Adams on Valero-Pacquiao, Linares-DeMarco, Bogere
by Chris Robinson
Las Vegas-based trainer Kenny Adams has worked with some fine talent during his time in the sport, from the likes of former champions Vince Phillips, Kennedy McKinney, Ray Mercer, the late Diego Corrales and others while also leading the 1988 U.S. Olympic team to three gold, three silver, and two bronze medals. And a recent visit to Bones Adams personal gym in Las Vegas showed just how much the 71-year old still has left, as he worked vigorously while overseeing the duties of emerging lightweight contender Sharif Bogere.
Bogere, a Ugandan native now living in Nevada, faces off with unbeaten Francisco Contreras on Friday night in the main event of ShoBox card, and Adams, a former U.S. Army master sergeant, loves his work ethic and attentiveness. Contreras is a bit of an enigma to most fight fans but the Dominican-born, New Jersey resident has a bit of power and a smoothness about his style that should mesh well with the aggressive nature of Bogere.
As Adams as I discussed the matchup and what it means to his budding 22-year old pupil, I couldn’t help but to ask about some of the other talent that has passed through his hands in recent years, notably recently-deceased former two-division champion Edwin Valero, former champion Jorge Linares, and recovering junior middleweight brute James Kirkland.
Valero was an online sensation when he came to Adams in early 2008 and the coach tried to refine his skills as best he could despite the exuberance of the Venezuelan during their short but memorable time together. The highly talented-southpaw parted ways with Adams just weeks before his April 2009 victory over Antonio Pitalua and seemed destined for big things in the sport, making his suicide last year all the more harrowing.
Around the same time he worked with Valero, Adams also took great pleasure in guiding Linares, an outstanding talent, also from Venezuela, who was residing in Japan at the time. Linares has impeccable talent that you simply can’t teach but he and Adams suffered a huge upset together when Mexico’s Juan Carlos Salgado starched him in one round in Tokyo in October of 2009.
Kirkland and Adams made for an interesting pairing and the men took on a brisk schedule earlier this year following the Austin, Texas fighter’s release from prison last October. Kirkland reeled off two victories within two weeks’ time this past March but was subsequently upset and stopped in the first round by Nobuhiro Ishida on April 9th at the MGM Grand, a loss that drove him back to trainer Anne Wolfe.
Hearing Adams speak, I could sense a jovial nature that is a bit contagious as he discussed the Bogere-Contreras fight, the potential that Valero had, his thoughts on Linares’ October 15th title fight with Antonio DeMarco, the risk in Kirkland’s upcoming battle with Alfredo Angulo, and other subplots.
In his own words, this is what Adams had to say…
When he first began working with Bogere…
“About two years ago. This is our seventeenth fight together. It’s been real good. The only difference I have in working with him is that he’s one of those self-taught individuals. All I have to do is kind of re-train him and get him interjected into what’s he’s dealing with in boxing. Certain things I have to break him of some habits but otherwise he’s working very well and he’s a very good student. That’s the best thing of all, he listens very well.”
Bogere’s life and death brawl with Raymundo Beltran in May…
“Completely a gut-check. You couldn’t ask for a tougher fight. This is why, this fight is a tough fight, but his last fight was one of the toughest fights he was going to have, period. And a lot of people thought it was a close decision, could have gone either way, but I felt that clearly we won the ninth and tenth round completely. Took it away from him, just boxed him completely. The early rounds were very tight, but I thought we won it without a doubt.”
Prepping for an undefeated fighter…
“I look at tapes. I’m a technician that looks at tapes and pay strict attention to what everybody’s doing. I mimic everything that he’s done in the ring with Sharif and we’re going to work on his weaknesses and take away his strengths.”
Remembering his time with Edwin Valero…
“I worked with him for fifteen months. It was great working with him. He was just such a fired guy all the time. He was just fired up and ready to go all the time. But really, he was a good prospect and I brought him to the point where he started really learning how to throw hooks and doing certain things, rather than just banging, banging, banging. And those were important things. Even his last fight that he won, when he left about a couple weeks before the fight, it wasn’t a big thing because he took everything before into that fight plus boxing, which he never did before, and that’s something I had taught him to do.”
How he and Valero linked up…
“Originally what happened was, Honda, the guy from Japan, had him and he was hooked up with them and they brought him to me to make some improvements and changes on him. That’s one of the reasons they brought him to me, I’m a technical guy.”
Valero’s lost potential…
“Pacquiao would have gotten beat by him, period. Without a doubt, no doubt in my mind. As a matter of fact, I had already thought of a game plan, we were already talking of fighting him, and I had thought of a game plan on beating him. Now, it would have been a tough fight, but we were going to prove that we were the better people. I’m the better trainer and he was the better fighter, without a doubt.”
Training and winning championships with Jorge Linares…
“It was great working with him. I had nothing but great times working with him. Matter of fact, Mr. Honda and the group, I have nothing but great respect for them. They are nothing but great people to work with. Sometimes we have different philosophies on things. I am a believer in the strength program, and everybody’s got to have that.”
Linares’ shocking loss to Salgado…
“It was a real shock and a disappointment. But once again, he got hit on the top of his head. There’s nothing you could do about that. When you get hit up here and your equilibrium is shot, that’s all it was. It had nothing to do with the fighter; he was the better fighter all the way around.”
Linares working with Freddie Roach heading into his October 15th bout with Antonio DeMarco for the vacant WBC lightweight belt…
“He already knows how to fight, so what is he going to teach him? Nothing. Just get him in shape now, that’s all. But I’m hoping that he’s working towards the strength now. That’s something that he didn’t do enough of before and that was a little different than the philosophy that I had. I thought he needed to focus on strength and he didn’t do that. If he does that, that makes him a better fighter.”
[Reader's note: For more on Valero, Pacquiao, Linares and boxing's biggest stars please visit the following slideshow The Pacquiao-Marquez Timeline / In the gym with Valero, Linares, Pacquiao and more boxing stars / Massive Miguel Cotto Gallery ]
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]
....but Edwin was mishandled by his promoter. Edwin wanted to fight but was protected like Chavez Jr.Comment by micky1971 on 10-07-2011
edwin valero could have kod pacman if........... he would to have needed to land often and also would have had to get off the the floor a few times before doing so. as he said at the time "im the…Comment by voneric on 10-07-2011
Valero would of beaten Pacquiao and would of gave Mayweather all he could handle. Im still upset Edwin went Bi-Crazy and did what he did Because i believe he would of been one of the all time greats..Comment by edgarg on 10-07-2011
I think the writer has made a mistake. Kenny Adams is not "Bones" Adams. Bones is Clarence "Bones" Adams, about 37-38 years old, was a bantam/featherweight, and retired last year.Comment by komandante on 10-07-2011
Pacquiao would have killed him before he kill himself..:chomp:Post a Comment/View More User Comments (9)