I was recently afforded an opportunity to speak to trainer and former heavyweight contender, Johnathon Banks. Banks works with the reigning IBO heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko and in this interview he speaks about the upcoming challenge of Tyson Fury. Johnathon talks about how he thinks the fight will go and the perception that Fury can’t get a decision in Germany. Additionally, Banks discusses the current boxing landscape, breaking down Canelo vs. Cotto, Khan vs. Pacquiao and give his views on what he saw in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Here is what Johnathon Banks had to say.
Robert Brown: You’re training Wladimir Klitschko to fight Tyson Fury, how has camp been?
Johnathon Banks: Camp is good. Camp with Wladimir is always a pleasure because all he wants to do is get better, find out what he can do to get better and keep working.
Robert Brown: Have you employed anything different in this training camp for Tyson Fury?
Johnathon Banks: We try to improve in every single camp, we try to improve. Wladimir is going to go up against another guy that is undefeated and is taller than him, so he’s just trying to study and improve with everything.
Robert Brown: Is there anything in particular that Tyson brings to the table that Wladimir is concerned about?
Johnathon Banks: No, not at all. He’s dealt with various guys of Tyson Fury’s caliber before but no matter what Tyson Fury says, he’s never faced a guy of Wladimir Klitschko’s pedigree, never. I think Wladimir is having a legendary run, he’s reaching legendary status and Tyson Fury has never faced any one like that before.
(Listen to the full interview here)
Robert Brown: I want to talk about your fighting career. You last fought Antonio Tarver about a year ago, do you plan on continuing your fight career? Do you consider yourself a fighter that trains or a trainer that fights?
Johnathon Banks: A fighter that trains because that’s what I was first and that’s what I still am. I don’t have any immediate plans of going into the ring because my plate is so full with training fighters.
It’s a really difficult situation because now I see why no trainer has ever done it before. You can’t think of one trainer that’s still fighting when they were training the heavyweight champion of the world. Very few trainers get to have that title, and it’s a selective few that have the title of training a reigning champion. It takes so much out of you to do it, so I see why no trainer has done it, because it’s really difficult to do.
Robert Brown: What is your prediction for Klitschko vs. Fury?
Johnathon Banks: In my personal opinion, I think it will be a knockout. That’s my personal opinion because Tyson Fury has said over and over again that there’s no way in the world that he can get a decision in Germany. He guaranteed that he can’t get a decision in Germany, so Tyson Fury is coming for a knockout.
So either way it goes, the fight will end in a knockout. But that’s kind of stupid to say, if you beat him, you beat him. I think the judges of the sanctioning bodies don’t care who wins, as long as someone wins, there’s no bias here. I just think that it’s sounding like excuses before we start fighting. Tyson said he’s coming for the knockout, so we’ll see what happens. Wladimir will be prepared for that.
Robert Brown: I want to get your views on some upcoming fights. Saul Alvarez is fighting Miguel Cotto on November 21st, what are your thoughts on that fight?
Johnathon Banks: I like the fight, I think it’s a good fight for the sport of boxing. I will say this, if Canelo wants to be taken serious as a top world class fighter, he must either get a unanimous decision or he must stop Miguel Cotto. They’re building up Canelo as the next golden boy, Canelo has to live up to the hype. If he struggles against Cotto, his career will be on the down slope from that point on.
Canelo just had a big win over James Kirkland, it was a dramatic fight but Canelo with the backing he has and with the whole country of Mexico behind him, in reality Canelo needs to go in and stop Cotto within seven or eight rounds. If he can’t destroy Cotto, don’t call yourself the future of boxing, because you’re not. He has to be able to destroy the guy.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on Amir Khan potentially fighting Manny Pacquiao?
Johnathon Banks: I think Khan versus Pacquiao is a good fight. I think it’s a good fight for boxing and I think Khan has a chance to redeem himself for a lot of things that he’s made mistakes on. He fought guys kind of wrong in certain ways and he got away with it because he was young and fast, but now he’s older, he’s more settled and I think he has a lot to prove. I think it will be a better fight for Pacquiao to fight Khan than it would be for Crawford to fight Pacquiao.
Robert Brown: Who would you be favoring in that fight?
Johnathon Banks: It’s a toss up to me because neither one of them performs every time they come out to fight, so it’s a gamble with either one. You don’t know what you’re gonna get out of either one of them. I would favor Khan better because you know for a fact that he’s either gonna hurt somebody or he’s gonna get hurt, because that’s what he brings to the table.
Pacquiao has shown a lot of wear and tear, especially in his last three fights. He’s shown a lot of wear and tear over the years, so Pacquiao may be coming to the end of his career, we don’t know that until we see his next performance.
The good and bad part about boxing is that you’re only as good as your last performance. Whenever a champion retires as a champion, everybody always calls them champ because you’re as good as your last performance. If you retire with a belt you forever will be champion. With Pacquiao’s last performance, it looked like he’d been through so much and he’s mentally losing interest in boxing. From Khan’s last performance, he’s re-motivated and ready to go.
Robert Brown: Does the Pacquiao that we saw against Mayweather have enough to beat Khan?
Johnathon Banks: This is the honest truth, if that Pacquiao had fought Timothy Bradley, he would have been knocked out. If that was the same Pacquiao when he fought Marquez the first three times, he would have been knocked out all three times. If that Pacquiao would have fought Cotto, Cotto would have stopped him.
What Pacquiao showed on that night, I think it was Richard Pacquiao, it wasn’t Manny Pacquiao, I don’t know who that was. I don’t know if he froze under the pressure or what. That’s the only thing that you can put on there, that he froze under the biggest light of his career.
Pacquiao froze under pressure and the elite champ rose that night. Floyd showed that he’s an elite champion, he rose that night. I feel Floyd should have knocked him out because Pacquiao wasn’t doing anything, but he still beat him. Either way it went, Floyd said there would have been excuses no matter what he did, and I agree with him. Pacquiao froze under the lights, that’s the bottom line.