By Chris Robinson
Trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad’s stable of quality fighters continues to grow, as the former light heavyweight champion is now working with Philadelphia’s Mike Jones.
Jones’ talent has always been evident, and in teaming up with Muhammad he will be looking to bounce back from his only professional setback this past June when he was stopped in the 11th round by Randall Bailey in a clash for the vacant IBF welterweight strap.
As is often the case with Muhammad, he was contacted unexpectedly by Jones a few days ago and seems intrigued by the thought of helping him rebuild his career.
“He just called me and said that he wanted to work with me,” Muhammad told me tonight. “He said I was a good trainer and he said he needs somebody like me.”
Muhammad worked with Jones for the first time on Tuesday afternoon at the H.I.T. Factory gym right off of the strip and both men seemed pleased with the early chemistry.
“We got in some work and he loved the work that I was showing him,” said Muhammad. “When you see a guy, a fighter, with a smile on his face, I know I’m doing my job.”
I asked Muhammad what he plans on doing with Jones, who at 6’0” is a well-built welterweight with his share of athleticism and range.
“I want to bring all his top-quality attributes to the forefront,” Muhammad added. “He’s a good boxer-puncher. I want him to use that leverage, that good, long jab he has. He’s a good boxer.”
During his bout with Bailey, a fight that took place on the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley undercard inside of the MGM Grand, Jones was well ahead on the scorecards before he was caught out of the blue and dropped by a right hand.
One frame later and a right uppercut from Bailey floored Jones for a second time and ended his evening.
“When he got knocked out by Randall Bailey, he got caught on the ropes,” Muhammad said of Jones’ loss. “He’s not supposed to be on the ropes. His fight is in the middle of the ring and that’s what I’m showing him how to do. Stay off the ropes, keep the guy at the end of your jab, and get the snap off your punches.”
Muhammad has a deep pool of fighters, as he also works with super middleweight prospects Luis ‘Cuba’ Arias (4-0, 3 KO’s), Badou Jack (13-0, 9 KO’s), and Ronald Gavril (3-0, 2 KO’s), as well as junior middleweight prospect Adam Trupish (11-0, 8 KO’s), newly-crowned IBF junior middleweight champion Ishe Smith, and WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.
Between that crop of fighters and all of the talent lurking inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club, where Muhammad often frequents, Jones will get all of the sparring that he needs.
Expect more updates in the coming days.