Added incentive: If UMass beats Hawaii, assistant coaches will watch Mayweather vs. McGregor

  • Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor will fight on Aug. 26. If UMass beats Hawaii that afternoon, several coaches plan to watch the fight in the evening. AP

  • Billy Costello, left, is shown fighting Alexis Arguello in 1986. The late Costello is the uncle of UMass defensive backs coach Steve Costello and a former WBC light welterweight champion. AP

  • UMass defensive backs coach Steve Costello comes from a prominent boxing family in New York. THOM KENDALL / UMASS ATHLETICS

  • Bilal Ally carries the ball during UMass practice at McGuirk Stadium. GAZETTE FILE

  • Bilal Ally carries the ball during UMass practice at McGuirk Stadium. GAZETTE FILE

Published: 8/18/2017 8:36:06 PM

On the list of reasons the UMass football coaches have for wanting to win Aug. 26 against Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium, this one doesn’t make the top 10.

Maybe not even the top 100.

But if the Minutemen do beat the Warriors in their season opener Saturday, some of the assistant coaches will allow themselves a little indulgence. They’ll get together and watch Floyd Mayweather fight Conor McGregor after the game.

“We have to win first. I want to enjoy the fight,” running back coach Darrius Smith said. “I don’t think it’s going to be much of a fight.”

There are several boxing fans on the staff, none bigger than Steve Costello.

The name Costello in Kingston, New York, is synonymous with the sweet science. Two of his uncles were professional fighters, including the late Billy Costello, who was the WBC light welterweight champion in 1984 and defended his belt three times.

Steve Costello said he was at a couple of his uncles’ fights at the end of their careers, but he was too young to remember them.

But after they retired, the family would still get together to watch matches.

“I used to go over to my uncle’s and watch the fights,” he said.

He still watches when time allows.

“I’m a boxing fan. I watch it as much as I can with our busy schedule and traveling. It’s hard some times,” he said. “But in the summer, if there’s fights on, I’m always locked in on them since I was little.”

Costello briefly tried boxing himself.

“I trained with my uncle for about a week. That was the first time I figured out how long three minutes was,” he said. “I was so tired, I looked up at the clock and there was two minutes left. I had nothing left in the tank. My uncle said, ‘This is the last place you want to be tired when the other guy is not tired.’ I decided this is not for me.”

He focused his athletic attention on football, content to just be a boxing fan.

He’ll watch next week’s bout if UMass wins, but he’s skeptical of the quality of the matchup.

“That’s not really a fight that interests me. With my uncle being a boxer, I’m more of a boxing purist. I’m not really big on the UFC guy coming in and trying to fight arguably one of the greatest fighters ever,” he said. “I think it’s a little disrespectful to the sport. But you have to give the people what they want. Power of a dollar.

“I’ll watch it. I’m not a Mayweather fan by any stretch of the imagination. I think Conor’s best chance is if he comes out and tries to bully him and turns it into a rough match,” Costello continued. “It only takes one punch. That’s the thing about boxing. But if it starts getting boring, I probably won’t pay attention. Floyd has a tendency to make things really boring. He’s really good but his fights aren’t really exciting. You’d like to see somebody get knocked out for (pay-per-view) $100.”

INCREASED ROLE — Sophomore tailback Bilal Ally enters the season as the team’s No. 2 running back behind Marquis Young, assuring him of regular playing time.

Ally had 97 yards on 17 carries in scarce action last year as a true freshman, while Young is a Doak Walker Award candidate for the nation’s top running back. Still, Ally doesn’t want his entry into games to represent a drop off.

“We’re trying to make it all interchangeable. We have this motto, ‘It’s not about stepping up it’s about stepping in,’” he said. “You have to step in and do you job.”

TEXAS COMMITTMENT Trey Jones, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound player from Fort Worth, Texas, verbally committed to UMass Friday.

He’s classified as an “athlete” by 247Sports, which lists dual-threat quarterback, safety and wide receiver among his potential positions.

MISCELLANEOUS — UMass’ sophomore offensive lineman from Philadelphia has been asked to be known as Ray Thomas-Ishman Sr. this season. He was Raquan Thomas last year.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at


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