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Mayweather protege, 17, eager to build legacy: ‘I want to be the biggest’

Updated November 23, 2023 - 2:42 pm

Yes, he’d watched for years in preparation the shoulder programming, press conferences and championship fights, but Curmel Moton was nervous, anyway — knowing flocks of reporters and cameras waited outside T-Mobile Arena.

Clad in a black “TMT” tracksuit, a white “TMT” cap — The Money Team, Floyd Mayweather’s apparel company — and accompanied by his idol, Moton ambled to the podium for the first time as a professional boxer, having forced a first-round stoppage with a ferocious flurry of punches.

“I felt ready,” he said, a gold WBC medallion hanging from his neck and Mayweather stationed by his side. “I knew I had Floyd behind me. He believes in me. I had the utmost confidence going into this fight. And I went in there and did what I do.”

Moton, 17, is among boxing’s top prospects, blending speed, power, acumen, bravado and invaluable hands-on mentorship from Mayweather. The longtime Las Vegan was sponsored by “Money May” during an esteemed amateur career that featured a 144-6 record and 18 national championships — preceding his professional debut Sept. 30 as the newest signee to Mayweather’s promotional outfit, Mayweather Promotions.

He’ll fight again Saturday at Michelob Ultra Arena on a card presented by Premier Boxing Champions and topped by unbeaten super middleweights David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe says the “sky is the limit” for Moton, a featherweight seeking the pound-for-pound greatness he watched Mayweather secure.

“He’s been around boxing his entire life … and it gets no bigger than being around a guy like Floyd Mayweather,” Ellerbe said. “He’s really, really invested in this young man and we back him 1,000 percent.”

From prodigy to pro

Moton is aptly nicknamed “The Big Deal” and followed on Instagram by more than 390,000. His father, Curtis, still takes his phone from him whenever it’s time to go to bed, quelling the distractions that soon stand to multiply. A scattering of freckles also underscores Moton’s youth. Braces complement his bashful smile.

His TikTok account, followed by 214,400-plus, is filled with videos of him dancing freely and whimsically.

@curmelmoton1 ignore my hand movements i was nervous💀 #fyp #foryou #boxing #gymtok #greenscreen #champ #floydmayweather ♬ Use this sound if you are a legend - Alfie Dyson

But it’s his fast hands, fleet feet and lifelong obsession with the sweet science that buoy Moton (1-0, one knockout) in the boxing ring, where innocence transforms at the sound of the bell to the ruthlessness that prizefighting demands.

Said Moton, who has studied the all-time greats on YouTube since was a toddler: “I always liked to fight when I was younger. I’ve always known how serious the sport was. … It’s my life.”

Moton was born into boxing. His father is a former fighter who moved his family from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas so his 5-year-old son could better develop through immersion in the sport. Gyms across the city doubled as hangouts for Moton, who was 8 when he met Mayweather at the Mayweather Boxing Club amidst prep for Mayweather’s megafight with Manny Pacquiao.

“It was like a dream come true. It was like my vision,” said Moton’s father, who doubled as his first trainer.

Moton and his dad would soon become regulars, practicing in Mayweather’s shadow opposite his famed father, Floyd Sr., or his late uncle, Roger — two of the top coaches in the modern era. He reminded Mayweather of his younger self with his enthusiasm, dedication and precocious set of skills.

“We’re going to get that kid one day and he’s going to be world champion,” Mayweather would tell Ellerbe, who repeatedly touted Moton’s work ethic and focus.

Moton and his dad canvassed the country with financial backing from Mayweather, aggregating amateur accolades they’d bring with them to Las Vegas. He attended Walter V. Long Elementary School and Kenny C. Guinn Middle School, dabbling on the gridiron and wrestling mat while always knowing boxing would pay his bills.

He was 14 when he started sparring professionals. He’s trained with Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Robeisy Ramirez and Keyshawn Davis. Mayweather encouraged Moton to turn professional this year, confident he was ready.

“If he would have told me two more years, I would have waited two more,” Moton said. “Now or never. Let’s do what the boss says. If you’re ready. You’ve got to go. It’s time.”

Videos on YouTube of Moton’s professional debut — a 1:48 thrashing of Ezequiel Flores — have more than 720,000 views, reflecting both the precocious star power and firepower he brings into the squared circle.

He’s eager this weekend to fight again. And again and again and again and again.

He’s building experience, building a brand, building his bank account and building his legacy.

“I want to be one of the best in the sport,” Moton said sans hesitation. “Be undisputed. A multiple division world champion … be one of the best of my era. The next face of boxing. I want to be the biggest.”

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on X.

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