By Lem Satterfield
LAS VEGAS -- During the months spent training Shane Mosley for his January, 2009, ninth-round knockout that dethroned Antonio Margarito as WBA welterweight champ, Naazim Richardson and the fighter had their first disagreement.
"When Shane and I had our first dispute, it was about the first time that I went to wrap his hands. Shane wants to fight in the bare knuckle era. Shane don't want nothing on his hands. He wanted to feel the punch," said Richardson, who was in his first bout with Mosley after replacing the boxer's father, Jack Mosley, in his corner.
"So I let him wrap his own hands and he was like, okay, let's go. But I said, 'If you fight this guy Margarito like that, you'll break your hands on his head," said Richardson. "I said, 'this guy is going to be coming at you all day. You've got to protect these things. These are your tools.' But Shane was like, 'I like to feel it.'"
Richardson won the argument, re-did Mosley's wraps, and the rest is history -- including Richardson's uncovering Margarito's illegally wrapped hands that led to a scandal and the Mexican former world champion's suspension from the sport for a time.
"I said, 'Son, you're not going to do it with that little bit of gauze on your hands," said Richardson. "So we came to an understanding, we compromised here and there, and we moved on."
Richardson will be in his fourth bout with Mosley (46-6-1, 39 knockouts) on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Hotel, when the 39-year-old five-time titlist tries to lift the WBO welterweight crown from 32-year-old, eight-division king, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs).
"I found that Shane and I could work together after we had our first dispute. It's like when you meet that girlfriend, and you all are holding hands, and you go to the movies, everything is great. But the reason so many people break up is that they can't handle the new beginnings," said Richardson.
"After you've left that toilet seat up a few times, you start finding out whether or not you can go forward, you know what I mean?" said Richardson. "You've seen her snap, like, "I just left the toilet seat up and now she's got a knife in her hand.' You realize that this is not the sister for you. So this is how things often work out in relationships."
Mosley has not won a fight since defeating Margarito, having lost a May 1, 2010 unanimous decision to six-time champion Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) at the MGM Grand, and, battled to September's draw with former junior middleweight belt-holder, Sergio Mora (22-1-2, six KOs).
"I think that right now, Shane has got a firm understanding of the situation. He understands that opportunities of this magnitude against Manny Pacquiao are limited, and that he has to take full advantage of this one if he wants to create more," said Richardson.
"We got that understanding accomplished so that everyone could get onto the same page," said Richardson. "I think that Shane understands that the few little hiccups that he might have had in camp and anything that wasn't comfortable for anybody involved were taken care of immediately and early in the camp. ."
Richardson also works with 46-year-old former world champion, Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs), who battled WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) to December's disputed draw. Richardson will be in Hopkins' corner for his May 21 rematch with Pascal.
"Every athlete is different, and you have to have a different approach for every athlete," said Richardson. "You have to learn to communicate with them and develop an understanding."