by David P. Greisman
Naazim Richardson will be in the corner of Steve Cunningham when the former cruiserweight titleholder faces unbeaten heavyweight slugger Amir Mansour on April 4 in Philadelphia.
Cunningham, 37, is 26-6 with 12 knockouts and will be in his fifth fight since moving up to heavyweight. That campaign has included a decision win over Jason Gavern, a controversial split decision loss in his rematch with Tomasz Adamek, a knockout loss to Tyson Fury and a decision win this past December over Manuel Quezada.
Mansour, 41, is 20-0 with 15 KOs and is coming off a stoppage of Kelvin Price in December. The bout will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Richardson spoke with BoxingScene.com on March 11.
BoxingScene.com: What do you think of Steve Cunningham’s upcoming fight against Amir Mansour? It is a heavyweight bout against a true heavyweight opponent.
Richardson: “A heavyweight that sure enough is a whirlwind. Mansour is an older guy that understands his position, so he ain’t wasting no time. So Mansour is going to bring it the way it needs to be brought for him to be relevant in this sport. Cunningham is going to take that challenge, and then we’ll see him April 4.”
BoxingScene.com: Does Cunningham belong at heavyweight in your mind, or should he still be at cruiserweight?
Richardson: “What we’ve learned is we’ve asked the question: ‘Should Bernard Hopkins still be fighting at this age, or should he be retired?’ If history has told us anything, it’s told us to not put limitations on man. Let man find his own limitations. What if we’d told Bernard to retire after Trinidad? You wouldn’t have had Pavlik, you wouldn’t have had Cloud, you wouldn’t have had all those others.’ So who are we to say? We didn’t tell them when to start. We can’t tell them guys when to stop.”
BoxingScene.com: So what does Steve Cunningham need to do to beat Amir Mansour?
Richardson: “To beat Mansour, you need to be an intelligent fighter and stay clean from some of that nonsense that Mansour’s bringing, because Mansour’s bringing fury, and you’re going to have to deal with it.”
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