by Jenna J & Ruben – During the 199th edition of “On The Ropes” I had a chance to speak at length with former 3 time heavyweight champion Michael Moorer to get his views on how he sees the sport today. Michael gave his views on Floyd Mayweather Jr’s recent win over Saul Alvarez and also his gave his thoughts on what fighters he sees out there that are threat to Mayweather.
Moorer also touched on his experiences in training Manny Pacquiao, and why things did not work out at the Wildcard gym and gave his perspective on the heavyweight division of today. Additionally Michael talked about his involvement in the Find a Dream foundation and what he hopes to accomplish with it. Here is what Michael Moorer had to say.
Jenna J: Michael, before I get your thoughts on your career and what you are doing now, I want to get your thoughts on the big mega event we saw a few weeks ago, Mayweather vs. Canelo.
Michael Moorer: It was a good fight like I thought it would be, because Floyd showed his skills, his talent, his charisma in the ring. Me, I thought he won every round, he did everything he had to do, he prepared himself very well, and a lot of people don’t like him cause he’s cocky, but when you are the best why not be a little cocky?
Jenna: Were you surprised that Canelo did not give him more of a fight?
Moorer: Well I was not surprised because Floyd has a style that a lot of people can’t adapt to. Floyd’s speed, his elusiveness, as far as getting his hands out of the way and counter punching, people can’t deal with that, they are use to either straight up boxing, or straight up slug. But Floyd is a boxer, puncher, he don’t knock a lot of people out but he punches and he punches you pretty good. I was not surprised at all. Canelo is a champion himself, he’s a young man and he has a lot left in him.
Jenna: Michael, you were an assistant trainer to Manny Pacquiao for a little while. Did you ever at any point think that Pacquiao could of been the type of fighter to defeat Mayweather?
Moorer: Anything is possible because this is the game of boxing. It’s hard to say because different styles make fights and being that Manny is a southpaw, hard puncher, takes risks, he can box, he can punch on his toes, I don’t know how Floyd would of handled that. On the other hand, Floyd, he stays flat footed at times and at times he dances around the ring and does a good job at it.
That would still be an exciting fight, people don’t want to see it now, but it will still be an exciting fight, because both fighters would get up for the fight. Unfortunately it did not happen back then, but maybe it will happen in the future just to say he fought Manny Pacquiao.
Jenna: Now Michael do you see anyone out there you would consider a threat to Mayweather Jr?
Moorer: I don’t see any threats, I see good fights. But Floyd being the type of fighter he is, he is always going to come on top. I just don’t want Floyd to get bored with this sport of beating everybody and he’s not going to challenge himself. I don’t know him personally, at that level, but I just hope he does not get bored because he is beating everyone and no one poses a challenge to him. If he goes up to fight Martinez he will figure a style to beat him. There is no one that can deal with Floyd. If you have to be honest, no one can deal with him.
Jenna: Michael, they say the hardest thing to do in this sport is to retire. When it came to yourself and ending your career, what ultimately made you comes to that decision?
Moorer: Because there was nothing more that I could accomplish. I won a heavyweight title 3 times, the light heavyweight title once, and I still had my senses. I have had 18 surgeries from fighting and after that last fight in 2008 I had to get my last surgery on my hand, on my left hand, so it was time to hang it up. I did not want to take the unnecessary punishment where a lot of fighters stay in for the wrong reasons, I was done. I accomplished everything and had a very blessed career, very fortunate.
Jenna: Alright, lets talk a little about what you have been doing after your career, that being a trainer. Can you tell me what that shift was like for you?
Moorer: It’s an easy transition, nothing really complicated about it. Being a boxer and still having the skills to go out there and help other fighters, I thought I’d be a pretty good.
Jenna: Alright well you did work for a little bit at the Wildcard gym, what happened with that and why did you decide to move on?
Moorer: Well at that time when I was out in California, people who live out in California, some people are very fake out there. Everyone you ask what they do, everyone’s an actor or actress but yet they still work at a convenience store or they work someplace else.
So Freddie was out of town, Manny was in town, Amir Khan, Vanes Martirosyan and there was a couple other fighters there, big fighters. Being that I was his assistant I had to help and take care of these guys, make sure they were doing everything right and I would call Freddie to give him updates but he wouldn’t answer my calls. I’d just try to reach out to him, I never got a return phone call.
So one day I’m at the gym and I see him getting out of the car and so I go down stairs and said, “Freddie can I talk to you?” He said “Yeah come on.” We jumped in the vehicle and started talking, I said, “I got a bad feeling what’s going on?” and he said “Well Manny doesn’t want you here anymore, Amir Khan says you’re always on him, riding him and this person said that.” And I’m like, “Really?” Where I’m from if you got a problem, you say it to the person as a man, they never said it to me, I said “I’m just doing my job.”
