Mayweather: Bascome can be the chosen one

  • Now or never: Nikki Bascome improved his professional record to nine wins from ten bouts after defeating England’s Ryan Oliver at the Fairmont Southampton last weekend. His coach Jeff Mayweather believes it is time for the super lightweight to fight in the United States

(Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Now or never: Nikki Bascome improved his professional record to nine wins from ten bouts after defeating England’s Ryan Oliver at the Fairmont Southampton last weekend. His coach Jeff Mayweather believes it is time for the super lightweight to fight in the United States (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Jeff Mayweather believes Nikki Bascome can challenge for a legitimate world title if he leaves Bermuda to pursue career-defining fights in the United States.

Mayweather said Bascome has all the ingredients to become a success in the US and is urging him to blaze a trail for the next generation of local boxers by chasing his potential.

Bascome has been working with Mayweather for two years, travelling to Las Vegas for training camps at the Mayweather Boxing Club, where he has more than held his own against elite-level fighters in sparring.

As part of the “first family of boxing”, Mayweather’s tentacles reach far and wide and he is prepared to use his contacts to give Bascome every chance of achieving his wildest ambitions.

“With Nikki’s background, being so humble and gracious, and with his back story, you know, he’s a survivor,” said Mayweather, who was in Bascome’s corner for his unanimous points win over England’s Ryan Oliver last weekend.

“Sometimes you have to choose a person who ain’t going to mess it up, who ain’t going to ruin it for everybody. Nikki is that guy.

“The thing is, everything you do in life, it’s who you know, not necessarily what you know.

“Of course, Nikki will have to do his part, too. I can get him in position to maybe fight a world title, a legitimate title, not just some title they throw about for you to parade around with.

“I’m talking about a legitimate title, like a WBC title. I know for a fact he’s that good. He’s done it [in sparring] against fighters I’ve trained.”

While Mayweather admits Bascome’s bouts at the Fairmont Southampton are huge spectacles on the island, he fears the 29-year-old is in danger of pigeonholing himself as an island-bound entertainer when he is capable of so much more.

“Nikki is attached to Bermuda and loves the island,” he said. “These are big events, but they’re only once a year, like Christmas. That might mean something here, but it doesn’t mean anything in America. No one will have seen anything you have ever done. Boxing is a world sport; it’s not designated to just one country.

“He doesn’t want to look back [when he retires] and think about what could have been.”

For Bermudian boxing to be taken seriously, Mayweather feels it requires a unique character such as Bascome to raise the island’s profile by creating a meaningful legacy for youngsters to aspire to.

However, should he choose to continually showcase his talents exclusively in Bermuda, Mayweather said he is prepared to wait for the island’s next big talent, whether it be Andre Lambe or someone else.

Lambe, 24, made an eye-catching start to his professional career with a first-round stoppage victory against fellow debutant Mat Hinchey, of Canada.

“Nikki can open the doors for these other young fighters that are stuck in Bermuda fighting once a year,” said Mayweather, the uncle of Floyd, the five-division champion.

“We’ve been talking about it and Lucinda [Worrell-Stowe, Bascome’s manager] is willing to help him get to that next level.

“Once these doors are open, I’m going to be working with her consistently until these guys are known fighters in the world and not just in Bermuda.

“That’s what has to happen for Bermuda boxing to be taken seriously. You can’t be taken seriously if you’re fighting once a year. That means after 16 years, you’ll have fought 16 times! Where are you going to be ranked?

“Hopefully, Nikki can open the doors for Andre and other young fighters who have potential, but who will never get discovered if he doesn’t.

“If Nikki decides he doesn’t want to do it, I’m still going to be working with Lucinda. Maybe it won’t happen until the kid Andre [is ready].

“Andre can go and get eight or nine wins and then come back to Bermuda. He can still come back and fight in Bermuda once a year.”

Mayweather admits Bascome made a slow start to his eight-round bout against Oliver, but feels the Bermudian dominated the super-lightweight contest from the third round onwards.

“Nikki’s sparred with guys much better than [Oliver],” added Mayweather, a former IBO super-featherweight world champion,

“He started a little slow and when he came back to the corner I said, ‘You need to get your rhythm and, more than that, you need to move forward because this guy is slow. He can’t hit you and even when he does, he’s playing too much. He can’t even hit that hard’.

“He was a tall guy, a big guy, so he’s a target. I was trying to get Nikki to throw the overhand right. It came, but it came late.

“I thought he had a great performance. Every round after the first two, I thought he got better and better.

“In the last round, he dug down from his heart and he wanted to show these people [what he can do]. I appreciated his performance.”

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Published Jan 22, 2020 at 12:01 am (Updated Jan 26, 2020 at 8:59 pm)

Mayweather: Bascome can be the chosen one

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