By Chris Robinson
Part 1 of a 3-part interview
Two weekends ago, North Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson led the great Shane Mosley into battle in a fight that may serve as their last on the big stage. Facing off with 21-year old Mexican superstar and WBC junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez, the 40-year old Mosley was systematically beaten down in a unanimous decision loss inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada despite putting up a commendable effort.
Mosley fought with a sense of urgency that had been lacking in him over the past few years but he wasn’t able to cope with Alvarez’s quickness or the accuracy that came with his punches.
After twelve fast-paced rounds, Richardson was left wondering what could have been.
“I respect any man that steps inside the ring, especially on the championship level,” Richardson would say when asked if he was content with Mosley’s performance. “But as far as being pleased, I felt like Shane had more to offer as far as the game plan that we put together. It seemed like certain things weren’t happening very early and I was a little disappointed in that. But his heart has never been questioned.”
Mosley has campaigned as a professional for over nineteen years and there is a curiosity as to how long the Pomona, Calif. native will continue on with his pugilistic pursuit.
“The thing is, after the fight and after the camp, it’s time to go back and be with our families, be with our children,” Richardson stated, straying away from talk of Mosley’s future. “You talked boxing for eight weeks and if I talk to him just now, it’s about how the kids are doing, you feel me?”
Following the Alvarez-Mosley scrap, Floyd Mayweather Jr. would pull out a decision over Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto to capture the WBA junior middleweight crown. Cotto offered up as vigorous of a challenge as can be expected but ultimately Mayweather would show his class with precise punching and an overall command of the ring.
Nothing seemed to catch Richardson off guard other than the fact that Cotto emerged a little less scathed that he may have expected.
“It pretty much went how I thought,” said Richardson. “The only thing that I was surprised of was that Cotto didn’t bust up. That was the only concern. I told people I felt it would go the distance if Cotto didn’t bust up. But nothing else would surprise me. We knew Cotto was tough. We knew the last time that Mayweather had a fight that comeptitive was when he fought Oscar [De La Hoya] at that weight class.”
Asked if there are any fights on the horizon for the 35-year old, unbeaten Mayweather that interest him, Richardson didn’t seem too optimistic.
“Nothing left as far as I’m concerned,” Richardson stated bluntly. “I was only really interested in seeing Mayweather fight one guy and that was a while back. And that was [Antonio] Margarito. I was interested in seeing him fighting Margarito before Shane fought him. Because I felt like Margarito would not stop coming.”
The interest in a huge showdown between Mayweather and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao has dulled over the years. Once the hottest topic in the sport two and a half years back, it seems to be clear that Pacquiao and Mayweather are now on different paths and Richardson feels that even if the two men end up meeting, it will surely be too late.
“Lost interest in it? I’ve never pursued a girl that long,” Richardson would quip. “If, by pursued, I mean wanting to see that fight. There’s nothing they could do to make me say that was worth the wait, nothing. For that fight to match the waiting time, it has to be better than Hearns and Hagler. Not as good, it has to be better. It has to be better and longer than Hearns and Hagler.”
The two sides have had a myriad of breaking points at the negotiating table, from differences on a possible random drug-testing protocol to, most recently, Pacquiao and Mayweather failing to agree on the financial split of the revenue that would be generated from the event.
Richardson can’t place the blame towards anyone and seems to feel that pride may have also helped to kill the fight.
“You can’t point the finger, because neither one of us are at the negotiating table with those people,” Richardson explained. “So you really can’t point the finger as to what it is. You’ve got to realize, by the time these guys go to meet each other, both of them feel they are so big that there is no reason to give. Mayweather makes statements like ‘Take the test’ and Pacquiao’s like ‘I’m the king of boxing. Don’t nobody tell me nothing’. Now, if anyone gives on that, the other one just won the first little battle.”