Trainer Ronnie Shields is one of the more accomplished trainers in the sport having worked with Hall of Fame greats such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield & Arturo Gatti. Shields currently trains reigning junior middleweight champion, Erislandy Lara, and former belt holder, Jermall Charlo. Shields has a full schedule this month with many of his fighters from his stable seeing action, including former world title challenger Edwin Rodriguez.
In this special “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview, I discuss with Ronnie some of the upcoming fights for his boxers, including Artur Szpilka, who fights this Saturday night. Shields also talks about the return of Edwin Rodriguez and what he expects from him moving forward. Additionally, Shields gives his thoughts on Jermall Charlo moving up to middleweight and gives his breakdown and prediction for the upcoming Gennady Golvokin vs. Canelo Alvarez fight. Here is what Ronnie Shields had to say.
Jenna J: You’re training Artur Szpilka for a fight this weekend, can you talk a little bit about the fight he has?
Ronnie Shields: Yeah absolutely. Adam Kownacki is one of these guys that comes straight forward and throws a lot of punches, puts a lot of pressure on you. For Szpilka, this is his first fight since he got stopped by Deontay Wilder about a year and a half ago, so this is a tough fight for us, being his first fight back. Szpilka has good amateur experience and good professional experience. Adam is just a good fighter that pressures a lot, he’s not a big puncher but he’s one of these guys that you have to be prepared for. We had a great camp, Szpilka is ready and we’re expecting him to win.
Jenna J: Edwin Rodriguez is going to be returning to the ring next Tuesday, it will be his first fight in over a year. What are you expecting from him after such a long lay-off?
Ronnie Shields: Well actually Edwin had a bad injury after his last fight, he tore his knee, it was something in his knee and he had to have surgery. So he was off for a while because of that and now his leg is strong and his knee is feeling better. He’s still doing rehab on it, but at the same time he is now able to train. He is going to fight Tuesday, it’s basically a tune up fight for him, but I hate to even call them tune ups because the other guy is going to be in there throwing punches also. So we are definitely looking forward to him getting back in the ring and if everything goes well with this fight we want to bring him right back and get him to where he needs to be fighting the best guys at light heavyweight.
Jenna J: Jermall has a fight coming up in a few weeks, it will be his first fight at middleweight and he is taking on the number oen contender for the WBC. What do you think of the move up in weight?
Ronnie Shields: Well the move up in weight it was necessary, he just couldn’t make 154lbs anymore. His last fight with Julian Williams, he really struggled to make that weight, but he had to make the weight just to fight Julian Williams who he really wanted, he wanted to prove to Julian, not to nobody else, that Williams couldn’t beat him. It was a must that he fought him and after he beat Julian Williams, he gave up the belt to move up to middleweight. We feel that Jermall is going to be so much better as a middleweight because he don’t have to have the weight struggles. Right now I am thrilled where he is at as far as his weight is concerned.
Jenna J: How is Charlo looking at the weight and what do you expect in his upcoming fight?
Ronnie Sheilds: He is so strong, he is so fast, he’s feeling really great and we know we have a tough opponent in Jorge Sebastian Heiland in front of us. Heiland is one of the of the guys that has been the number one contender for two years, there is a reason why ‘Triple G’ hasn’t fought this guy. I don’t know what the reason is, but I know there is a reason behind it and we know just from watching tape of this guy that this kid is a really tough fighter and he deserves to be the number one guy. So our plan is to go in, beat this guy and wait on the winner of ‘Triple G’ and Canelo.
Jenna J: Gennady Golvokin vs. Canelo Alvarez is a fight many people have been waiting for a long time. When those two finally meet in the ring, who do you expect to win and why?
Ronnie Shields: I feel that people are trying to compare Danny Jacobs to Canelo and you can’t do that because the styles are so different and ‘Triple G’ has problems with the style of a guy like Danny Jacobs, but you got to remember that Canelo is not a mover, he’s not the kind of guy that is going to move around, turn southpaw, have a long reach and stuff like that. That plays a big difference, styles make fights.
I feel during this fight that Canelo is going to be right in front of Golovkin, and Golovkin will be able to hit him and ‘Triple G’ has a great jab when he uses it and so does Canelo. Canelo has speed, he is the faster of the two guys, but I think Gennady is the stronger of the two guys. Both guys can hit each other and I see it as a rock ‘em sock ‘em kind of fight, because neither guy is going to want to back down.
I think it’s going to be a great fight, right now I am leaning towards Golovkin because I think he is the bigger guy, because he is more used to fighting the middleweights than Canelo. Golovkin is just a guy that is going to be in shape and he’s going to show good defense in this fight. A lot of people think I don’t like Canelo because of his fight with Lara and that’s all I hear from every reporter, but I have nothing against Canelo, they ask me who I think is going to win, that’s my assessment.