By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Trainer Naazim Richardson is no stranger to working with experienced veterans who defy the odds by overwhelming the young lions. One of Richardson's boxers, 45-year-old Bernard Hopkins, is consistently winning fights where the expectations for victory were very low. Another of Richardson's boxers, Shane Mosley, pulled off a shocker of his own in 2009 - when he dominated heavy favorite Antonio Margairto for an unexpected knockout victory.
When Richardson sat at ringside to watch Erik Morales put on a performance of a lifetime in his twelve round majority decision loss to Marcos Maidana, the veteran trainer wasn't shocked. Most of the press were expecting an early knockout victory in favor of Maidana. Richardson expected a very tough fight because he believed the gap in experience would play a major role in the fight.
"I always said that you can't be sure of that [regarding Maidana being a lock to win by early KO] because of Morales' experience and he's more familiar with wars than just about anyone else in the game. Look at the guys who he's been in wars with. Maidana has not come out good at end of his wars with Kotelnik and Khan, but Morales has gotten the better of some of his wars and he's been in with some of the best in the game. [I'm not shocked] with a guy like Morales," Richardson told BoxingScene.com.
"If Maidana and them were disciplined, they would came in thinking 'he might have one good fight in him like that.' The man underestimated Morales a little bit. He started listening to the media and then you start believing what you hear people say. You can't count these older guys out, not when they bring that experience to the table. He may have had a tough time making the weight, but that still doesn't take away his experience and the fact that he knows that he's being counted out. You can't mess with a man's ambition and a man's pride. You can't mess with a man's ambition and what drives a man."