Floyd Mayweather has sparked suggestions he is preparing for a comeback after holding private 2am sparring sessions.
Mayweather has not fought since he extended his unbeaten record to 50 fights with a stoppage win over Conor McGregor in 2017.
He has repeatedly hinted at a comeback – but has admitted it would likely be in an exhibition bout.
But super-middleweight contender Denis Douglin, who lost to George Groves three years ago, has revealed he has been sparring Mayweather in the early hours.
“He called me up around one in the morning,” he said via Vegas Insider. “I know he likes to train at night so I got up and told my mother that Mayweather wanted to spar.
“We got to the gym before him, I was walking around taking pictures and stuff. He walked in at two in the morning with so much energy and so excited, and he let me know that he was going to beat me up.
“He was making fun of me saying harmless stuff like: ‘Oh, you think you’re so bad, you got all of those muscles, but I’m still going to beat you up’. I thought as much as I look up to this man I can’t wait to get into the ring and put it on him.
“And I love the fact that he was excited to beat me up, it was like an honour to have Mayweather talking bad about me.
“The first three rounds were great work, still talking trash back and forth to each other, and then in the fourth round he said: ‘let’s turn the bell off, we’re going to spar until you quit’.
“I was like: ‘Floyd, as much as I love you, if we turn this bell off and spar until I quit, we’re going to be here all day because I’m never going to quit’. So he turned the bell off and we just sparred non-stop; no bell, no-one calling time, and we just worked worked worked, we were in there for like 30 minutes.
“I landed on him and it was very good sparring. The people that were there were saying we’ve never seen someone pushing Floyd that much. My mum was happy and Floyd was happy.
“The last time we sparred was probably three years ago for his exhibition match in Asia and I kind of felt like he was slowing down a little bit. This time he felt sharp, he felt strong, his stamina was great, it was almost like he’s getting better.
“Everything that he’s going through in his life is making him more focused on boxing. I think he could still hang with the top guys.
“There’s no reason to try because he’s already proven himself, but if he wanted to, he could still do it. With Errol Spence at his best, Floyd can still compete with him 100 per cent.”
Douglin also said he would not be surprised to see Mayweather rematch McGregor – or take on UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I do think this could happen, I think he’s going to fight UFC guys,” he added. “It’s actually quite interesting because I’m left-handed and McGregor and Khabib are both left-handed, so him choosing to spar me, that might be the reason why.
“That’s something someone said to me the other day and I was like, you know what, that makes sense, so it’s very possible.
“The Conor McGregor fight generated so much money, why not do something like that again or fight another UFC fighter if he’s making millions of dollars?”