B.J. Penn is on a mission. After two straight losses to current UFC lightweight champ Frank Edgar, Penn scrapped most of his old trainers and began seeking out new voices and experts. The latest he worked with was Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Big Floyd has a solid reputation as a boxing trainer and a very high opinion of his work outside the ring.
Mayweather Sr. told FightHype he wasn't impressed when he first began to work with "The Prodigy."
"I’ll be honest, at first, it didn’t seem like he could fight that good. I mean, I don’t know about his ground game and all of that stuff, but he’s got some pop and in just the three days I’ve been working with him, he has improved, man."
Penn is a quick learner. Mayweather continued:
"In his words, man, he told me, ‘I ain’t never seen some of this stuff you’re showing me, man.’ And that’s only after three days. BJ is learning fast, man. He's a good guy."
Mayweather looks forward to helping more MMA fighters, and thinks he's given Penn an edge for his fight against the taller Jon Fitch in February at UFC 127.
"I work with a couple now and I'm all for it. I don't know [expletive] about that ground stuff, but I can get their defense tight and get them throwing their shots right. I got B.J. working something just for a taller opponent. I don't know what B.J.'s ground game is like at all, but if he uses what I'm showing, he won't need it."
This isn't the first time Penn reached out to a top boxing trainer. In the past, he worked with Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach. Roach once told me that Penn was the best MMA fighter he'd worked with as far as straight boxing. Said Mayweather:
"I bet he ain't going back to [Freddie Roach] either. He worked with Freddie 'The Joke Coach' Roach, and he telling me he has never see the stuff I'm showing him. So what does that tell you? Man, the only thing Freddie Roach can do better than me is wash my car."
Expect more of this crossover work in the future. MMA fighters like Penn are smart to seek out the experts from the world of boxing.