"Chad just done something that has kind of made me a Chad Dawson fan, and I probably gotta give the credit to Al Haymon. I believe in what Chad Dawson is doing now. It's a brilliant decision. I go down to super middleweight, the excuse is built in. We got it. I go down to super middleweight and no matter what happens now, I couldn't make that weight. So he goes down to super middleweight and Ward beats the breaks off of him; may even stop him late," stated world-class trainer Naazim Richardson, who shared his thoughts on a number of subjects, including the intriguing September 8th clash between super middleweight king Andre Ward and light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. Check out what else he had to say!
PC: There are talks of Steve Cunningham moving up to heavyweight. I know we talked before about strength and conditioning coaches. If a fighter was to go that route, you want them to do that first, right?
NR: Yeah man, I think, because I actually thought about bringing him to Mackie Shilstone, who is retired from fighters, but he is good at what he does. But yeah, I would send my guy to a strength guy for like the first month of camp. That way, when they come back to me, it's all about boxing. He could put the weight on right, you know? I look at a guy like Eddie Chambers and I'm telling you, he has ridiculous hand speed. Eddie has the fastest hands I've ever seen for a guy with 18 oz. gloves on. For some reason, his hands are faster in the gym than in the fight, but if he let 'em go like he does in the gym, he would be a heavyweight Pacquiao. That kid has fast hands. But I would let Mack have Steve for a month and then we would just get pointers because Mack isn't just a stickler on what you eat. Mack is a stickler about what time you eat. After the weigh-in, Mack wants you at the plate at a certain time. He's got enough credibility from what he has done to where you gotta respect that. So it is what it is and I have always respected him and the way he does it. I would let him do a month camp with Mack and then the next 6 weeks is ours.
PC: You have known Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson for a long time, since they were kids. What were your thoughts on the positive tests?
NR: It was surprising because, you know, they went through that amateur shit. They used to test you. I remember we used to be leaving for the gym and them jokers popped up in front of our house. I remember when Rock was at the Olympic camp. He said he was feeling offended. I said, "Why?" He said, "Shit, they don't test nobody but me and Andre Dirrell. They done tested us more than everybody else combined damn near." (Laughing) But, you know, hopefully they get everything together. I have known both of them for a long time, like you said, you know?
PC: I was actually happy to see Shane Mosley walk away. I always thought you gave him great instructions in the corner, but it got to a point where he couldn't carry it out anymore. He was very realistic in walking away as well.
NR: I looked at it from a standpoint where I said I'm not gonna let this kid hurt him. If it's time to walk away, this will be the truth to him. I know he had legitimate injuries against Mayweather and Pacquiao, but even if he wasn't injured, that's Floyd and Manny. I went into that fight thinking this kid [Alvarez] is already one of the most popular Mexican fighters in history. If he can surpass you, the guy who beat Oscar, who beat the great Chavez, then he becomes the greatest Mexican fighter. Regardless, there will always be an argument, and 10 years from now, they will have an argument of who is the greatest Mexican fighter and Canelo's name will always be in it because them guys couldn't get past Shane Mosley and he did, when the Margarito's and the Oscar's and the Vargas's couldn't. So I knew that kid would be motivated. When you have been as special as Shane is, it's hard to break that mode. Once he go into that Superman mentality, which probably made him great; I really believe that's what made him great. I had better arguments against it, but I couldn't defuse that because that might be the bomb I need, so I couldn't defuse that. For years, Shane showed up in shape and just beat everybody. You were better than everybody then. You were Superman then, but when they figured out the kryptonite, now you're not Superman anymore, so we gotta learn how to defuse the kryptonite first before we win this battle. And sometimes you are just fighting an uphill battle and the kryptonite is going to get you every time. There comes a time where we all come to the end of the road. Be thankful that you had a good time. He got to do more than most and got to go places others didn't and it is what it is. I told people when you fight on talent, once that talent fades, you don't just lose fights, you get beat up in there. If Bernard Hopkins comes back at 65 years old, he may lose fights, but he won't get beat up. See, Bernard's not gonna get beat the fuck up. Even though he's an older guy, these young guys are going in there to get the decision. I told them Chad Dawson learned how to win 7 rounds out of 12, and that's what he done.
PC: Chad is fighting Andre Ward, who I know is a guy you like to watch fight. What do you think of that?
NR: Chad just done something that has kind of made me a Chad Dawson fan, and I probably gotta give the credit to Al Haymon. I believe in what Chad Dawson is doing now. It's a brilliant decision. I go down to super middleweight, the excuse is built in. We got it. I go down to super middleweight and no matter what happens now, I couldn't make that weight. So he goes down to super middleweight and Ward beats the breaks off of him; may even stop him late. Ward is a big Bernard Hopkins fan and he will carry that personal shit on his shoulder. He may even stop this boy as some extra shit; just for some extra "I got him for ya'll Naaz" type shit. Ward is that kind of kid. So he go in there and shuts this dude off and Dawson keeps his belt and goes back up to light heavyweight and he gets a chance. You got a bigger man going down, and he's not an old man, so anything can happen; this is boxing. So he goes down there, it's a great gamble. At some point in time in your career, you're going to gamble to become a contender, you're going to gamble to become a champion, you're going to gamble to make some money and then you gamble to be great. This is a great gamble for Dawson to be great. He goes down there and something weird happens; see, Ward's stock went even higher after the Froch/Bute fight. I already knew Ward was, but he showed me how mentally smart he is in the business. He showed me he's becoming that kind of dude when he said, "Nah, Bute don't get that shot when we fighting killers and he's fighting C-level type guys and then get the prize. He gotta go through these creatures like we did. Let that joker fight Froch. Let him fight Arthur Abraham and some of them cats. When he gets past them, then he can come and see me. He gotta prove he's earned the right to fight me. You don't get past Librado Andrade and then think you get to face the best super middleweight in the world. I don't care how much Canada is putting out and promoting and hyping you up." I think that was a great move by Andre Ward. So I think it was a great move by Ward for what he did and it was a great move by Chad. It's a phenomenal hustle because it puts him in position to win a title at 68 and keep his at 75, and if he gets beat at 68, he doesn't lose any credibility at 75.