I recently caught up with former light heavyweight title challenger, and current boxing trainer, ‘Iceman’ John Scully. Scully has worked with fighters such as Chad Dawson, and Mike Oliver, bringing them both to title belts. Scully also is a well respected boxing analyst, and I got his views on many of the hot topics in boxing, including the recent age defying win by Bernard Hopkins, and his thoughts on Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring. He also talked about Mayweather vs. Maidana and gave the fans updates on some of the fighters he is working with and some of the projects he has coming up. Here is what John Scully had to say.
Jenna J: John, what were your thoughts on Bernard Hopkins unifying the light heavyweight titles at the age of 49 against Beibut Shumenov?
‘Iceman’ John Scully: I picked him to win and the fight went pretty much as I expected. In regards to Hopkins, it’s funny to say but I knew on the night that Chad beat him in Atlantic City in 2012 that he still had something left.
I told a few people after the fight that it was the style and the athleticism and the range of Chad that gave him great problems but in the midst of all that I could still see how he would be effective against less mobile and more reachable opponents.
Jenna: Why do you think no one has had success against Hopkins since the Chad Dawson fight, a fighter you trained to beat Bernard? Is it just match ups, or does it take a special kind of style to defeat him?
Scully: I think when we beat Bernard we had two things going for us: a great game plan, but also a fighter with the physical attributes and skills to carry that game plan out. We also changed the game plan partway through the fight when Bernard started closing the gap on us there around the fourth or fifth round. It was definitely a chess match in there.
Jenna: Right now it appears that they are looking to unify once again, this time against Ring Magazine Light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson. How do you think Bernard is going to deal with that style, and that type of aggressive fighter?
Scully: I think that is generally a great fight for Bernard Hopkins and I think under normal circumstances he cleanly outboxes and especially out maneuvers Adonis in a big way. However, the big aspect is this, Adonis is a huge puncher and I always go back to Manny Steward telling me in April of 2012 that he’s never seen a puncher in the gym like Adonis who literally hurts much bigger guys anywhere he hits them even with sparring gloves on.
So at his age the big excitement would come in watching to see if Bernard has the legs and the resilience to withstand that type of mental pressure and the shots that will get through sooner or later.
Jenna: When it’s all said and done, how do you believe the accomplishments of Hopkins will be viewed? How do you think he stacks up among the all-time great fighters?
Scully: I’m a believer and an advocate in Bernard and his legacy. When I was a kid I marveled at the likes of Archie Moore, Ray Robinson and Willie Pep and what they were able to do at such advanced ages, but Bernard has taken this all to a different level.
He isn’t as active as those guys were in terms of the sheer number of fights, but age for age he is in better shape than they were and he’s more effective against the higher level of fighter.
Jenna: Looking at the different division, Manny Pacquiao recently returned against Timothy Bradley. What did you think of the fight and Pacquiao’s performance?
Scully: I thought Manny looked very good and has shown absolutely no ill effects from his brutal KO loss to Marquez. I thought Tim was a little too over anxious and wasn’t able to stay 100 percent fully focused on his game plan. I thought he fought with more reckless emotion than he did against Marquez and it affected his performance. And I’m sure the event and the opponent had a lot to do with that.
Jenna: Talk is that there will be a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. What do you think happens there and would you prefer Pacquiao taking on some one different?
Scully: It’s funny, you would think it would be interesting to see how he would deal with facing the guy again who KO’d him last time but his success since that fight coupled with Marquez showing against Bradley kind of make it a tough sell in my eyes.
I love the greatness of Marquez and I think he has Pac’s number to a certain degree, and even though he was KO’d so badly last time, I think Manny would end up being the betting favorite today. For me, I’d rather see Pac in with Keith Thurman or Danny Garcia right now.
Jenna: Floyd Mayweather Jr. has his bout with Marcos Maidana on May 3rd, but this fight seems to have less buzz than most of Mayweather’s recent efforts. Do you think that is due to the opponent, or the lack of time to promote it?
Scully: I think many people just want to see him and ‘Pacman’ get in there together. They figure enough is enough.
Jenna: How do you see the fight playing out?
Scully: Honestly, I just feel that Maidana is a top of the line guy and an excellent fighter who is at his peak but Mayweather is still Mayweather and I don’t see any reason to believe this isn’t going to be another 117-111, 118-110 type of fight.
Jenna: Can you let the readers of the site know what fighters you are currently working with and what projects you have coming up for yourself?
Scully: I am actually headed out to Los Angeles tomorrow for the Keith Thurman fight in Carson this weekend to work with Charles Whitaker in his fight with Olympian Terrel Gausha. It’s a tough fight but Charles is a real tricky veteran and it’s a great opportunity for him to try and stay in the mix against a hot young prospect like this kid.
Then on June 6 I have three boxers (“Phenomenal” Philip Penson, Craig “Danger” Duncan and “Money” Mike Sawyer) boxing on a show here in the Orlando area promoted by Roy Cruz’ One Punch Promotions.
Probably the biggest overall event for me personally right now is that I am planning on completing my book (The Iceman Diaries) over the summer and releasing it over the weekend of September 13th in Las Vegas at a big boxing expo they have planned there that weekend that coincides with the next Mayweather fight after the Maidana fight.