"The spotlight was not on the trainers years ago. The spotlight was on the fighters. You got trainers out here talking about they are designer trainers and stuff. "If you come to me, I can make you this and that." Ain't no trainer gonna make you anything. The only thing a trainer can do is teach a fighter. To know something is one thing, Percy, but to apply something you know is totally different. It's a whole different entity...There is more emphasis on the trainers than the fighters, and I don't care who your trainer is when that bell rings, your ass better be able to fight," stated world-class trainer James Ali Bashir, who spoke more about the current state of boxing and talked about the difference between now and the old school. Check it out!
PC: You being an old school type of trainer, what do you make of the situation between Freddie Roach and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.? A lot of people think Chavez made Freddie look bad on the 24/7 episodes.
JAB: He don't have any control over that kid and that's because Freddie is a bullshitter, so Chavez is a bullshitter. Freddie is bullshitting. Freddie doing what he gotta do to make his money and he knows he don't have time for the kid; the kid knows he doesn't have time for him, so the kid is a loose cannon. "I do what I want to do because I'm Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I'm a pre-madonna." And instead of Freddie putting his foot down and saying, "This is what we need to do and if you can't do this here, then we need to part ways." You gotta get that fighter's attention and you gotta get that respect right from the door. "This is how it's gonna be and if we don't have it like this here, we need to shake hands and part ways." That's how I do right now and I'm not even as known as those guys, even though I've been out there longer. But right now, when I train a fighter, I look them straight in the eyes and say, "This is what I expect from you. What do you expect from me?" I shake hands and I say, "We got a deal; we start tomorrow." And I don't want to sell my soul for a couple of dollars. I want people to respect me for what I do. I got 40 years in this game. I don't let people come in and tell me how it's gonna be. I'm the specialist at what I do. A kid called me "Pop" one day in the gym and I turned around and I was like, "Who the fuck he calling Pop?" But then I thought the kid is 16 or 17 years old, maybe I am Pop. I saw the former promoter. He's not a promoter no more, he's been out of boxing for a while, but you remember Murad Muhammad?
PC: Yeah, I know Murad well.
JAB: I saw Murad and Murad and I talked and he said, "Yeah I been watching your work man and you do good work. You come a long way from Muhammad Ali's camp." He said, "Now what you need for yourself is another Bashir." I said, "What?" He said, "You need another Bashir. You gotta find yourself an assistant trainer who will be loyal to you the way you were loyal to Emanuel Steward, Tommy Parks and Lee Black and all of these other trainers that you worked with over those years. I was there and you was loyal to them." I did what they told me to do. If they told me to work the left hook, I worked the left hook. If they told me to work the double jab, I worked the double jab. You didn't deviate from that there because they gave you a chance to be something and when that happened, you followed suit and I did. I never deviated from that. So he says, "You need another Bashir now because all of a sudden, those guys have come and gone. They have passed; all of them." Lee Black died one week and Bill Miller died two weeks behind him; Tommy Parks been gone. Carmen Graziano, I was with Carmen the night he dropped dead at a casino in Atlantic City at a weigh-in. He just hit the floor. Everybody thought he was joking and he was dead. Bobby McQuillan and all of these old trainers are dead and gone now. Now I'm the guy that's 61 years old. And now, all of a sudden, I am in the place where they were and I paid my dues to get here, but I never blew my horn. I never got into the mode like the Mayweather's talking about "Joke Coach Roach" and Freddie will say something about them. That kind of shit didn't happen years ago. Trainers didn't conduct themselves like that. The spotlight was not on the trainers years ago. The spotlight was on the fighters. You got trainers out here talking about they are designer trainers and stuff. "If you come to me, I can make you this and that." Ain't no trainer gonna make you anything. The only thing a trainer can do is teach a fighter. To know something is one thing, Percy, but to apply something you know is totally different. It's a whole different entity. He could be a knowledgeable person, but he may be a lousy fucking teacher.
