It was recently announced that Juan Manuel Marquez will meet Mike Alvarardo on May 17th, with the winner of the bout will earning a fight with the Pacquiao-Bradley winner. If Juan Manuel Marquez is the winner of the bout, he will meet Pacquiao for a 5th time, a rare feet in boxing history. With both fighters having created such action, controversy and shocking moments in the four fight rivalry so far, a final fight between the two warriors is something fans and people in the sport are already talking about.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” interview with trainer Naazim Richardson, I talk with him about the prospect of a 5th Marquez-Pacquiao fight, and who he thinks would win that fight and why. Richardson also discusses ageless warrior Bernard Hopkins and his upcoming bid to unify the light heavyweight titles. Additionally Naazim talks about the future of his fighters and what fights they have coming up. Here is what Naazim Richardson has to say.
Jenna J: Naazim, Bernard Hopkins is set to return to the ring April 19th, how are things looking with him since he started getting back in the gym?
Naazim Richardson: He never really gets out of the gym, he starts like a pre work out, so he’s been in the gym for a minute now just fine tuning some things. Engine on a car like that you got to keep it running, you can’t just let it sit in the garage, cause it might not start up. You got to crack it up and take it around the block many times, constantly.
Jenna J: What are your thoughts on Beibut Shumenov as a fighter?
Naazim: Beibut, I’ve had the privilege of working with Beibut a little bit. He is one of the characters in boxing you might say. He’s a lawyer, he’s rich, he’s like a prince over there in Russia, but he is a talented kid.
He was at the Olympics with my son, he is very similar like that kid Lomachenko, guys like that don’t really feel a need to wait around and take that long drawn out road, they feel like they can jump fight in there, and mix it up, and pretty much they can when you come up in that kind of program.
Jenna J: The fight with Beibut Shumenov is a unification fight, does that add anything for Bernard?
Naazim: It’s a unification, and he knows that. It’s not a new dance for Bernard. He has unified that title in the middleweight division, and can you believe it, the guy is coming up and doing the same thing in the Light heavyweight division, he is a bizarre guy.
Jenna J: Marquez has said that he wants to take on the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley 2. From what you saw of Marquez in his last bout, do you think he still poses problems for Pacquiao?
Naazim: I don’t think he can outshine–Pacquiao won’t let that happen again. Tim is too good and too big of a man for Marquez to get around. But Marquez is another one that you can’t underestimate, when guys set their minds to it, they can lift up buildings.
We’re in an era now where young guys will quit a fight–and I’m not doing like the older guys who say, “It ain’t like it used to be,” but in this sense, it really isn’t like it used to be. In this era, you still have guys that have that tone of the old days, Timothy Bradley is one of those guys.
You gotta protect Timmy from himself, he’s not gonna quit, he’s gonna fight. But these young boys out here now, they sit down on the stool and they look up at the big monitor and say, “Hey my barber didn’t line my haircut up right,” and they want the fight stopped. They’ll be like, “Yo I should have had blue shoe laces with these boots, we’re gonna have to stop the fight.”
It’s gotten that ridiculous with these young guys. Today they get a different type of water in their bottle and they want the fight stopped. We still got guys like Timothy out there, his eyeball could fall out in the middle of the ring and he’ll kick it over to his coach and keep fighting.
Jenna J: If Pacquiao and Marquez did fight for a 5th time, who would you favor?
Naazim: I feel Marquez knows how to beat Pacquiao, I’ve always said that and I still stand with that. Marquez knows how to beat Pacquiao. Pacquiao is a special fighter too so he’ll avoid the knockout, but I think Marquez just knows how to beat Pacquiao.
My biggest problem with that fight is, will he get the decision? It’s very similar to what Bernard does sometimes to himself. Bernard has performances that are so outstanding that in the next performance if a guy does better than that other guy did in the last fight, people tend to give the other guy the decision.
They know Bernard has a Trinidad , Tarver, Kelly Pavlik type of performance in him. So when he comes out and the guy does better than those guys, sometimes judges are like, “Wow, this is not as clean as the Tarver fight.” Then they have a tendency to give a guy rounds and Bernard ends up getting beaten or robbed.
I think that can happen to Marquez with a Pacquiao fight now. With the way he was flattened out, if Pacquiao’s just—that’s how I felt he won some of those other fights, his high activity, his hair shaking all over the place, him bouncing around and nothing is really happening. The commentators say, “Pacquiao lands again”….no he didn’t, but you look up and Pacquiao’s got a decision. In that sense, I wouldn’t like to see that happen to Marquez.
Jenna J: Steve Cunningham will be taking on Amir Mansour in April. Do you think this fight is do or die for Steve at heavyweight?
Naazim: I think the pressure is on him. The pressure is on by the powers that be. It’s the sport we’re in and he has to answer it. If you can’t handle pressure then you can’t be in this sport. This sport is about pressure, it breaks some other guys, it molds some other guys into something special. I know Steve is a warrior, he’ll fight anybody.
I like Mansour, I know Mansour personally. As a fighter, I’m real impressed with Mansour, he’s one of those guys that gets it done on the jab, I applaud him on that. He’s well schooled; I know his team, top level team. He’s got a phenomenal team set around him in place, and he can fight. Mansour can sure fight, it’s a great match up.
Jenna J: What are your final thoughts on Bernard Hopkins fight upcoming fight with Beibut Shumenov?
Naazim: I think he is biting off a little more then he can chew with a crafty veteran like Bernard Hopkins. But he does not really lose anything cause afterwards how much longer can Bernard stay around? Eventually after Bernard collects all these toys, he’s going to throw them down and you can go pick them up. You put that bike down, and you go play with something else or you just keep riding.