Naazim: Mayweather Fight Will Tell us if Canelo is Special

By Chris Robinson

There always seems to be something special about having a conversation with North Philadelphia-based trainer Naazim Richardson.

Regarded as somewhat of an intellectual Zen master by those close to the sport, Richardson is in Carson, California this weekend, as he will be leading underdog Demetrius Hopkins into battle against hot prospect Jermell Charlo as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader from the Home Depot Center.

Throughout the week, Richardson has been fielding questions from the media about different aspects of the fight game.

Always interested in Naazim’s breakdown of a meaningful, upcoming fight, I asked him for his thoughts on the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez showdown on September 14 in Las Vegas.

Mayweather is coming off of a virtuoso display against Robert Guerrero last month, as he boxed his way towards a commanding unanimous decision victory over twelve rounds. Mayweather showed excellent reflexes, timing, speed, and movement during the contest, none of which seemed to surprise Richardson.

“Pretty much the way we thought it would go,” Richardson said of Floyd’s victory. “Anybody who knows Guerrero didn’t expect Floyd to stop him. And everybody knew Guerrero was going to give the best effort he could, but Floyd is special.”

Asked if he sees similar greatness within Alvarez, Richardson was reluctant.

“I appreciate Alvarez, because I respect athletes who put that kind of work in, but I think this fight tells us whether or not Alvarez is special,” Richardson explained.

“I felt like he only had one test, and that test was [Manny] Pacquiao beat Shane [Mosley], Mayweather beat Shane; he wasn’t there to beat Shane,” Richardson added. “Him beating Shane meant nothing. His job was to go in there and do something that they couldn’t do and he couldn’t get that done. As a matter of fact, Shane ended up fighting him better than the other two.”

Having trained Mosley heading into his match with Alvarez last year, Richardson studied the Mexican star meticulously and came away with some keen observations that he still feels hold true today.

“I had seen Saul close when I was watching him with Shane and I noticed that he has a tendency to fight like a guy who makes weight,” Richardson said. “He moves early in every round. In the beginning of every round, he doesn’t engage, he moves. And then, halfway through the round, he counter-punches. And by the end of the round he starts moving forward and in the second half of the fight he starts fighting, he starts rumbling.

“When he starts rumbling, the biggest plus about Saul Alvarez is he puts combinations together,” Richardson continued. “He won’t just pot-shot. He will run them combinations off and that wins fights.”

Without asking for an official prediction on the fight, I got the sense that Naazim feels Saul might come up a little short when he faces off with Mayweather in three months' time.

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by turnedup on 06-10-2013

We can thank Showtime for this fight and showtime only. Canelo wanted it, showtime loves him, and showtime guarantees floyd's $32 million. I only wish HBO had been this proactive to getting Mayweather VS Pacquaio done...we would've had that fight…

Comment by lebrick on 06-10-2013

[QUOTE=big_james10;13461239]Nothing in your post makes any sense. Who has Floyd whined about fighting? Absolutely no one. There is nothing special about Alvarez, unless you consider hype special. Alvarez won't even rank among Mayweather's top 10 biggest tests. Mayweather's biggest tests…

Comment by cuzzlo on 06-10-2013

[QUOTE=StarPower;13459706]Leonard retired at 25 in the prime of his career. Sure he had some big fights with some big names but dont act like he took on all comers. From 1982 to 1988 he had one fight.[/QUOTE] Leonard had a…

Comment by Reloaded on 06-09-2013

[QUOTE=PunchyPotorff;13459692]Floydie has talent, but until he meets the best without whining about it, he isn't the best. Besides SRR is widely considered the best because he took on everybody, sometimes in fights a few WEEKS apart. Canelo will indeed (FINALLY)…

Comment by big_james10 on 06-09-2013

[QUOTE=PunchyPotorff;13459692]Floydie has talent, but until he meets the best without whining about it, he isn't the best. Besides SRR is widely considered the best because he took on everybody, sometimes in fights a few WEEKS apart. Canelo will indeed (FINALLY)…

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