By Michael Marley
It's not true that Coach Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao have won the “Trainer of the Year” and “Fighter of the Year” honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America for the past 10 successive years.
It just seems that way as Roach has dominated the trainer honor while Pacman has done the same for the best boxer award.
With 2011 a month away from being half over, it's likely that neither Roach nor the Pinoy Idol will be copping the familiar honors for this year.
Never overly modest, the newly-crowned oldest world champion in ring history, the estimable Bernard Hopkins has a suggestion for the voters when the time comes.
Hopkins nominates, as a Philadelphia entry if you will, himself and his erudite trainer, Naazim Richardson for the big awards to be presented in May of 2012.
“I think my trainer, Naazim, should be the Trainer of the Year,” Hopkins said.
“Shane Mosley, he did not get the job done (May 7 in losing dreadfully to Pacquiao) so that didn't help Naazim but I think he should get his due. I think we should win the awards together. I think Naazim deserves that status as the best trainer and I think I deserve the status as the best fighter.”
For those of you scoring at home, Pacman mentor Roach has swept four of the past five trainer honors with Enzo Calzaghe sneaking in there to get the 2007 trainer award.
Pacman, meanwhile, has won the best boxer award for three of the past five years. Pacquiao was the winner in 2006 and Floyd Mayweather Jr. copped the award a year later. Mayweather's victory has been followed by Pacman winning two years in succession - with Sergio Martinez sneaking in to win for 2010 with a very close margin of scoring over Pacquiao.
Certainly, Richardson and Bhop are strong candidates for the 2011 awards just as the Andre Berto-Vicious Victor Ortiz bout at Foxwoods, with both fighters rising up from the canvas in a nip and tuck affair, looms as early top candidate for Fight of the Year.
For his part, Hopkins, still on a well deserved victory lap after outpointing befuddled 28 year old Jean Pascal for the WBC light heavyweight title a week ago in Montreal, said he takes both awards quite seriously.
Hopkins revels in referring himself as boxing's OG, or “Original Gangster,” and he has a reverence for ring history beyond his own career exploits.
“I am the Old School Philadelphia type fighter,” Hopkins said. “I am the Throwback fighter.
“I go back with the old Philly trainers, with my guy Bouie Fisher and with Georgie Benton. I am cut from the same cloth and so is Naazim.”
Hopkins said watching old fight tapes is a regular practice for him.
“I watch all the guys, I watch James Toney, tucking in that chin and using his shoulder. I watch how oy Jones had that catch me if you can style. I love to watch my good friend, the great Joe Frazier.”
I asked Hopkins who the greatest light heavyweight champ, excluding himself, might be.
The Throwback Fighter answered with two words, with no hesitation.
One was “Bob” and the other was “Foster.”
Which reminds me, don't let anybody spike your Memorial Day “punch.”
Otherwise, you might look like poor Mike Quary when he got spiked by Mr. Foster.
Only a few oldtimers will recall that that Las Vegas show, which also included Muhammad Ali fighting Irish Jerry Quarry, had a nifty nickname.
“Soul Brothers Versus The Quarry Brothers.”
They don't come up with fight nicknames like that anymore.