During the 232nd edition of “On The Ropes” boxing radio, I had a chance to catch up with highly regarded boxing trainer, Ronnie Shields. Shields currently has a stable of fighters that include Erislandy Lara and the Charlo brothers. In part 2 of my interview with Ronnie Shields, I get his trainer perspective on the biggest fight in boxing, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Shields also shares his views on Kirkland vs. Canelo and speaks on what division he thinks is the most exiting. Here is what Ronnie Shields had to say.
Jenna J: With all your years of training and your experience with fighters, who do you give the edge to, Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao?
Ronnie Shields: Well I give the edge to Floyd Mayweather for the simple reason that Floyd has never lost before. Floyd knows how to win, he knows how to pull out victories. Pacquiao, he knows how to lose, but Floyd is a very intelligent fighter and when you look at it, he picks you off very quickly and once he does that, he’s very difficult guy to fight.
It’s not easy fighting Floyd Mayweather, 48 have tried and 48 have lost. Manny Pacquiao, while he’s such a good fighter, I really think it’s going to be a good close fight. I don’t think one guy is going to dominate the other guy for twelve rounds, because Manny is such a good fighter but I just feel the edge is going be to Floyd because Floyd knows how to pull out victories. Manny has tried in a lot of fights but in a lot fights he’s lost.
For Pacquiao to be at the top of that caliber and believe it or not Floyd Mayweather is the bigger guy in the fight — that’s just how just small Manny is. Manny is not a big fighter, he’s a small fighter. I think Manny has more power in his punches than Floyd because of Floyd’s hands. Everyone in boxing knows Floyd has bad hands, but at the same time, when he hits you, he can sting you but he knows how to put combinations together that really take effect. Once Floyd gets the judges to really watch him land solid punches then I just think that Manny is not going to be able to overcome it.
Manny has one style, he goes one way, he doesn’t know how to stay back and have patience. Floyd is a very patient fighter and Floyd is going to wait him out and if Manny decides to fight that way, it’s going to be a very boring fight but at the same time I don’t think Manny is going to fight that way. He may come out and try to be on the outside and counter Floyd but you can’t counter the best counter puncher in boxing and that’s Floyd Mayweather.
Jenna J: Do you think there is any chance at all that we see a knockout in this fight? That either one of these guys can knock out the other?
Ronnie Shields: No I don’t think so. I think Floyd’s defense is too good and I don’t believe Floyd punches hard enough because of his hands to knock Manny out. I think the fight can get stopped maybe on a cut, but other than that, I don’t see this fight being really anybody getting knocked out.
Jenna J: Now one week later there is a fight between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and James Kirkland. You’re very familiar with Canelo Alvarez, is he in any danger at all in that fight?
Ronnie Shields: Yes he is. He’s in a lot of danger in that fight, he’s fighting a puncher. James Kirkland is no slouch, no matter who he fights, James Kirkland is going to be in the fight. Here is the thing that I think is going to hurt James Kirkland, that he doesn’t have Anne Wolfe in the corner. Anne Wolfe knows how to motivate him, she knows what’s good for him and what’s bad for him.
Anne knows how to get him in shape, she knows what gets him going and he’s so used to hearing that voice in the corner and now he’s not going to hear that. Other guys may be are afraid to talk to James a certain way and Anne Wolfe is not. She’s not afraid to talk to him in any way, because that’s who she is and that’s the voice he’s been hearing for years after year.
When James made a change before and got knocked out by a soft guy from Japan, he went immediately back to Anne Wolfe. I’m not sure Anne would even take him back this time, because knowing Anne and I know her very well, she don’t take no mess. That’s the thing that James need, he needs a person that is very hard and that don’t take any of his mess.
I don’t know who’s training James right now, but whoever it is, if they are not hard on him, then he’s going to run the camp himself and of course that’s not good when you have a fighter trying to run a camp and tell you what he’s going to do, that doesn’t do him any good. Beyond all of that, James Kirkland is still a good fighter. He’s a fighter who can punch with both hands and I really think he’s going to give Canelo a lot of problems.
The problem that I know that James is going to have is losing the weight. Canelo has the same problem of losing the weight but at the same time, I know Kirkland has a lot of stamina and Canelo doesn’t. So if Kirkland can stand up to Canelo’s punches early, Kirkland is going to be in the fight late and I think the later the fight goes, it’s going to better for James Kirkland.
Jenna J: Last question for you, Ronnie. When you look at boxing today, in your honest opinion what do you think is the most exciting division? Where do you think we get the most excitement?
Ronnie Shields: I think right now two hottest divisions are welterweight and junior middleweight. I think that’s the two hottest divisions right now because you have so many good fighters in both weight classes and finally the best guys are starting to fight each other, you can’t beat that. While I love the whole sport of boxing, I just think that right now the two hardest divisions are welterweight and junior middleweight.