Roger Mayweather, a champion boxer turned trainer who guided his nephew Floyd Mayweather through much of the prime of his career, has died at the age of 58, TMZ reports.
Mayweather had been in poor health for some time and out of the spotlight for years. He trained his nephew between 1996 and 1998, and later between 2000 and 2012. He was replaced by his brother, Floyd Mayweather Sr, both times.
As a fighter, Roger turned pro in 1981 and won his first world title in 1983, beating Samuel Serrano via eighth round TKO in Puerto Rico to win the WBA 130-pound title in just his 15th professional fight. Mayweather made two successful defenses before he was knocked out in 91 seconds by Rocky Lockridge in 1984.
Roger would face Julio Cesar Chavez in 1985, losing a second round TKO, and a young Pernell Whitaker in 1987, losing a 12-round decision. But he bounced back to win the WBC 140-pound title in 1988, stopping Mauricio Aceves in the third round. He successfully defended that title three times before losing it to Chavez in a 1989 rematch. He challenged for the IBF 140-pound title in 1991, losing a ninth round TKO against Rafael Pineda.
Roger’s career would go on into 1999, and he retired with a record of 59-13 (35 KO).
It was as a trainer that he arguably achieved his greatest fame, cornering his all-time great nephew. He was the lead man in the corner through most of Floyd’s prime years. He gained major notoriety in 2006, when Zab Judah fouled Floyd hard twice in the 10th round. Roger entered the ring and got into a tussle with Zab’s father and trainer, Yoel Judah. Roger wound up suspended for a year and fined $200,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
As a fighter, he was known as “The Black Mamba,” and in a 2006 interview with Chris Robinson, he talked about how that came about.
“It’s funny because I wanted a boxing name that wouldn’t be common to most people,” Mayweather said. “One day I was flipping through channels and I came upon this channel showing different reptiles, and they were showing the black mamba, one of the most deadly snakes in the world. I loved the way the mamba attacked so quietly, but when he hit you he just hit you one time and the poison was in you. That reminded me of myself right there.”
Bad Left Hook sends our best wishes to the family and friends of Roger Mayweather.