- Jalil Hackett is one of the hottest prospects in professional boxing.
- He signed terms with Mayweather Promotions in 2021 and is Floyd Mayweather’s youngest protege.
- Hackett returns to the ring on Saturday for his fourth professional fight and wants to be a multi-weight champion.
LAS VEGAS — Mayweather Promotions’ most influential figures have regularly sent messages of support to boxing prospect Jalil Hackett even before signing terms with the youngster.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic had compromised the live event business and as boxing was no exception, the combat sports industry was put on hold.
But that didn’t stop CEO Leonard Ellerbe and founder Floyd Mayweather from reaching out to Hackett.
Fighting, at that time, was the least of their worries.
“How’s your mental health,” they asked Hackett, who was still in high school at the time. “How is your education going? »
Hackett felt loved.
“I felt like they cared about me,” he told Insider ahead of the fourth fight of his pro career on April 9 at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas. “It was important to me.”
That wasn’t the only time he felt like Mayweather Promotions cared.
Floyd Mayweather himself took Hackett running on one of the prospect’s trips to Las Vegas, the combat sports capital of the world – and a place Floyd has called home for decades.
After their cardio workout, Mayweather sat down with Hackett and talked to him about life for over an hour.
“You always have to put yourself first in this game,” Mayweather told Hackett. “Put your mental health first,” he said.
Hackett told us that people spend a lot of money just to meet Mayweather. “He sat with me for free…it meant a lot to talk to him like that when I was only 18.”
Hackett is Gervonta Davis’ favorite training partner
Hackett came to the attention of Ellerbe and Mayweather because of a recommendation from Derrick Curry, a scout for Mayweather Promotions on the East Coast, who continues to manage the teenager.
“In the summer of 2019, Derrick came into my gym, watched me work out, and we talked,” Hackett said.
Curry, impressed with young Jalil, brought Hackett into camp with one of the sport’s most popular fighters, Gervonta Davis, when “Tank” was preparing to fight Ricardo Nunez for his comeback bout in Baltimore.
Tank’s trainer Calvin Ford was impressed with what he saw in Hackett, who quickly became Davis’ favorite training partner according to insiders with knowledge of the situation.
“Coach Calvin vouched for me to Leonard and Floyd,” Hackett said. “Two years later, in 2021, I put pen to paper. The rest is history.”
The sparring sessions between Hackett and Tank have become something of a legend.
“It’s a different animal,” Hackett told us. “A lot of people say Tank hits hard for 130lbs, 135lbs. And I tell people, ‘No, he hits hard in general!'”
Hackett once engaged Tank in a 15 round workout and people who were there in the gym at the time are still talking about what they saw.
“Whether it’s a fight or a real fight, if you’re going in with Tank, you better be ready to work,” Hackett said.
Hackett would rather be a multi-weight world champion than retire undefeated
Floyd Mayweather is one of the few championship boxers to have retired from the fighting game undefeated.
There’s something of a hangover in the modern era where fighters are seen clinging to an unbeaten record – perhaps at the expense of making the biggest and best fights available.
But if you talk to Hackett, it’s clear he’d rather retire from the sport having triumphed in multiple weight classes, than retire undefeated.
“My goal is always to get better,” he told us. “My professional debut was good, the second fight was good and I would have liked to have done better in the third fight because everyone was looking for a great performance.
“But now, with this fourth fight on April 9, it’s all about improvement. Correcting all my little mistakes can make a big difference.”
Hackett is yet to celebrate any of the three wins so far. There are smiles and congratulatory messages and things like that, but there are no big parties.
“There’s nothing to really celebrate if you ask me,” he said. “I feel like I haven’t achieved what I wanted to achieve, so there’s no need to celebrate heavily.
“As I get older the goal is to hopefully win world championships but I want to progress and win like Roy Jones Jr did. He won belts at 154, 160, 175… that would be great .
“Some of the greatest fighters of all time, Hall of Famers, they don’t have undefeated records. I think the only two Hall of Fame fighters that are undefeated are Floyd Mayweather and Rocky Marciano.
“So I don’t plan on leaving this game undefeated, but I know when I retire I’ll want people to say, ‘Man, Jalil has fought the best fighters in some of the best fights ever. “”
Hackett fights Jose Belloso in the non-televised portion of Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions event aired on Showtime. He wants to fight four times this year.