was first played on a US sports network in 2002 shows an exhausted Mayweather getting battered from pillar to post in the later rounds before lying motionless on the ground at the end.
According to Spadafora’s trainer Jesse Reid, Mayweather got beaten up so badly that he tried quitting at the end of the fourth round, but Reid refused to stop the spar in order to teach him a lesson.
During a radio interview used in an Artorias Boxing video, Reid said: “I mean the first two rounds were take one and I’ll take the other but after that Paul just handled him like he owned him. His nose is bleeding, and that eye looks like it’s swelling up and he kept cracking him.
“Finally, the fourth round Mayweather comes to me and asks me if he can get out of the ring because he says he’s tired, I said ‘you ain’t getting out of the ring you’re getting your ass kicked today to teach you for all the big mouth you had and your father.
“So, after it was all over, he’s laying on the ground for 20 minutes, completely exhausted and I’m taping it and I sent this tape to Loud DiBella and Lou DiBella was in shock, next thing I know we’re not getting the fight. So, this vicious animal that’s supposed to be the greatest boxer and I’ll tell you right now if they ever make that match Paul Spadafora will be right in his chest and he’ll get his heart rate up to over 270 beats and might run him out of the damn ring.”
A bloody, out-of-shape Mayweather certainly learnt his lesson that day as he went on to compile a perfect 50-0 professional record and became the highest-grossing fighter in the history of the sport.
All of this was achieved by his relentless work ethic which was no doubt drummed into him that night. Meanwhile, Spadafora retired in 2014 with a record of 49-1-1. Despite chasing the Mayweather fight for much of his career, the Pittsburg native never got his wish.
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