by David P. Greisman
One fighter is a prospect early into his professional career and trying to work his way up through the ranks. The other fighter is a former prospect coming off a crushing loss and who now needs to work his way back.
What Badou Jack and Jorge Teron have in common is the man in their corner, former light heavyweight titleholder turned trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.
Jack is a 28-year-old super middleweight from Sweden now fighting in the United States. His 8-0 record (7 knockouts) might not catch as much attention as his nickname: Badou Jack “The Ripper.”
Teron is 26, once an up-and-coming lightweight, but in recent years he’s suffered a decision loss to Aldo Valtierra (avenged in a rematch), a third-round stoppage loss to Brandon Rios, and, earlier this month, a second-round knockout loss to Pier-Olivier Côté that was seen on Showtime’s undercard to Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson. He is now 25-3-1 (17 knockouts).
Muhammad spoke to BoxingScene.com about what needs to come next for both.
BoxingScene.com: What do you see in Badou Jack?
Muhammad: “He wants to learn. Every day is a good learning process for him. He’s in the gym every day. First one in, last one out. He’s a hard worker. I got him throwing good body shots, sitting down on his punches, bending them legs, using a good stiff jab and putting a little pressure on these guys. He’s doing pretty good.”
BoxingScene.com: There are a lot of prospects out there. What do you look for at this point to tell whether this guy is going to be different?
Muhammad: “What they bring to the gym to me. I just raise their status a little higher because of the situations I went through learning the game. What they’re bringing me, I just take it to another level.”
BoxingScene.com: What does Badou Jack need to work on?
Muhammad: “Just a little bit of remembering what we learned in the gym. That’s all that is. Sometimes he gets into the heat of battle and then he resorts to the things that he used to do. A little bit more head movement. He established the jab in our last fight. The balance was perfect. Everything was on par. But I want him to establish a great jab where he’s doubling and tripling up that jab.”
BoxingScene.com: How many times would you like to see him fight in 2012?
Muhammad: “I’d like to see him fight at least about six times next year. I want to keep him busy as much as possible.”
BoxingScene.com: What’s going on now with Jorge Teron?
Muhammad: “He just lost his last fight, I’m still with him. I didn’t turn my back on him. There are some things that we have to get together on to solidify his defense. He has a bad habit of staying on the ropes. He’s a fighter. I got him in his career where he was already established in his boxing game. It’s hard, they say, to teach an old dog new tricks. But we learn. It is what it is. We just got to work harder. That’s all.”
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Cote?
Muhammad: “He’s an excellent prospect. Excellent prospect.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you want Jorge Teron to do next to rebuild?
Muhammad: “I don’t think his confidence dwindled any. He’s just got to go back to the drawing board and use his attributes, what God gave him, height, reach, a nice, good jab and keep those guys on the outside. That’s all he needs to do, basically.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org