I don’t know what the situation was, I was always portrayed to be the bad guy, the bodyguard, the bad guy, the guy that makes people go and leave. That’s just me, the east coast is totally different from the west coast.
Jenna: Yeah I got to ask you, is that the trainers approach? You worked with Teddy Atlas, hard nosed, right in your face, if he didn’t like something he would tell you. Do you think fighters out in the west coast or in particular the Wildcard gym are being cuddled a little too much?
Moorer: No, I wouldn’t say all that. I will never say anything bad about Freddie Roach because Freddie Roach gave me an opportunity and we still talk to this day. I’m very thankful for that opportunity. I don’t know what the situation was, I got along with everyone I thought. Most people sugar coat things, I’m not the type of person that sugar coats, I’m gonna tell you how it is the way I like it, if you don’t like it, hey we’ll try something else. But it’s gonna be the right way, it’s not gonna be the way you wanna do it.
Jenna: Alright Michael lets talk a little bit about what you’re doing that’s a really good thing and I’ve heard about it from Ray Mercer. Find a Dream organization, you guys are going back out to Hollywood, can you let the fans know a little bit about what you’re doing with that?
Moorer: Yes, on the 26th of September we’re gonna go out to the San Gennaro festival out in Hollywood, California. We’ll be out there for a few days, Ray Mercer and I, along with Rod Ricciardi. We’re gonna go out the and do a lot of different things with Fiat and it’s gonna be good. Hopefully we can get a lot of people to try to understand what we’re doing with the Find a Dream foundation and get a lot of people to jump on board hopefully.
Jenna: Can you let the fans know exactly what the organization is trying to do, what they’re trying to do for kids?
Moorer: Well if anyone wants to go to the website, it’s findadream.org. It’s what we do, it’s how we try to build inner city kids up, take them from the slum and build them up to help them do things and be a part of their lives where they can get comfort from older people, like a big brother thing. Ray is happy about it, I’m happy about it and to be associated with an organization, a foundation like that, I’m very, very grateful for Rod to have me on board.
Jenna: Now what kind of impact do you think boxing can have on kids?
Moorer: Well the bullying thing, there’s a lot of bullying in schools still, the kids, inner city kids, there’s regular kids and there’s kids that are the higher echelon of whatever they want to call it. There’s bullying in everything and for someone to try to talk to someone about getting, “Hey can you help me do this, can you help me do that?” you know they’ll look at them like they’re crazy.
With Find a Dream, if someone wanted to learn to box, we can go and teach them how to box, we can possibly one day open up a gym, a Find a Dream gym. We’ll teach inner city kids how to fight and all the bullying will be gone because you’re gonna gain some confidence, you’re gonna gain a lot of self respect for yourself and hopefully we can get that accomplished.
Jenna: You just mentioned that you might want to open a gym with that. Do you think your ultimate dream with the foundation is to possibly open a gym for these kids to go and get them off the streets?
Moorer: My ultimate dream is to open up a gym here in Florida, you know it takes time and I want to make sure it’s the right fit for the right situation with what I want it to do. Hopefully it will be real soon.
Jenna: Alright Michael I just got a couple more questions before I let you off the line. Because you are a former heavyweight champion and now the 21st heavyweight champion to appear on the show, I’ve had every single one from the 90’s, you’re one of the last missing pieces to that puzzle. What do you think of the current heavyweight division now, two headed champion, the Klitschko’s, what do you think of them?
Moorer: Well the Klitschko’s can fight, they have size, they know how to use size to their advantage, they know how to use their reach to their advantage. They don’t go in there and get reckless, going out there trying to throw bombs. They study a person, they use their boxing skills, their height advantage and that’s great. There’s not to many people around, well there’s no one around now that can beat these guys because they’re dedicated to the sport, dedicated to what they have to do.
There’s a lot of American guys who think because you’re big that you can fight and that you should fight for a heavyweight title. No, it’s how you gotta go about it, the training, the fighting, the respect, the self respect for yourself, things like that. The Klitschko’s are gonna be around for a long time and if it’s not a long time, they’re gonna be out of the game because they’re gonna retire.
Jenna: Now, how important do you think it is for the heavyweight division to have an American heavyweight champion again? Do you think that is what will bring the division back?
Moorer: For all these years boxing has been in existence, there’s always been an American heavyweight champion. There’s no American heavyweight now, so maybe it’s the first in such a long time, I don’t know the history about it but a heavyweight champion not being a part of America, that’s just bad.
To listen to the Michael Moorer interview in it’s entirety please go to the 25:40 minute mark of the show.
If you would like to learn more about the Find a dream foundation, please go to www.findadream.org