Bascome can be complete fighter, says Mayweather
Jeff Mayweather is confident of moulding Nikki Bascome into a more complete fighter and said he has been surprised by the Bermudian's “devastating left hook and dancing feet”.
Mayweather, the uncle of Floyd — the undefeated former multiple-weight world champion — has spent the past two months fixing Bascome's defensive weaknesses at the renowned Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas.
After watching footage of Bascome's knockout defeat to Portuguese Fábio Costa last November, Mayweather believes teaching defensive strategy, rather than a change of technique, is the key to improving his new fighter.
“Nikki's got talent and I'm just trying to bring his defence and offence together,” Mayweather told The Royal Gazette.
“That's my speciality; that's what I do. I got a chance to see his last fight and that's how he got caught — he basically had his hands down.
“I'm trying to balance him out to become a more complete boxer. The most important thing is rebounding from that loss and getting better. The one thing he needs is defence because it wasn't there in his last fight. He was actually fighting rather than fighting smart.
“He'll balance out well with me teaching him, bringing his defence up to his offence. Things I don't have to work on, I don't mess with.”
Mayweather is only half joking when describing Bascome as a fresh “piece of meat” when he first arrived at the gym, a legendary boxing landmark, but said he has acquitted himself well and earned the respect of his stable-mates.
“If you get in the ring here and you're impressive, the whole gym is impressed — that's when you're accepted,” said Mayweather, the former IBO super featherweight champion.
“Because whenever a fighter comes here they're a piece of meat. They're a piece of meat until they can prove they can hold their own.
“Everybody wants them, everybody sees that new face and wants to get them. Nikki's here and he's earning his stripes. He's done good.”
Mayweather has been pleasantly surprised by the 27-year-old's eye-catching offensive style and said it is now imperative he tempers his taste for combat by adopting more tactical restraint.
“I stress defence because I don't want anybody getting hurt while I'm in their corner,” said Mayweather, who confirmed Bascome would be dropping down to super lightweight.
“Of course, I can't actually stop that, but I'll give him the best chance and best opportunity possible by teaching him defence. He has a devastating left hook and he moves pretty good on his feet, which makes a huge difference. That surprised me because when I saw his last fight he was going toe-to-toe and he really didn't need to.
“He should be able to dance as he actually does know how to move. I've told him that's something he needs to add to his fight game.”
Rather than try and rebuild his career under the glare of the notoriously unforgiving Bermudian public, Mayweather feels it makes sense for Bascome's recovery and revival to be nurtured out of sight.
If all goes to plan, Bascome will have a pair of bouts in the United States this summer before returning to Bermuda with Mayweather in his corner for a “redemption” bout in November, 12 months after suffering the first loss of his career against Costa.
“We've both talked about that and that's the right thing to do, to build him up down here,” said the 53-year-old. “I can actually get him a title fight down here.
“If he's going to do a July return it will have to be after the 15th because I have a guy [Muhammad Waseem] fighting for a world title in Malaysia on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao [v Lucas Matthysse] fight.”