In a thread that has alas now moved closer toward the oblivion that is "Off The BLH Main Page", a debate has arisen as to whether or not Shane Mosley has an advantage over Floyd Mayweather in terms of their respective trainers for their upcoming bout. Since I sat and attempted Tolstoy-esque garrulousness on the subject, I thought it would be a waste to simply leave it down there in the depths of purgatory, forever to be forgotten and disregarded by the mists of time... blah blah blah.
Anyway, I have a ferocious ego, and as writers write to be read (paraphrasing George Orwell), I thought I'd post my quasi-essay here:I'd take Nazim Richardson over Roger Mayweather any day of the week, AND the day after.
Let’s talk about what Cotto and Mosley did differently against Margarito. Both outsped him, both hit him with some really nasty stuff, both looked like they couldn’t lose against the bigger but slower Margarito.
The difference? Cotto went first. Had Shane been in there with Toni that night I firmly believe Toni beats him too, and then that Cotto dismantles Toni straight after. Why? Because of the gameplan laid out in the first fight.
Cotto punched straight down the tubes, landing over and over again on the chin of Toni. Some of those shots made ME wince watching them. HE was unloading on Toni, knocking the fucking hell out of him, but it still couldn’t deter him.
So what did Mosley do differently? He listened to Nazim Richardson, who told him not to punch straight, not to hit Toni on the chin. Move sideways rather than backward and forward, and punch round corners. Mosley didn’t hit Toni on the chin until the 8th round, I think it was, and by then Toni’s head had been snapped round so many times he thought he was watching Wimbledon. Punching him to the temple was disorienting him, making him dizzy, and affecting his balance.
I wrote on here before about the difference between punch resistance and great ‘chin’, and this was a prime example. (Another was Andrade, who Bute could have whacked with a crowbar and it wouldn’t have bothered him until the fight was taken out of him elsewhere.) Nazim Richardson saw a way of proving this distinction, of giving Mosley a target to aim for that made Margarito human again despite that fucking granite chin.
The gameplan was flawless, and that was Nazim Richardson. He took a deservedly heavy underdog, and made him the welterweight champion.
Now, let’s have a quick look at Bernard Hopkins and his last legitimate fight. Remember that again, Bernard was a 4/1 underdog vs Pavlik, and the question seemed to be when Kelly would win, not whether or not he would.
So, how did we all see the fight going? I know that all the people I spoke to saw it as a chase-fest, with Pavlik going after Hopkins and Nard running backward until Kelly could land that big right hand…..
Instead, Nazim told Bernard not to take a backward step, to rely on superior head movement and hand-speed to hit without getting hit while going forward rather than backward. Within the first three rounds Pavlik knew this fight wasn’t going to go the way he’d envisioned, he was disillusioned, disheartened and practically beaten already. I say all this as a Kelly Pavlik fan, too.
Bernard put on the masterclass, there can be no doubt of that. However, there is no way in the blue fuck that Hopkins decided to do that on his own. That was a Nazim Richardson gameplan all over: Use the biggest strength/weakness disparity between you and your opponent in your favor. With Mosley it was lateral movement and speed combined with punching to one specific target area, and with Bernard it was hand-speed and elusive forward movement (because although we all suspected Pavlik doesn’t fight well going backwards, Hopkins proved it for us) combined with the element of surprise.
Both guys took the fight to a guy they were expected to be chased down by, both guys were heavy underdogs, given little to no chance by most of us on here and by boxing in general. Both guys were given a gameplan by Nazim Richardson, and both of them thoroughly dominated their opponents on the way to handing out some serious lessons in how to win boxing matches.
On the other hand, Roger has to work with Floyd, who has made it his business to not go in with a guy we don’t already know he’s going to beat. All Floyd has had to do in recent fights is be Floyd, and I think even Jack Loew couldn’t have fucked that training job up.
When Roger Mayweather takes a prohibitive underdog and shows them a way to win a fight that they shouldn’t by rights be able to win, then I’ll start to give him some more respect. Guiding Floyd to a boring points win over JMM doesn’t quite cut it.