Naazim Richardson is one of the most well known and respected boxing trainers in the sport, having worked with future Hall of Famers like Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley. Having attained so much success as a trainer prepares you for both the ups and the downs, as many of Richardson’s most known fighters have suffered defeats over the past 8 months. Richardson hopes to turn things around in last quarter of this year as both Steve Cunningham and Bernard Hopkins will be returning in big fight.
In my interview with Naazim Richardson, I discuss with him the hard road the Concrete Jungle fighters have had and how he expects them to bounce back. Naazim also talks about Bernard Hopkins’ defeat to Sergey Kovalev and why he believes that ‘The Alien’ could not over come the challenge. Additionally, Richardson shares his view on Mayweather-Pacquiao, the shoulder injury and what he sees being next for Mayweather. Here is what Naazim Richardson had to say.
Jenna J: You had a string of loses with some of your fighters; going from Bernard Hopkins’ loss to Kovalev, to Karl Dargans loss, and a controversial loss for Steve Cunningham. How was it dealing with those disappointments?
Naazim Richardson: It’s like the battles I’ve had in life. The downs come with ups. If you can’t handle the losses, you don’t deserve to win. My biggest problem with a loss in anything is if I don’t know why, if I can’t figure out why we weren’t successful — that haunts me.
With all of them there’s a clear understanding and we had to deal with it accordingly. Nobody likes defeat, but I’ve faced it and I’ve stood up to it every time I’ve faced it. That’s the reason they invented the word “comeback”.
Jenna J: Why do you feel Bernard was unable to beat Sergey Kovalev? He has been able to overcome the odds before, why couldn’t he do it this time?
Naazim Richardson: Because the clock on the wall stops for nobody. We’ve been doing it in the fashion that nobody else has been able to do it. That kid is strong, exceptionally strong. He was bigger, stronger and younger. He didn’t fight with aggression, he fought laid back, knowing he was the stronger guy. It was almost Klitschko like, he’s the bigger and stronger guy but lays back.
Jenna J: A fight I asked you a lot about was Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Now that it’s over, what did you make of the whole event?
Naazim Richardson: Nothing surprised me at all, they’re both great fighters, they’re both not at their greatest at this time in their career. Pacquiao did himself a disservice by waiting so long for a fight like that. Mayweather fought more like Mayweather than Pacquaio did fighting like Pacquiao usually fights. It was easy to determine a winner.
Jenna J: Do you fault Pacquiao for not coming into the fight healthy? Do you think that even made a difference?
Naazim Richardson: I can’t say one way or another. I thought Floyd dominated him and Pacquiao is not an easy fighter to dominate, so maybe there was an injury that was in effect. Floyd did his job.
Jenna J: Going forward for Mayweather, do you think there’s any more big fights for him, in terms of super fights?
Naazim Richardson: That’s a very good question. Yes there are very big fights — every Mayweather fight is a big fight because he’s so big. Now, are there any super fights to be able to be made? That’s what is interesting now. I don’t know if there’s a super fight there. Amir Khan has all of England backing him, so you can make that a super fight but Amir Khan can do that with Kell Brook.
Mayweather is in a position where every fight is big because he’s so big now. He’s in a position where anybody that wants to fight him has to earn the position. Guys like Porter and Thurman, are these guys big enough names to say they deserve a Mayweather fight? It’s not whether or not they want to fight Mayweather, shit, you want to fight Mayweather, I want to fight Mayweather for what they’re paying. I’ll come down to 154lbs, I would lose that 100lbs.
Jenna J: Do you think Mayweather would ever consider taking on a challenge such as Gennady Golovkin, or do you think it’s just about riding it out and taking as little risk as possible?
Naazim Richardson: Golovkin is beyond a super fight. Golovkin would be bigger than Pacquiao, but to me it doesn’t make sense to embark on that kind of challenge just for the challenge. We can’t rely on one dude to give us everything we need to see in boxing. Between Bernard Hopkins and Floyd, the only thing we missed was ‘fanman’, that’s the only thing we haven’t had yet. We can’t get it all out of one fighter.
Jenna J: What do you think about the new crop of fighters that are going to be following Mayweather and Pacquiao?
Naazim Richardson: You can’t predict a great fighter. You can’t predict a Hall of Famer. I was asked one time, “If you were forced to predict a Hall of Famer, who would you point at?” It was years ago and the kid was still in the amateurs, I said Andre Ward. But you can’t predict that because there’s such a road to go, some guys master the boxing things but can’t handle their domestic situation.
Great fighters give us all the action we want but their bodies break down. We never know where they come from but there’s some kid right now at home asking his mom if he can box and she’s probably telling him no, and he’s the next great thing.