Liam Walsh idolises Floyd Mayweather Jr but says he will not be put off by his hero watching him fight this weekend.
Mayweather is expected to be at his protege Gervonta Davis’ IBF world super-featherweight title fight against Briton Walsh at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday.
Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) made trips to Las Vegas to watch Mayweather in action before the American announced his retirement in Sept. 2015.
Mayweather, 40, is now being linked to a comeback against UFC star Conor McGregor but recently boxing’s former pound-for-pound No 1 has also been helping American Davis (17-0, 16 KOs), who he promotes, prepare for his fight against Walsh.
“I don’t find Floyd Mayweather’s presence off-putting at all,” Walsh told ESPN. “Floyd’s just another man, flesh and bones, like the rest of us.
“I admire him as a fighter and what he achieved on boxing, but outside of the ring him being on the team doesn’t bother me whatsoever.”
After 16 stoppage wins from 17 fights, Davis is being talked about as the future star of American boxing and will make a first defence against Cromer-based Walsh.
Mayweather has been overseeing 22-year-old Davis’ training at his gym off the Las Vegas strip.
And like Mayweather, Davis is not lacking self-confidence after claiming he is a on “a different level” to Walsh ahead of their clash at a venue which was used during the 2012 Olympics for the handball competition.
Rochdale-born Walsh, who does not use social media and trains at a no-thrills gym without shower facilities in Norwich, is far removed from the flash and brash world of Mayweather.
“He’s going to be confident, he has just won a world title so he is going to be on top of the world,” said Walsh, whose partner Sarah gave birth to their fourth child in the last two weeks.
“He has got Floyd backing him, so he is going to be super confident. But I totally disagree with his comment that he’s on a different level and I’m going to be there on May 20 to prove it wrong.
“He’s young and 22. I made decisions at 22 I’d never have made at the age I am now. I’ve been a pro nine years now so I’m used to people talking in the build-up to fights.
“Davis is very comfortable with the media. I’m comfortable with it, it’s just I’d rather do my talking in the ring and save my energy for that.”
Walsh’s first world title shot has been a long time coming after he had to pull out of challenging fellow Briton Ricky Burns five years ago because he was injured in a car crash.
“I do feel the title shot has been a long time coming,” said Walsh, whose twin brother Ryan also fights on Saturday’s bill.
“But also I’ve had some bad luck along the way which has prevented it happening.
“I feel sometimes in life everything happens for a reason and this is the absolute perfect timing.
“I have to be smart, it’s not about not who can punch the hardest or fastest. The man with the brain wins. I have to be smart in there, adapt round by round and win whichever way I have to win.”
Walsh’s promoter, Frank Warren, says Mayweather will be of no use to Davis on fight night.
“Those guys are there on the outside and Gervonta is going to say to them afterwards, ‘You didn’t tell me he was going to be like this, you didn’t tell me what was going to happen here’,” said Warren.
“This is going to be a shock for everybody, but not for me.”