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Northwestern Ontario boxer recalls stepping into the ring with Floyd Mayweather

The lead-up to this weekend's mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor is bringing back some in-ring memories for two-time Canadian Olympian from northwestern Ontario who stepped into the ring with 'Money' Mayweather almost 25 years ago.

Domenic Filane fought Mayweather at the '93 U.S. National Golden Gloves competition

Domenic Filane, a two-time Olympian and 11-time Canadian champion, fought Floyd Mayweather as an amateur back in 1993. (Domenic Filane / Twitter)

The lead-up to this weekend's mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is bringing back some in-ring memories for a two-time Canadian Olympian from northwestern Ontario, who stepped into the ring with 'Money' Mayweather almost 25 years ago.

Domenic Filane, from Schreiber, Ont. — a community along the north shore of Lake Superior, about 200 kilometres east of Thunder Bay — fought the then-future star in the light flyweight division at the 1993 U.S. National Golden Gloves competition in Little Rock, Ark., when he was 24 years old.

Mayweather, at the time, was just 16. Filane was boxing with a team from Detroit.

"My coaches in my camp ... they kept telling me 'you've got to watch, this kid's going to be good, he's going to be fast,' all the stuff you really don't want to hear," he said. "I just came back from the 1992 Olympics and had a lot of confidence so I really wasn't taking ... all this information they were giving me for real."

"As it turned out, he was pretty good," Filane said, laughing.

Mayweather won the fight — a decision that Filane said he didn't agree with at the time but now acknowledges was the right call. "It went his way," he said.

"To be honest, I thought I was going to be able to walk right through him," he said of his teenaged opponent. "But he had a lot of boxing sense ... he was very, very hard to hit and he kept throwing."

"I knew from then, I said 'this kid is going to be good.'"

Most recent meeting in 1996

The two never met in the ring again — as he got older, Mayweather moved up several weight classes while Filane stayed put — but they did cross paths outside of it as both men continued to represent their respective countries as amateurs.

The last time Filane said he ran into Mayweather was at the 1996 Olympics, coming out of the boxing venue where both men were competing. "It was right after he got robbed of a decision at the Atlanta Olympics, (Mayweather lost a controversial semi-final bout against Serafim Todorov) it cost him the gold medal," he said.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor pose for photographers during a news conference ahead of Saturday's boxing match. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

"He said 'I'm done, I'm done' [with amateur boxing], we gave each other a hug and that was the last time I saw Floyd in person."

As for the McGregor fight, Filane said he's confident Mayweather will prevail. And while Mayweather is expected to make nine-figures for the fight, Filane said his battle 24 years ago in Arkansas — specifically his video of it — has made him a bit of money, too.

"Youtube just informed me I made 13 cents," he said. "After today, I bet you it's up to 14 cents."

"Things keep going well, I'm going to be able to afford pay-per-view."

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