Boxing trainer, Naazim Richardson, has been working with some of the top fighters in the sport for over twenty years. He has seen fighters come from the amateurs and rise to become champions. Richardson is most known for his work with Bernard Hopkins, a pairing the resulted in a legendary career and Hopkins becoming the oldest boxing world champion. The duo did not work together for Hopkins final bout, an eight round knockout defeat to Joe Smith.
In my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Naazim Richardson, I get his thoughts on Hopkins’ final fight of his career and discuss with him what he felt went wrong. Richardson also talks about why he was not in the corner for Hopkins vs. Smith and shares how he feels about the way things ended. Additionally, Naazim gives his views on Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor and shares his prediction for that bout if it happens. Here is what Naazim Richardson had to say.
Jenna J: Bernard Hopkins suffered a loss last September to Joe Smith. From your perspective, what do you think led to that loss? Do you think that was age catching up with him or did he pick the wrong opponent?
Naazim Richardson: I really couldn’t call it that easily because I don’t know what took place in the camp. With an older fighter, the camp becomes more important than pretty much everything else. I don’t know what happened in the gym, but I’ve heard rumors. It’s just a loss in a fight and he can learn and move on, or he can just move on. I said to Bernard years ago, “You’ve done everything in the sport except lose badly. Son, leave before you’ve done everything in the sport.” Now he’s done everything in the sport.
Jenna J: Many people were surprised that you weren’t working his corner. Why was that?
Naazim Richardson: My thing is, small stuff and petty stuff I don’t bring into play because I think there’s too much of that in the media. I’ve always been a man of dealing with the things you have to deal with, man to man, I don’t play out in the media. I was uncomfortable when he made statements saying, “Hey, Naazim has some things going on, you have to ask him why he’s not here,” when that wasn’t the case.
That was an attempt to take money out of my pocket. Other fighters might have called me for work but they might have thought I was sick or something of that nature. I thought that was wrong, but nothing I wouldn’t get past. My thing was, you need everybody in the same page, “Come on we’re going to beat Joe Smith.” You don’t need to have any doubts and it’s better to have people around you that are going to go on and not say anything about it. If he doesn’t feel that I agree, then yeah he should do it without me and I can live with that, there’s nothing wrong with it.
Jenna J: Naazim, what are your thoughts on a potential Mayweather-McGregor fight? Do you think someone at Floyd’s level should be fighting an MMA fighter in a boxing match?
Naazim Richardson: I’m going to be fair, I taught my children a lesson years ago, I said, “We can tell if he’s hating.” You heard people say, “He’s a hater,” and I developed a test to find out. You can test yourself and see if you’re hating. If what you’re talking bad about or critiquing, if they offered you that money and you would do it too, and you’re talking negative about it, then you’re hating. Floyd is being offered 100 million dollars, and if you’ve ever been poor in your life and someone offered you 100 million dollars to do what you do — not to clean windows on the Empire State building, not to go run with the bulls in Spain, but to do what you do, you’re telling me you’re not going to do it?
Jenna J: I don’t blame him for wanting to take the money in this fight, but you can’t call it boxing. Call it something else, call it an exhibition or call it something different. You can make the money, but if you call it boxing, that’s my only hate with it.
Naazim Richardson: I like that, you say you can’t call it boxing. I like that. Listen, Floyd has proven to be bigger than boxing, whether we like it or not, he’s bigger than boxing. We made him that way, we waited forever to watch him and Pacquiao and I told you on your show, I’ve never waited for a woman that long. If the mother of my kids had made me wait five years, I wouldn’t have children. Floyd is a salesman and if you’re a salesman you sell people things.
Jenna J: In terms of that fight, do you see it being anything more than an exhibition?
Naazim Richardson: To me it’s business, that’s all I see. Here’s my thing, Floyd can’t lose because if Floyd loses to Conor, he still has never lost to a boxer and is still undefeated in boxing. I call that “free money” and when you can get free money, you get it.