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Floyd Mayweather Jr. is obsessed with perfection

Every little thing has to be just right for Mayweather, but once he gets comfortable, he has been impossible to beat.

September 12, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. trains at a gym in Las Vegas in preparation for Saturday's WBC junior middleweight bout against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Floyd Mayweather Jr. trains at a gym in Las Vegas in preparation for Saturday's… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

LAS VEGAS — Spotless.

It's not only Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s record, but how he lives.

The unbeaten world champion (44-0, 26 KOs) in five weight classes is meticulous. Not only major tasks, such as selecting his opponents and his preparation for how to beat each one — including his foe Saturday, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Mexico. But he also focuses on the smallest details of training, including which socks to wear.

"He's very particular," said Mayweather's 84-year-old corner man, Rafael Garcia. "Once he feels comfortable, it's all OK. You can see it in his face: 'Let's go!' "

Recently, Garcia waited at the gym for Mayweather to emerge from his locker room to select a pair of boxing gloves from the 16 pairs laid on the ring mat for his approval. The gloves, each inscribed "Money Mayweather," were colored in gold, pink, red, bright blue, dark blue or black.

"No one's perfect, but I strive to be a perfectionist," Mayweather said, joking he has obsessive-compulsive disorder. "I've always been a neat freak. I want everything clean — extremely clean."

A typical Mayweather workout reveals just that.

He pulls into his parking spot in a freshly washed, white Rolls-Royce with dust-free leather seats. His first order of business is to get his head shaved by personal barber Jackie Starr.

Starr closes the session by taking ice from a bucket and rubbing it over the back of Mayweather's head as he orders 11 friends in the room — part of the fighter's entourage known as "The Money Team" — to get a worker known as "Uncle Gerald" to clean the restroom. The janitor works behind a closed door and exits holding a bleach spray bottle, a can of cleanser and a roll of paper towels before Mayweather steps inside.

"Very meticulous about his hygiene," said Mayweather's personal assistant Kitchie. "There's no shortcuts with him."

The boxer had already showered before arriving at the gym, but he always takes another one before his workout because he never shadow-boxes to warm up. "It makes my body relaxed, I'm nice and warm and ready," Mayweather explained. "Once I take a nice, warm shower, I'm ready to fight."

"There's days he'll take four showers," assistant trainer Nate Jones said. "He washes his hands before he uses the bathroom."

Mayweather, 36, who doesn't smoke or drink alcohol, once spent 30 minutes with Jones picking the perfect spot for a new statue inside his home.

Outside the shower on a wooden bench are six pairs of socks for Mayweather to choose from. There are also five T-shirts and three pairs of shorts. Eight pairs of boxing shoes are also set on the floor.

"He has to feel that comfort, on his feet, his hands, his whole body," Garcia said. "If he tries something on that doesn't feel right, he tosses it aside and tries something else until it does."

Mayweather's adviser Leonard Ellerbe said the boxer "likes his business in order from the simplest things on up. He takes pride in how he conducts his business, in his appearance and in the day-to-day things every day. It's working for him. When he retires, he'll probably be the only pro athlete to retire with nine figures in the bank."

Mayweather agrees that his attention to detail in daily living translates to his boxing success. "Our team has a good regimen," he said. "That plays a major key. Order."

In the ring, Mayweather often faces opponents who charge at him, convinced they can land a heavy punch. He's prepared. To avoid punches. To out-hustle his foe. To smack the other guy when he misses.

To win.

"Building my career took time," he said. "I made the right moves. I didn't rush. Once the right fight presented itself, we took advantage of it. That's what it's about. It's about communication, having the right people in the right place at the right time. Everything in life is about timing."

That might be a shot at the 23-year-old Alvarez, for daring to rush into the ring against the older, wiser perfectionist.

"People say Floyd Mayweather is cocky, he's this and that, the Mayweather family is wild," Mayweather said.

"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and likes to judge, but before anyone can judge, they need to sit back and see what position they're in and really look again at me. I'm the executive producer of the reality shows where these things look crazy and wild."

At this workout, Mayweather selects white socks with red and blue stripes, then tucks a red shirt into black shorts and picks red and black gloves before spending more than two hours training.

"There's been times we try to get him to stop, and he gets so mad, it's like he thinks we're working for the opponent," Jones said.

Another shower follows, and Mayweather exits in the Rolls, rolling back home as another major fight awaits.

On fight night he'll bring a bag packed two days ahead of time, with two of everything: "Cups, boxing boots, outfits, shorts, everything," Mayweather said.

Jones said he once asked Mayweather why he takes this approach.

"Man, this is my way," Mayweather answered. "And if it ain't broke, I ain't going to fix it."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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