From James Kirkland's performance on Saturday, it was obvious that he is a different fighter when Ann Wolfe is in his corner. He had a different look about him. His chin suddenly improved to such a level that he survived a brutal shot from Alfredo Angulo, and his stamina looked absolutely fantastic. It got me to thinking, who else has benefited from being matched with the perfect trainer?
1. Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach
This partnership absolutely has to be number one. Manny was a one-armed fighter who had a bunch of heart and Freddie transformed him into the complete beast he is today. Speed, footwork, power, and stamina have all improved to exceptionally high levels with even his defense getting better. Freddie has been like the unlockable gloves in a video game that gives +10 to all stats. Pacman has gotten so much better that it is absolutely stupid.
2. Wladimir Klitschko and Emmanuel Steward
Wlad had a bad chin and looked like a poor man's version of his brother. He had already lost to the big names of Ross Puritty and Corrie Sanders, when he sought the services of Steward. Even though they lost their first fight together, Steward transformed Wlad into a tall fighter working behind a solid jab with a strong right cross. Wlad is now the best Heavyweight in the world with no one looking to be a serious challenger to the throne.
3. Sergio Martinez and Gabriel Sarmiento
After getting thoroughly beat by the alleged stone hands of Antonio Margarito, Martinez ran off to Spain and met up with Gabriel. Ever since these two have been together, Sergio has lost only one time, which some people dispute, and Sergio has become the undisputed champion of the Middleweight division. Sergio has transformed from a cutie to someone who can destroy a career with one punch. Gabriel wasn't in the corner for the Barker fight, and some people point to that as the reason for the disappointing performance.
4. Bernard Hopkins and Naazim Richardson
I don't know what it is with these two, but its like a Zen master and his star pupil. These two just fit perfectly together and they have been able to keep Bernard competitive as he has aged. At 46 he is the oldest Ring champion ever. The corner talk between these two is always on point and turns close fights into blowouts. Absolutely fantastic!
5. Andre Ward and Virgil Hunter
You knew this was coming. Ward hasn't lost since forever ago, and he will tell you that he was robbed. He destroyed Kessler with an awesome gameplan, absolutely annihilated Allan Green, and had a tough battle with Sakio Bika. Through the Super Six, Andre proved that he was the real deal, and that he could fight with multiple styles. Andre always looks ready for a fight, and Virgil is a driving force for that attitude.
Alright, I've listed a few and deliberately left a couple out for you guys. Have at it, give me your best pairings!