By Ben Thompson | September 04, 2016

"It's crazy, man. I never, ever talk bad about Eddie. Never. He's like family to me. He's like a father figure. This shit's crazy...I just feel like Lou is the one who made me improve a lot. I basically been, since the Dirrell fight, the Groves fight, and the Bute fight, I feel like I kept him on my team because of loyalty, because I love him. But at the end of the day, it's a business too," stated super middleweight champion Badou Jack, who opened up about his split with his former trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Check out what else he had to say!

BT: Badou, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad was pretty vocal today on Facebook about your split with him. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but do you want to give any details about it?

BJ: You know me, I'm not a guy that's always in the spotlight, always talking. I don't do all that social media bullshit and stuff. I don't do that. From the beginning, it started when I had my first loss in 2014, two and half years ago. Actually, right before that, I was going to fight James DeGale and I wanted to bring in my old trainer, Lou Del Valle, former light heavyweight champion. I wanted to bring him back to camp. He said, "I got some amateurs working with Golden Gloves, so let me finish with them and then like a week or two, whatever, do your fight in New York and after that, I'll come down and help you." So yeah, I went to New York and he was going to come in, but something happened with his fighter or his car, whatever, so he never showed up. So I lost the fight. After that, you need to go the hospital, you know, mandatory checkup to get an MRI. Ain't nobody came with me; nobody except my friend Mike. That's the only guy who came with me. In the hotel room, nobody was there; just him. I mean, I'm not saying it's Eddie's fault or anything. He was more busy with the other fighters of course, so I'm not mad at him about that. That just came up.

So after that, in the gym, you could see people change a little bit. When you get your first loss, that's when you see who's really your friend; who's really there for you. Lou and me, we've been together like in Miami, before I even moved to Vegas, before I started with Eddie. He started crying when he heard I lost. He said, "I want to come down to Vegas. I want to help you and work on your mistakes and stuff." So he came down. That's when there was not no big money involved or anything. He stayed at my house with me and my wife; well, not even my house, my apartment. He stayed in my apartment for 3 months. We worked every night. We even did mitts in my apartment. So the reason for my improvement; since that loss, everything went straight up, like all the way almost to a unification bout.

BT: Lou was already working with you again when Eddie had those health problems, right?

BJ: Yeah. I mean, Eddie was there too. Eddie, he had problems with his hip and he can't do mitts and he's a little older now, you know, but he knows a lot about boxing. So basically I had two trainers, but one of them is putting in all the hard work physically. He's doing all the mitt work. Like, they had different strategies, so that's when everything happened. I started with Lou and then I moved to Vegas, worked with Eddie for 2 years or 3 years, and then Lou came back and we were all one team. You know, I love Eddie, I love Lou. This is why everything is so hard because this is more than just a trainer and a fighter thing. Both of them, I feel like Eddie is like a father figure to me and Lou is like an older brother to me. Both of them are great fighters, great trainers. Both of them are former world champions, so it's kind of hard.

So after that, like, everything went straight up. I worked with Lou; he worked a lot on defense and not falling in, like using my range more. Lou is not even just a trainer, he's like a teacher. He's great. So he's the reason for my improvement, but most people don't even know that. Most people didn't even know that he's my trainer. It feels like he don't get no credit for it except from me. I mean, Floyd knows, Ellerbe knows, everybody in the Mayweather Gym, everybody around us knows, and, you know, our family and friends, but most boxing fans and people that are online on social media, they don't know. They go, "Oh, you left your trainer that made you a champion." Yes, but everything is a team effort, of course, but the main guy for my improvement the last two years, everybody's seen it. Even the haters, they've seen it that I improved a lot. I didn't ask for no easy fights. I've been the underdog in three fights and everybody wrote me off. I believed in myself and my team, they believed in me too.

I never had no problems with Eddie and I was at his daughter's baby shower like not even a week ago; yeah, like last week, six days ago. They're like family to me. I've been knowing them since we moved to Vegas. It's sad. I've been thinking about this since right before the camp with Anthony Dirrell, before I won the title. We were up in Big Bear, me and Lou, and Eddie was back in Vegas. I talked to Lou a little bit about it. I said, "I feel like I have two trainers. You guys don't really get along. When I spar, one guy says one thing, one guy says the opposite, so like, it's hard for me to stay focused, even though I love both guys." Lou said, "No, you should stay with Eddie, especially right now when we got a title fight. You can't leave him just now." I said, "I don't want to leave him. I don't know what I'm going to do; what I want."

I'm not going to say he hasn't done anything. Of course, he's been there. He's a great motivator; he's a great trainer. I just feel like Lou is the one who made me improve a lot. I basically been, since the Dirrell fight, the Groves fight, and the Bute fight, I feel like I kept him on my team because of loyalty, because I love him. But at the end of the day, it's a business too. I've been thinking about this. We had a lot of trouble in camp with all that stuff when Bute tested positive and stuff. Me, I'm not going to badmouth nobody. I could've badmouthed Angel and stuff; I never said anything bad about Angel. I just keep it moving; that's it. For Eddie to talk that bad about me, that hurts me. I mean, I never said anything bad about Eddie.

