Deji’s coach Daley Perales has seen Floyd Mayweather slow down in his recent exhibition bouts, and is plotting a game plan for the YouTuber to beat the boxing legend.
Mayweather faces British social media star Deji at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on November 13 in his third exhibition match of the year, and fifth since retiring from professional fighting back in 2017. The bout won’t go on either of their records and no judges will be scoring at ringside, but the Brit can earn a moral victory by going the distance and putting in a solid showing.
However, some fans were concerned when Mayweather appeared to shift through the gears during last Saturday’s bout with MMA star Mikuru Asakura, stopping the Japanese fighter within two rounds. After taking a couple of big shots early on, Mayweather turned up the heat and put an end to the bout inside the second.
Perales has been keeping a keen eye on the last few Mayweather outings as he looks to put together a strategy that will see his man pull off a major upset. He was made aware of the bout around three weeks ago, and spoke with Mirror Fighting in an exclusive chat to detail his plans for November 13.
“At the end of the day, I’m a competitor,” he explained. “Even when I go bowling with my kids I don’t let them win! I want to win and that’s what I’m in this sport for. It’s why I only take on fighters that I believe can get to the very top like my professionals, I do not like to be second best.
“Yes, it’s Floyd Mayweather, I understand that. But the competitor I am, I’m going to do everything in my power to train him to the best of my ability and give him a game plan to make things very uncomfortable for Floyd when he’s in there.”
Perales boxed four times as a professional in his own right between 2006 and 2012, before deciding that coaching was his future and taking on a number of fighters. He engaged in the YouTube world late last year when his brother; Beta Squad star ‘King Kenny’ asked him if he would teach him the ropes ahead of a white collar bout.
Weeks later, he was introduced to Deji, who had shown glimpses of his natural ability during his previous two losses, but lacked the discipline needed for the sport. He worked with the Watford native for a few weeks before his loss to Alex Wassabi in March, but the real work started then as he got into top shape and brutalised Yusef ‘Fousey’ Erakat in August to land his first win.
Now, Deji takes the monumental step up to face one of boxing’s all-time greats. “I respect Floyd Mayweather,” Perales said. “He’s one of my idols. Even the Floyd of today would probably beat most British level fighters, but at the end of the day he’s retired, he’s having fun and he’s a businessman who has always been smart that way when it comes to business.
“I think he’s just having fun making millions just by moving around with some people, so if anyone was in Floyd’s position they would do the same thing to keep that money rolling in. He’s not getting hurt while he’s doing it, so he’s obviously not the same as he once was but it will be a good challenge.”
O2 Arena, London / Instagram)
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And there is confidence in the camp that he can show even more than Asakura did in his few successful exchanges. Mayweather has not been able to stop his two opponents outside of Japan; dropping ex-sparring partner Don Moore in May and struggling with Logan Paul last summer.
“Deji’s got better feet, better movement [than Asakura],” Perales added. “So a very smart game plan is needed. You have to be smart where you choose your battles with Floyd because you don’t want to get in a toe-to-toe war with him; he’s experienced and knows how to make you miss and make you pay for that miss.
“You have to be very cute how you go about things and I’ve seen holes in his game because, yeah, he’s getting older now. Against that Japanese guy on the weekend he got hit with a big right hook that sent his head back, a jab that snapped him back and he looked a bit uncomfortable on the ropes.
“The trademark lead right hand and then roll underneath it that Floyd normally does, yes, it still looked sharp, but it also looked a bit lazy. He can’t stay young forever, can he? Deji’s just got to go in there and enjoy the experience because this is going to help him in the long term – he won’t be fighting Floyd ten more times, but this is going to help him in his YouTube boxing career.”