by David P. Greisman
Naazim Richardson, trainer of Bernard Hopkins and Steve Cunningham, spoke with BoxingScene.com on April 18.
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of the rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley?
Richardson: “I’m a Pacquiao fan and supporter. I’m a Bradley fan, sure enough. I’ve known him since he was a baby. I wasn’t impressed with the fight. I know Bradley’s a better fighter than even that. So Bradley for some reason might not have been able to get to his best that day. It can happen to anybody. Pacquiao seemd a little gun shy. That can happen to anybody when you been through what he been through. I support these guys, and knowing these guys I know that they wanted to bring the very best possible fight to the table. So me not being behind the scenes to see what went on, why we didn’t get that fight, something must’ve went awry.”
BoxingScene.com: Bradley did hurt his leg, his calf muscle in the sixth round. Pacquiao, I think you’re right, was a little gun shy and was patient with his boxing at times.
Richardson: “Here’s the thing: Even if Bradley hurt his leg, if the other guy’s hurt, we’re still going to get a good fight, because he won’t go in on him. And we know Timmy with one leg is going to fight. If his leg wasn’t moving at all, Timmy’s going to fight. Timmy’s not a, “Yeah, stop the fight” kind of dude. Timmy’s going to fight regardless. If Timmy’s arm fell off, Timmy’d kick it to his family and go ahead and fight. He’s that kind of dude. That’s why he’s where he’s at. So no matter what’s wrong with Timmy, he’s going to fight. So if Timmy was injured, and this is the business of sharks in water, Pacquiao’s one of the best sharks in the water, something still went awry. We didn’t get that. Them two guys don’t owe us anything because they’ve given us moment after moment after moment. So what, one of the fightswasn’t spectacular.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think Pacquiao still has “it,” that he can still be a great fighter?
Richardson: “He’s already been a great fighter. I don’t put the Bernard Hopkins label on nobody. I wouldn’t have put it on Bernard Hopkins years ago.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think Pacquiao can still achieve at a high level?
Richardson: “Here’s what I’m saying to you: I don’t know. Years ago when I saw Bernard Hopkins, if you’d have asked me, ‘Do you think he can fight until he’s’ — he’s about 111 now, I’d have been like, ‘I can’t see that far with an athlete in a sport as combative as ours is. You wouldn’t have guessed these guys would do what they do after they’ve already achieved the money and they fame they’ve achieved. It’s hard to believe they can still fight like they do fight. But my biggest thing is Pacquiao and Bradley don’t owe us anything. This wasn’t the greatest fight. So what? They’ve given us great fights. You can’t knock a dude because he feed you every day and then one day he didn’t feed you, and you’re going to hoot and holler about it. Come on, man. He didn’t feed you one day. Go eat somewhere else.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]