How I said it, I didn't know, because it's so personal and everything; I didn't know how to say it, but I made my decision that I'm going to make Louie head trainer. Eddie said I texted him and said, "I don't need your services anymore. Fuck you!" Like I said something like that at 2 o'clock at night. And then he posted a lot of stuff on Facebook. But his posts were like at 11-something, so that means I didn't text him at 2 o'clock. I texted him at 10 o'clock. I didn't know how to start it, so I was going to start with a text and then in the morning, when we see each other at the gym, let's talk eye to eye because I made the decision. I mean, I didn't kill nobody; I didn't do anything wrong. Maybe I shouldn't have texted him from the beginning, but I didn't know how to start. But I never said, "I don't need your services. I don't need you as a trainer. You're fired!" I started the conversation with, "Salam alaikum! This is very hard for me to say. I love you. You're like family to me. This is really hard, but I've made my decision. I'm going to make Lou head trainer. I hope this doesn't ruin our friendship." I never said anything disrespectful. I love Eddie.

BT: That doesn't even sound like something you would do, being disrespectful. I've never known you to be a disrespectful guy. I didn't read every post that Eddie put out there, but the few I did see, it did make it sound like you sent him a nasty text message about the split.

BJ: I can even show you a screen shot of the text I sent him. He's a respectful guy. I know the stuff he's saying, he don't mean it. He's just hurt. He's hurt, that's why he's saying stuff like that. Eddie's not even a guy that would say stuff like that either. We're similar personalities; we like to fight in the ring. We don't talk; we fight. He's saying childish stuff like he's going to fight my friends. He's hurt, so I don't take it personal. J'Leon Love left him. Ishe Smith left him. Thomas Hill left him. Ladarius Miller left him. All of them in the gym left him, but it's only me that he talks shit about online. The way a lot of them left him, they just ignored him; they didn't even give him an explanation. At least I did and I was going to continue to talk to him of course because I love him. He's a respectable person. He's a great guy and he's a good fighter, good trainer, so of course people are going to listen to what he says, but because he's hurt, he's talking a lot of trash and people believe that shit. I'm not getting into calling names and stuff like that. I'm just letting you know now so I could get the truth out.

BT: It sounds like you were caught in the middle and were kind of forced to make a decision. I mean, it's never good to have two voices giving you different instructions for a fight. If those two guys couldn't come together as a united front with the same strategy, then it makes sense that you would prefer to go with the guy you personally feel is the best option for you.

BJ: Yes, they're arguing with each other. I'm not saying everything is Eddie's fault or everything is Lou's fault. I just feel like they need to get along. I don't know nobody who has two trainers. You can have an assistant trainer, but basically, both are head coaches and I just had to make this hard decision. The guy that really helped me improve as far as boxing-wise is Lou. He's the one who stepped my game up because Eddie hasn't changed his tactics. I'm not saying it was his fault that I got caught cold with a punch. That's my own fault. Eddie's a great trainer, nothing bad, but for me, I feel like Lou, we click a little more as far as making stuff work. What all the other guys left Eddie for, I have no idea. He's getting a little older and stuff, but he should be a Hall of Famer. The Hall of Fame should be ashamed not having a guy like him in the Hall of Fame. He's a respectful guy. I love Eddie, so it hurts me that he talked bad about me like that because I never talk bad about him and I'm never going to talk bad about him.

I've been trying to talk to them to get along, but it's kind of hard. It's not just that they don't get along; they have different strategies of boxing, so it's never going to work. Sometimes Lou is wrong and sometimes Eddie's right, so it's hard. But as far as that shit going on online, that's childish. He shouldn't do that. He's hurt, so I understand, but the people that talk a lot, like clowns like Rick Glaser, everybody that's involved in boxing knows that he's a scumbag. Of course he's going to write bad stuff about me. He's a guy that worked for my former manager, the guy that put me in a slave contract, that put me in the worst place in Vegas with no furniture, that called me a nigger and robbed me for a lot of money. Of course he's going to sit there and talk bad about me. But, you know, everybody's entitled to their own opinion. I mean, I'm not a bad guy. Everybody that knows me knows that I'm a respectful guy, I'm a humble guy. I have nothing bad to say about Eddie. He's a great trainer. He should be in the Hall of Fame for both his boxing career, especially for his boxing career, but also as a trainer. I'm sad that; it's not really that it didn't work out. It's just that I had to make a business decision based on him and Louie. Louie is the one that should get more of the credit for me winning the titles. Everybody in the gym, Floyd Mayweather, everybody knows. You can ask anybody in the gym. They'll tell you the truth. I love Eddie. I wish him nothing but the best and I want to continue to be his friend, but if we can't be cool and we can't be friends because there's not business involved, then it feels like there was no love from the beginning anyway. It is what it is.


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