Aaron Chalmers: ‘I never thought I’d meet Floyd Mayweather, let alone punch him’

Aaron Chalmers had been preparing to fight a southpaw, but then came the confirmation that he would have an altogether different opponent – one with an orthodox stance. Then again, that wasn’t the only difference of note.

“I went into the gym,” Chalmers recalls to The Independent, “and I told the coach: ‘We’re not fighting a southpaw anymore. We’re fighting Floyd Mayweather.’

“He was just like: ‘What the f***? Well, we best get to work...’”

It was a sensible conclusion to draw.

Chalmers, despite being known chiefly for his stint on reality television show Geordie Shore, can fight. In fact, he has fought professionally numerous times. The Newcastle native compiled a 5-2 record in mixed martial arts between 2017 and 2020, before making his pro boxing debut with a decision win last year. Believe it or not, Chalmers is not the least qualified of Mayweather’s opponents on the American’s slow-rolling exhibition tour, but the 35-year-old is realistic about the gap in skill between himself and possibly the greater boxer of all time.

“I know I’m gonna get punched in the face. That’s f***ing... I know that’s gonna happen,” Chalmers laughs, speaking to The Independent ahead of his London clash with Mayweather this Saturday – a bout that marks the 46-year-old’s first ever fight in the UK.

“Listen, the man’s one of the greatest boxers of all time,” Chalmers half-sighs. “What I bring to the table, he’s definitely seen before. My thing is just not to let him walk me down with ease. Don’t take a backwards step, that’s my killer plan!

Since retiring with a pro record of 50-0 in 2017, Mayweather has taken part in five exhibition bouts. The former multi-weight world champion stopped kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa in 2018, before going the distance with YouTuber Logan Paul in 2021 and former boxer Don Moore in 2022. Also last year, Mayweather put down MMA fighter Mikuru Asakura and YouTuber Deji. While Mayweather seemed content to coast against Paul and Moore, it was noticeable that his ruthlessness against Nusakawa and Asakura was a result of the Japanese combatants trying a bit too hard to hurt the American. Yet against Deji, Mayweather seemed to beat up the Briton just for fun.

So which Mayweather can Chalmers expect to enter the O2 Arena?

Aaron Chalmers speaking ahead of his exhibition bout with Floyd Mayweather (Lee Hamilton Cooper)
Aaron Chalmers speaking ahead of his exhibition bout with Floyd Mayweather (Lee Hamilton Cooper)

“The thing is, if he comes out and tries to punish us, that’s fine; I know I’m gonna get punched in the face,” Chalmers reiterates. “But I’ve got a few goals, a few things that would be big wins for me. If he lands three, I would like to land one. I’m just gonna take it as it comes. I know that I’m fit, strong and healthy, so let’s see how he approaches it.”

For Chalmers, there has been a trident of preparation; not only has the Briton focused on fitness, but he has studied Mayweather’s recent performances, and he has worked on increasing his in-ring output.

“[I’ve been watching] more the exhibition bouts,” he says. “I mean, it’s pointless me watching him fight ‘Canelo’ [Saul Alvarez]. Every night when I’m running, I just put a [Mayweather] fight on while I’m on the treadmill. In the gym, the aim has been more output, more punches in threes and fours – not single shots. Obviously he’s the master of defence, so throwing single shots is just gonna be absolutely pointless. We can’t bring anyone in to emulate him, to spar with, so we’ve just brought in a mixture of people to cover as many areas as we possibly can. We didn’t have a lot of time!”

Chalmers might also find himself lacking time in the ring – time to think, time to move, time to strike. That would not only be in line with most expectations of how the fight will play out, but also with the way the bout came together.

Mayweather after stopping mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura in Japan (AP)
Mayweather after stopping mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura in Japan (AP)

“One of Floyd’s team was looking after us in Belgium five years ago,” Chalmers says. “I heard that [Mayweather’s original opponent, Muay Thai fighter] Liam Harrison had pulled out of the fight, and minutes later I had a text message: ‘Ring me.’ Ten minutes after that, the fight was mine. Two days later, the contract was in my inbox. That was it.

“We went back and forth about three times on the money. [Mayweather] offered; I doubled it. Obviously you’ve gotta double whatever's offered, haven't you?! He then went under half; I went ‘half’. Then we came to an agreement. He was a bit cheeky with the money, so I just straight away doubled it. I know there were loads of YouTubers trying to hijack the deal, but he gave us his word: ‘The fight’s yours.’”

So, whatever happens on Saturday – whatever your thoughts on Mayweather fighting YouTubers, kickboxers, mixed martial artists and reality TV stars – Chalmers will always have this fight. He will always have this winter evening, under the capital’s great dome by the river, against the best to ever sport a pair of boxing gloves.

“In 30 years, it will still probably be surreal,” Chalmer admits. “I’ll be honest with you, I never thought I would even meet Mayweather – cross paths and shake his hand. So, to be able to try to punch him in the face this week is crazy. I’m gonna enjoy trying to punch him in the face, and then I’ll shake his hand after.

“I’ve already got a place on the wall where my gloves, robe and shorts are gonna go. It’s something that will live with me for the rest of my life. I can tell my kids, my grandkids... I see the promo videos, and someone sent me a picture the other day of a massive billboard with me and him on, and I was like: ‘What is going on?’ But I’m taking it, I’m running with it, and I’m enjoying every moment of it.”

Can you blame him?

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