When it comes to legendary boxing rivalries, Pacquiao vs. Marquez is right up there with the all-time greats. The two have fought 4 times already, with a draw in their first encounter, Pacquiao getting the edge the following 2 times, and Marquez getting the most definitive win of the series in their last bout. Most people feel if these two do step into the ring again that it could mean the end of a career for both men.
In part 2 of my interview with Brother Naazim Richardson, he discusses the recent victory of Juan Manuel Marquez and him performing at that level at the age of 40. Naazim also talks about a potential fifth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Marquez, and who he would pick to win, if that fight comes to fruition. Additionally, Richardson gives his views on Floyd Mayweather Jr. and talks about some of the fighters he is currently working with. Here is what Naazim Richardson had to say.
Jenna J: Juan Manuel Marquez returned recently against Mike Alvarado and looked as good as ever. What do you think of him doing what he’s doing at his age?
Naazim Richardson: What Juan Manuel Marquez is doing is very impressive and I will even say that I feel as though he’s right up there to what Hopkins is doing because of the weight class. The weight class where Marquez competes at is solely based on reflexes, speed and energy. For you to dominate at that weight class against these young guys is remarkable. That fight he fought was extremely impressive.
Jenna J: Marquez is being asked again to fight Manny Pacquiao and he’s considering it. Do you think that’s a bad idea?
Naazim Richardson: I support any decision that Nacho Beristain and Marquez make, but for my personal standpoint, that work’s complete. I don’t know what else is on the table and what’s available to a guy or where a guy feels personally, you only know that between coach and athlete, when you’re on the mark of a new endeavor.
There’s nothing more he can do for me in the Pacquiao fight. I thought he won all of them and won one definitively. I’m a Pacquiao fan, I’m a big Marquez fan and I rather see these guys go on with their careers on different paths.
Jenna J: Based on their last two fights, if you had to pick a winner between Marquez and Pacquiao, who would you pick?
Naazim Richardson: If I had to pick a winner right now, if you put me on the spot and forced my hand, it would have to be Marquez. I have to go with Marquez not just based on the fact that I always thought he knew how to fight Pacquiao, but I think his confidence and his strengths and that right now he appears to be a fighter right on top of his game, whereas Pacquiao even in the Tim Bradley fight, one fighter looked tired and the other fighter looked scared. Pacquiao fought that fight as if he was trying to punch and get out the way at the same time.
Jenna J: Do you think Pacquiao fought that fight trying to avoid getting hit with a big shot?
Naazim Richardson: Yeah, we don’t know if he’s gun shy or not but it looked a little bit that way in the Tim Bradley fight. Until Tim got tired, he didn’t even seem like he was having a problem with Pacquiao, but I think Tim played himself because he let the emotions of the public — this guy won a fight and started talking about committing suicide because the public is saying that he didn’t really win the fight.
Jenna J: Now that Timothy Bradley closed the Pacquiao chapter, where do you think he goes from here?
Naazim Richardson: We don’t know. Okay, so now you got the respect of the fans, you got a loss, God bless you, you happy now? Until he got emotionally caught up in the fight — and was walking through Pacquiao those first couple of rounds before he got tired, it wasn’t even competitive. Even the stuff Pacquiao was throwing, he was walking through that stuff.
Jenna J: Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced that he will be returning to the ring on September 13th. Do you think Floyd should move up and look for a fight at a higher weight class?
Naazim Richardson: Floyd moving up and taking a risk once again — I think him and his team, Ellerbe and his father and his uncle have made great decisions in guiding him this far, so I couldn’t be the one to say, “Hey you should go up and take a chance.” There are fighters who need that, and there are fighters who don’t.
I know B-Hop jumped from middleweight to light heavyweight and decided he wanted to try to dominate up there. There are guys who take those kinds of risks, there are guys who don’t want those risks. It says something for the guy who wants to jump over some of the barriers to get there and then the guy who says, “Well I’m gonna go around the long run on the road, just stay steady on that road and I’ll get there too.”
It’s the preference of the particular athlete and team — yeah we’d love to see him jump up and think maybe one of these bigger guys can give him more of a challenge. I’ve heard talk of a 50-50 fight with him and Bernard. Bernard is 50 years old and Floyd is in his 50th pro fight. Yes, all that’s intriguing.
I’m gonna go on the record and say, Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather in a 50-50 fight would be the biggest fight in boxing history. There would be nothing else that could even come close to it, nothing else with Oscar, nobody. The only thing that could have come close to it would have been Klitschko vs. Klitschko, and I’m not sure that would have been bigger, I just think that would have come close.
Jenna J: Naazim, can you talk about some of the other fighters you’re working with right now?
Naazim Richardson: Karl Dargan is ready to defend his title on June 21st at the Mohegan Sun up in the Poconos, it will be on NBC Sports. We’ve been keeping these young guys going up. Steve Cunningham just had a big win over Amir Mansour. But like I said we’re going on NBC Sports the 21st of June with Karl ‘Dynamite’ Dargan on it, and hopefully we’ll have Khalib ‘Bigfoot’ Whitmore on it, who is not 5-0 with 4 knockouts.