By Declan Taylor

MORE than a decade has passed since a barber in Utah called Curtis made the bold decision to move to Las Vegas in order to mold his six-year-old son into a world champion.

Even more surprising when you consider the kid, by the name of Curmel Moton, had never even set foot in a boxing gym at the time.

“I had done a little bit back at the house I think,” Moton tells Boxing News. “Mittwork and stuff but I had never seen a gym in Utah.

“I was born there but I moved to Vegas when I was six to box. My dad moved me to Vegas because he always wanted me to be a boxer and he knew that out there in Utah there was no big boxing scene so he moved us to Vegas and took me to the gym. I fell in love with it. He decided to make it happen and to build our lives around boxing.”

Moton, still only 17, has since emerged as one of the hottest prospects in world boxing and is the latest protege of Floyd Mayweather. He is 2-0 with two first-round knockouts and boxes for the first time in 2024 this weekend on the undercard of Tim Tszyu’s clash with Sebastian Fundora.

Moton and his mentor both made headlines before his September debut when they insisted they could have fought – and beaten – Leigh Wood that night. At the time the Nottingham man was a world champion at featherweight. He did not agree.

But Moton insists that was not just bluster cooked up to make some noise. His spars with the likes of Gervonta Davis, Robeisy Ramirez and Shakur Stevenson have convinced him he is already in touch with the best in the division.

“This is really all I know,” Moton adds. “I have always felt comfortable in the gym. If I miss a day training, I won’t feel right. It has been like that since the very beginning. I’ve always wanted to do it and make it my life.”
He was not even 10 when he first went to the famed Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, initially just to observe the owner training. Before too long, Moton was also going there to work.

“I’d just been watching at first,” he says. “Then I went back one day when he wasn’t there and I sparred a couple of the little guys he had in there and I beat them up, made them cry and stuff.

“One time I was sparring and I beat the dude up, he was crying and he didn’t want to come out for the next round. I heard they had to call Floyd on the phone to have him tell the kid to go and fight.

“I was about 10 at that time and Floyd maybe wondered who this little kid is that is making everyone cry. Then I started training there more regularly and I quickly fitted in because of my work ethic.

“All the pros started noticing me, noticing my skills. I became cool with everybody real quick and they probably spoke to Floyd and put the word out there. Everybody tells Floyd what is going on in the gym, even if he’s not there.”
Never one to miss out on the next big thing, the 50-0 icon quickly made Moton his business.

“The next time I saw him, Floyd knew who I was,” Moton recalls. “I was starstruck. I know he was talking to my dad then, he was starting to sponsor me and help me get to tournaments and stuff. I’ve been with Floyd since then, he’s been sponsoring me and helping me out.

“A lot of people don’t realise these amateur tournaments, they be expensive. You’ve got your plane ticket, hotel, food every day, all of that adds up. My dad was working trying to provide for me the best he can so that sponsorship from Floyd definitely helped out a lot.”

In the years that followed, Moton cultivated a reputation as one of the finest teens on the amateur circuit. His record in the unpaid ranks stands at 61-3 on Boxrec but it is likely more than that despite a lengthy spell out of the ring just as he was beginning to flourish.

“I was still staying real busy fighting every month or so at tournaments and it didn’t slow down,” he adds. “But then I didn’t compete when I was 13 and 14 because I hurt my arm and when it was healing and I started getting back into training again, Covid started. That meant everything stopped but I had to stay in the gym to keep working.

“It felt very weird that it was taken away from me like that. But it motivated me to stay in the gym so I could come back even stronger. Vegas was totally dead, downtown on the Strip it was crazy, there was nobody out there. It was like a ghost town.”

Once he was back, things began to get serious. A phonecall from Davis’ team opened the door to spar the world champion from Baltimore, himself one of Mayweather’s greatest works as a mentor and promoter.

“I was 15 or 16 when I sparred Tank,” Moton says. “We went to the gym real late at night, too. It was fun and I was ready for him. The only thing he had me on was strength but skill wise, and speed wise? We were back and forth. I had a lot of fun in that spar and learned a lot.

“They called me, they knew about me already. I had some nerves but I felt ready. I always believe in my skills so I wasn’t scared. We did four rounds that day. He was a week out from his fight with Isaac Cruz and I had a tournament. I fought a southpaw there too, so that was some perfect sparring for me.”

There have already been many comparisons drawn between Moton and Davis given their allegiance with Mayweather, their stature and styles. Now the teen is already dreaming of not only emulating, but surpassing what the southpaw has achieved.

“I want to become an undisputed four-weight world champion,” says Moton, without a hint of doubt. “After I had my debut, I knocked the dude out in the first round, Floyd came to my locker room and said he’s proud of me and now we’re really going to do it, we’re going to be the best.

“It’s such valuable experience because he knows what I’m going through. Most other promoters were never fighters, they just use the fighters. But with Floyd it’s the total opposite, he wants to help us. I feel like Floyd has my best interests at heart. If anyone can guide me to the top it’s him.”

So far at least, Curtis’ decision looks like it might just pay off.

Curmel Moton


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