Joe Pastore was Cintron's original strength and conditioning coach / manager during Kermit's 24 fight, 22 KO unbeaten run climbing the welterweight ladder. Then they separated, Cintron was derailed by Antonio Margarito, and Cintron's had an up and down career ever since. Lately it's been mostly down but Pastore feels like he can get Cintron back on track. Here's a Q&A with Pastore from earlier today (January 18, 2014):
Bad Left Hook: According to readingeagle.com you got involved with Kermit Cintron after seeing him hit the pads with under 2 weeks boxing experience. It was the first time you saw him but you immediately knew he was going to be a world champion. You took him to 24-0 and the interim WBO welterweight title. Then what happened?
Joseph Pastore: First off I was only a part of a TEAM that consisted of three people (Marshall Kauffman - one of the best and most underappreciated trainers in boxing, Kermit, and I). Without Marshall I would have never gotten into boxing or got the education in the sport that I have today. I also have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Kermit for being the incredible athlete that he is. As good as Marshall and I were at our jobs, Kermit made us look all the better by his ability to execute everything that was taught to him. As for what happened...BOXING happened. Success...money...two things often perceived as things that would lead to happiness, but unfortunately seems to always reveal the absolute worst in people. When Kermit was unknown to everyone but Marshall Kauffman and I, nobody gave a damn about Kermit or what he was doing. As he won more fights and people became aware of his success all of a sudden people were everywhere. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, wanted to be involved, or had some kind of opinion about his career. He had people pulling him from every direction, and eventually it lead to a rift in our relationship. Unfortunately instead of talking things out personally between us, we spoke about the issues through other people. This in turn led to a lot of half-truths, lies, and eventually a split between us. In hindsight there were a lot of things that could have and should have been handled differently on both ends.
Bad Left Hook: What brought you back together?
Joseph Pastore: A number of things brought us back together. For the longest time reuniting with Kermit was something I never considered. I mean NEVER, not under any circumstances, and I am sure Kermit would say the same thing. Well, 3 years ago I met an amazing woman, Hilary Button, and over the course of our relationship we have talked a lot about boxing and Kermit as both are a huge part of my life. She was the catalyst for me opening my mind to speaking to Kermit again. She always asked, "Have you ever talked to him? Do you ever think that the things you heard might be different than what Kermit actually said and felt?" So that was pretty much the beginning. One of my closet friends (Frank LaPuma) echoed almost everything Hillary said about my feelings toward Kermit.
Then about 4 months ago out of the blue I get a call from Kermit's brother Jason and Jason said, "Kermit wants to talk to you about working together again." I spoke to Hillary and Frank and they both said it was a good idea. Kermit and I met and we talked about EVERYTHING, all of the "he said she said" bullshit, all of the rumors, and everything that has happened in his career since we parted ways. I was shocked to learn the conditions under which he trained for the biggest fights of his career. In the closing of that conversation he said, "Joe, I just have not felt physically the same since we stopped working together." He said everything I hoped he would say without being asked. We finished the conversation; I said I'll see you Monday; we shook hands and have been at it ever since.
Bad Left Hook: Is the Ronald Cruz fight, scheduled for March 15 at Sands Bethlehem, signed on both ends?
Joseph Pastore: I do not know if Cruz signed for it yet. I can say with 100% certainty that we have signed the contract. We have done everything we can to make this fight happen despite Russell Peltz's efforts to sabotage the fight by making unreasonable demands on us.
Bad Left Hook: Are there any concerns fighting Cruz in his home arena (where he's had his last 5 fights)?
Joseph Pastore: No I have no concerns whatsoever about this fight being at the Sands. You are correct in that Cruz has fought his last 5 fights there; but he also lost two of those fights. The losses also coincide with the fact that it only took a marginal step up in class for his talent ceiling to be exposed.
Bad Left Hook: How much do you believe Kermit has left at 34 years of age? Ever since he lost a controversial technical decision to Paul Williams in 2010, he's looked vulnerable and has struggled to win if he won at all. Assuming he beats Cruz, what's the ultimate goal?
Joseph Pastore: What does he have left? Well, nobody knows for sure until March 15. What do I believe as of now? Well, here is what I know: there is a formula for success with Kermit, a training style that suits him based on his attributes. In order to answer this question properly it takes a longer explanation, so, here it goes.