PC: I agree with that. And I know a guy who never got his just due and he was a guy from Kronk, so I know you are real familiar with him and that's Bill Miller, who recently passed on.
JAB: Bill Miller is an all- time great. Bill Miller taught James Toney everything he knows about the sport of boxing, and James will tell you that. He was a real low-key guy and a behind the scenes guy, but believe me, every time I was with Bill, Walter Smith, and all of these guys over the years, I hit them up for information. I was the young guy under them. These young guys now, I go around them today, they won't ask me jack shit. They won't ask me nothing because they think they know more. I used to pump them guys for information all of the time. And these young guys won't come up to you and say, "Hey man, what about the jab? Why do they say everything come off of the jab?" They don't ask nothing and that's why boxing is going down in America as far as quality fighters. Boxing is rising in Europe. And it's not rising in Europe because the trainers are better. No, it's rising in Europe because the fighters work harder to be good. Their work ethic is what makes them better than American fighters. They put their life into it. You got guys here I just told a young man down in Texas, I told him he would have to come to Philadelphia. He talking about, "I'm down in Texas, man. That would be kinda difficult to do." How difficult can it be when you got people that come clear from across the world to come to Philadelphia? Andy Lee traveled from Ireland to come live in Detroit to hone his skills. So if they coming from around the world, how hard can it be to go from one state to another for your career and your livelihood. They don't have that dig down or that desire that it requires to be champion. I look at the super middleweight now, Lindell Holmes, and I don't think he ever won the world championship, but Lindell Holmes would have kicked the shit out of these guys, man. I think Bill Miller trained him. I remember people were talking about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was going to beat a guy named Holly Mims. Holly Mims I don't think Holly ever won a world title, but Holly will whoop your ass. And they put Rubin Carter on Holly Mims and they were saying Rubin gonna hurt him. He dropped Carter, and Carter dropped him along the ropes too, and Carter won a decision and afterwards he said, "Man, this guy can fight." They were old school guys and they learned the logistics of fighting and how to prepare for fights and how to stay focused. It wasn't a bunch of hoopla about who is training you because there were a whole bunch of good trainers around. Now there are designer trainers, and this trainer does that and this one does this.
There is more emphasis on the trainers than the fighters, and I don't care who your trainer is when that bell rings, your ass better be able to fight. Emanuel Steward was just in the corner with Andy Lee telling Andy Lee just take Chavez to the center of the ring and box him, but that was easier said than done because Chavez was on his ass like a lawnmower over grass. He was shaving Andy Lee's ass like a Gillette razor. I said, "Take him to the center of the ring and box my ass. He better sit down on his punches and start swinging with him. Go for it right now." I wouldn't have had him trying to box shit. I would have told him to sit his butt down on the floor and start punching with him. Andy can punch, and I would have had him sit down on his punches and start letting go. Chavez wasn't gonna let him box. Chavez was bullying him all around the ring and Andy was burning critical energy trying to keep him off of him. After the 3rd round, I would have said, "Stop and sit down and bang with him." Lee's hands were better, faster and sharper. He punches just as hard, if not harder, and he should have put some combinations together and tried to back him up. We had to bust his ass and put something on his mind to get him out of his face. All of that movement and trying to box wasn't going to work, and you can see it wasn't gonna work. And that's what I mean by being able to switch gears in a fight. You gotta know when one plan is working and you gotta know where it's the end of the road for that plan. When the end of the road for that plan comes, you gotta go to Plan B. Chad Dawson didn't have a Plan B against Andre Ward. Andy Lee didn't have a Plan B. He kept trying to initiate that original plan and it wasn't working. It was not working, so you gotta abandon that plan and go to Plan B, and usually Plan B means, "Hey motherfucker, you gotta fight." You look at George Benton and Rubin Carter. Carter started clowning George Benton and Benton was a slick boxer and George said, "You know what? Tonight, I gotta fight," and George fought him inside the whole fight. The whole fight they fought on the inside. Sometimes you just have to bite down on your mouthpiece and go for it.