By Keith Terceira
A few weeks ago I spoke with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward and was a bit concerned that my old friend was ill, his schedule was forcing increased travel abroad, his stable of fighters that he was training continued to grow, and frankly he sounded a bit under the weather. When the news broke that both Chad Dawson and Miguel Cotto had sought new trainers I grew more concerned.
Today, my fears were put to rest completely, because Steward sounded his old self and reassured me he was well rested and ready to roll this weekend when he works the HBO show at the Staple Center in Los Angeles.
“My health is fine Keith, no worries. Each of the incidents with Dawson and Cotto were separate. What happened with Cotto and them truthfully was they got someone they could pay $50,000 less. I know it sounds bad but that’s the real deal. With the other kid (Chad Dawson) he is a good boy but he doesn’t realize how serious it is fighting Bernard , he wants to train at home because of his kids and his dogs and he got someone that could train him at home so he can send the weekend with his lady and all that. I just don’t see how that is going to work.”
It’s hard for me to understand that philosophy, as it has seldom worked at the championship level. Distractions have no place in a training camp and Steward and I both agree that we may be a bit old school.
“It’s a different generation Keith, we are speaking from experience, but this is a first time for them. Ten or twenty years from now they will be saying the same thing. It is what it is and I mainly wanted to get Andy Lee thru his fight. Everything else was secondary because that’s my fighter.”
Moving on in our talk we hit on Linares training with Pacquiao for this weekend’s battle with DeMarco and Manny found the fact that Jorge had been training with Manny very interesting.
“Linares could easily move up in weight, but with the five pound difference in weight divisions plus four major organizations, each body with diamond champs, regular champs, and champion emeritus. Being a world champion doesn’t mean much anymore. It’s too confusing. Now, it’s all about the fighters that become big enough to be pay per view attractions.”
Steward heads out to California on Thursday and he considers this weekend’s bout a very interesting mix of talent.
“Very interesting night lined up with Bernard (Hopkins) who is a very, very, determined man. Very experienced! It’s not going to be easy for any of these kids to beat him regardless. When I was watching the interview with Dawson and Bernard it didn’t seem that Chad had the focus or the intensity. Style wise though Dawson is the worse guy in the world for Bernard to face that is why he tried so hard to get out of it. I expect Hopkins to come in very well prepared with a good strategy because he is a old school fighter that has surrounded himself with old school people and that will serve him well. With Tabbs and Richardson in the corner Bernard has the ring experience to nullify the youthful advantages that Dawson has going into this fight.”
Concluding our chat we discussed Andy Lee’s defeat of Brian Vera.
“He kept it a technical fight which was a strong point and if we had gotten the 12 rounds like I wanted, I believe he would have stopped him. He kept Vera off balance with that punch we created, that right jab that was disturbing his balance. That jab worked perfect so I’m happy with that.”