Former IBF lightweight titleholder Mickey Bey has been out of the squared circle for almost two years. While he does intend to make his return, he is occupied with assisting a 21-year-old world champion who currently holds a position similar to what Bey held some years ago.
“Well, right now, my first priority is Devin Haney,” Bey said during a phone interview with ESBR.
Bey has been working with the current WBC lightweight champion in Las Vegas along with Haney’s father, Bill. In fact, Bey has known Haney for years and has had the privilege of seeing him grow as a fighter.
“I knew him when he first started boxing,” Bey continued. “We both were trained by and came up under the Mayweather family, so he got a chance to pretty much start out with them young as a little, little kid, like 7 or 8. I remember when he first started boxing, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Jeff Mayweather were already telling me, ‘we got this little kid that’s good, he’s catching on fast and he can fight.’”
The success that Haney has already achieved is not a surprise to Bey at all, as he’s noticed that Haney possesses something extra to his game.
“I’m not surprised at what he’s doing but it’s incredible to see. And it’s not just what he can do in the ring, but out of the ring, his focus, his dedication. I say all the time he’s got that Mamba mentality,” Bey said. “...His attitude can just switch when it comes to training and he’s a perfectionist. It’s incredible to see how he can go from playing a video game for an hour or two and then, BOOM ‘come on let’s train’. Man, I’m telling you this kid has laser focus.”
While Haney was still fighting as an amateur standout in the early-to-mid 2010’s, Bey fought for Mayweather Promotions under Leonard Ellerbe and Floyd Mayweather Jr., going unbeaten in his first 20 professional fights. Although he did capture a world title, he does feel like that portion of his career could have gone a bit better if it weren’t for inactivity.
Bey won a controversial split decision in his title-winning effort against Miguel Vasquez on the pay-per-view undercard of Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana II in 2014, but admits that he had some troubles leading the bout.
“The fight wasn’t great,” Bey said. “I went into the fight with an injured hand against a very tough fighter who had never lost at lightweight in like 5 or 6 years (up to that point) and I was a 4-1 underdog. I couldn’t even really spar for that fight, because of my hand.”
But even after winning the belt, things did not materialize the way Bey wanted.
“There were a lot of things that were supposed to happen after that fight but didn’t, so it’s kind of hard to think about because I know I could’ve won a few more titles after that, and even before that. So it was frustrating when it came to a lot of the things that happened on the business side.”
“I didn’t get to show my best at all because if a fight popped up, I’d just take it [even if] it’s like three weeks notice. My career was odd, even though I got to show glimpses, I didn’t get a chance to put it on full display like I could have if I was busy, but the knowledge I got [from the Mayweathers] was unreal.”
During his stint with Mayweather Promotions, Bey was cornered by Floyd Sr., who Bey regards as the patriarch of the Mayweather boxing family. According to the former lightweight champ, the boxing knowledge of the Mayweather family dates back to centuries ago. Besides working with his son Floyd Jr., and Bey, Floyd Sr. has also trained other champions including Oscar De La Hoya, Joan Guzman and Ricky Hatton, to name a few.
“Floyd Sr. started it out being the oldest brother, and his knowledge stems from the 1800’s, a lot of people don’t know this. Floyd Mayweather Sr.’s teachers, were guys that trained the Joe Louis’, the Sugar Ray Robinsons and stuff like that. But he put his own twist [on his teaching].”
Now, Bey hopes to use that same knowledge he gained from working with Floyd Sr. and using it to help Devin Haney.
“Floyd Sr. is just a master at teaching and training, and for me to pick it up and be able to implement it with Devin Haney is a blessing because I’m young and still in shape,” says Bey. “I could still be an active fighter and win titles but it’s just a blessing that I’m able to help the next generation, somebody like Devin Haney, who I know for a fact will be the next pound-for-pound champion.”
Bey feels like he has a lot more to show and would eventually like to set out to capture another world title, but he has made it clear that his priority lies with getting Haney ready for his next fight.
“I’m gonna still show some greatness, but right now, when you get a call [to train Haney] like I got, and the way that this came together with me, Devin and Bill Haney—only God could have put this together.”