First and foremost Kermit is a PUNCHER, and when properly trained he is absolutely devastating. That is something both Marshall and I understood very well. Over the course of our fights together, Kermit was 24-0 with 22 KOs. He was the 1st person to stop Hicklett Lau (something he accomplished late in the fight while also suffering from the flu). This showcased his ability to carry his power late in a fight, a rarity in punchers. Kermit was also the first person to knockdown Teddy Reid and this was also another stoppage late in the fight (and another demonstration of his ability to carry his power late and stop fighters that were never knocked down before). If you look at the records of those to fighters after Kermit you may come to a conclusion similar to mine...Kermit has career altering power. Kermit ruins guys. Now, that being said, it was the culmination of Kermit's natural ability and the ability of Marshall and me to take that natural ability and expand on it. We understood what we had in Kermit, and what Kermit was as a fighter. We focused on developing him physically, but also to give him the mindset and game plan of a puncher. The results spoke for themselves.
Early in Kermit's career we once discussed what we would do if for some reason something happened to Marshall and he could no longer train Kermit. I said, "The only trainer I feel suits you is Manny Steward." Manny has the same mindset as we did, and he is a master at training fighters that are similar to Kermit in physical attributes and body dimensions. All of Manny's fighters were tall for their weight class. They had long arms, good jabs, and were GREAT punchers. Well, when Kermit moved on he went with Manny and he enjoyed some success. But there was something missing, and that was the overwhelming physical strength he possessed when I worked with him. Kermit was making weight easy, he was in shape, but I started noticing his weight after weigh-ins was only climbing to the low 150s, 152-154 or so. When I worked with Kermit he made weight and by fight time was 160+ pounds.
Then for some reason unknown to me Kermit moved on to Ronnie Shields, a great trainer, but not one I feel suited Kermit style wise. All of the sudden Kermit became a volume puncher. I could see in his fights he looked unsure of himself, like he was caught between styles. It was hard to watch. He won some and lost some. It was so obvious to me something was missing, on top of the fact that he had a lot of personal issues to deal with regarding life in general. Once again he was being pulled in a million different directions. (This is all stuff I found out since we reunited)
As for our plan, Kermit has been hard at work for 4 months now. I was able to attack his training in a well-planned methodical fashion. The first step was putting back on all the muscle he had lost over the years. And through proper training, diet, hard-working and commitment on his part, he did just that. In fact upon digging through old training journals I saw that Kermit surpassed all of his previous bests in the weight training phase of his fight preparation. The next step is conditioning, which we have been working on very hard. During this whole time Kermit has also maintained his boxing training. The final step of the training was the addition of Javon Sugar Hill who is the nephew of the late great Manny Steward. It's like having a young fresh version of Manny Steward working with Kermit. The last part of training for this fight will take place in the Kronk gym under the guidance of Javon. I am very confident in Kermit and the Team we have assembled. Kermit does not drink, smoke, or do drugs. He lives a clean and disciplined life and I do not see age being a factor whatsoever. I commend Ronald Cruz for asking for this fight to be made and I think it shows the character of a real fighter. But I also think that decision was made partly in response to the last few performances Kermit has had. In my opinion it has an air of cherry picking. That's great for us and bad for them. What they saw on ESPN is a far cry from what they will be facing on March 15th. Kermit is going to win impressively unless Peltz finds a way to sabotage the fight or Cruz's people refuse the fight. Know this for sure...we already signed and returned the contract. We took short money and accepted less than fair terms in the contract so as to make this fight happen.
And that should wrap up all of the information you could possibly want to know regarding Cintron-Cruz (a fight Cruz asked for after defeating Hector Munoz). The next question is just for fun and stirring the pot.
Bad Left Hook: Do you operate the twitter account (censored)? If so, you're not a big fan of Adrien Broner, are you?
Joseph Pastore: I do not know Adrien Bronner. I only know what I see him display on TV. In my opinion anyone that that behaves like that should be ignored rather than made into a star. It is part of what's wrong with boxing, the ridiculous disrespectful behavior, excessive entourages, and juvenile sideshows that pass for ring walks. That makes a mockery of everything that makes boxing great.
Bad Left Hook: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything else you'd like to communicate?
Joseph Pastore: Tune in March 15th...Kermit is going to win and win impressively. Thank you for your time.
Pastore’s responses were slightly edited to read better. BLH also caught up with promoter/matchmaker Brittany Rogers to confirm that the fight was as good as done. NBCSN will televise Cintron-Cruz as the co-feature to Tomasz Adamek-Vyacheslav Glazkov.