By Eric Raskin
When you think of boxing families, surely the first one you think of is the Mayweathers – the lewdest, crudest, family-feudest bunch the sport has ever known. And put aside their over-the-top personalities for a moment; the Mayweathers are also one of the most accomplished fighting families ever, vying with the Spinks clan for the top spot among pugilistic family trees.
And this Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather is just one of many fighters with boxing in his blood. Among the eight featured combatants, three have immediate family members who have boxed professionally, and a fourth fighter on the show is trained by his father. Here’s a glimpse at the field:
Uncle - (and trainer) Roger was a two-division titleholder in the ’80s
Father - Floyd Sr. was a welterweight contender who faced Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978
Uncle - Jeff was a journeyman who fought Oscar De La Hoya in ’93
Father - Jose fought briefly as a flyweight in the ’70s
Brother - Diego held a belt at 115 pounds in ’99
Brother - Ivan is currently an undefeated bantamweight prospect.
Brother - Rigoberto is a respected junior middleweight contender
Brothers - Ricardo and Ramon are clubfighters at junior welter and junior middle, respectively.
Father - Alfonso Gomez Sr. trains him (but was never a pro fighter).
Each of these four fighters is the best professional his family has produced. You might say, to one extent of another, they were each bred for success, either learning the sport from the generation that preceded them or by trying to compete with their older siblings.
One man who has experience traversing the sport under the watchful eye of a family member is HBO expert boxing analyst and former pound-for-pound champ Roy Jones Jr., who sees both positive and negative in being brought into boxing by your father.
“It helps because you become very educated in what you’re doing because your father loves the sport and he loves the fact that you’re involved,” says Jones. “It gives you a great start, and you get a great foundation from your own parent more than you would anywhere else. But it hurts because as you mature and grow up, once you become a grown man, your father sometimes has a problem letting go. The father wants to be the one who still calls the shots. But you can’t call the shots when your boy’s champion of the world. He has to call his own shots. And most fathers don’t want to understand that, at least in American society.