By Chris Robinson
During the lead up to the May 7th Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight I had been keeping tabs with Mosley's trainer Naazim Richardson, a man always full of some kind of insight. From claiming that Shane was going to shock the masses by 'smashing' Pacquiao to calling the Filipino superstar the 'Rubik's Cube of boxing', Richardson's words had weighed heavily on my mind.
While in Big Bear, California, yesterday for their open media workout I again crossed paths with Naazim in an attempt to assess where Team Mosley is now with the fight less than four weeks away. I asked Richardson if it was hard for him to not have his emotions tied to a fighter like Shane with a fight that is so dangerous.
"I don't mind my emotions being tied to it because my emotions are tied to Shane Mosley," Richardson rebutted. "I care about the man. I'm concerned about the fighter but I care about the man. I'm tied to this emotionally, that's why I don't take a lot of jobs. Because you get 30 to 40 guys in the gym. I'm emotionally tied to all of my athletes."
Richardson began working with Mosley heading into his January 2009 thrashing of Antonio Margarito and I asked him what he has learned about Shane's temperament in that time.
"Like I said, it goes back to the statement I told y'all and I'm going to keep telling you," Richardson fired. "He's a great human being who just happens to be able to fight his ass off. That's a testament to the Mosley tribe, to Jack and his mom and his sisters. The family that he has, the network around him is awesome. It made him an extraordinary human being. The boxing is secondary."
Richardson is a man who studies the sport meticulously and can often be seen watching tapes of his opponents in an attempt to break down their strengths and weaknesses. So just how often has he been having viewing session of Pacquiao for this particular camp?
"At this course in the camp I've backed off some of the tapes of Pacquiao because you watch him so much that it can become mundane. So you back off of him for a while and then you regurgitate him later on. Then you reassert him and add little things you might not have saw earlier. Keep watching throughout the camp can be mundane," he continued.
What's been overlooked by some is that Richardson is dividing his time with his training of Mosley, as his other star fighter Bernard Hopkins is getting ready for a May 21st rematch with Jean Pascal in Quebec, Canada, the site of their first fight that ended in a controversial draw. Richardson claimed that it isn't a problem being away from Bernard because he is completely focused for another dance with the Haitian-born WBC light heavyweight champion.
Richardson said that Hopkins' focus will spell trouble for Pascal.
"Bernard is so prepared that it is rough to be Pascal right about now. It's going to be real rough to be Pacal."