Trainer Stephen Edwards isn’t the best-known tutor in the game, but there aren’t many if any better communicators than the Pennsylvania-based teacher.
He gained many followers with his work Saturday night, when his guy Julian “J-Rock” Williams bettered Jarrett Hurd in Virginia, in a scrap which screened on FOX.
“Afterwards, after everything settled down and I got to put things in perspective, I was glad to be part of such a great fight, and that was a great fight. I don’t want to bring race into it, but very rarely do you see two black kids, Americans, part of Fight of the Year,” Edwards told “Talkbox” listeners.
“If you look at Fight of the Year, every year, it’s usually not two black kids, it’s usually like a Latino kid, because their style is looked at as more action packed. Very rarely is it two black kids that’s in it. I was proud to be part of a fight that was that good!”
Yes, “Breadman” is a deeper-level thinker, and has an admirable fearlessness, so he’s sharing what some folks are afraid to part with. He shared that he knew that Julian would win, because he he knew what happened when “J Rock” lost to Jermall Charlo in 2016.
Williams got caught then. He didn’t get “exposed.” He wasn’t now chinny because he got tagged. The trainer knew these things, and reiterated that just in case Williams forgot.
The trainer said that he gets a bit irked at the media and their storylines; he sees fighters, like maybe a Kell Brook, who diagnose themselves during a fight, and get lauded for their toughness. So, did he have to do a re-construction job on Williams’ head?
“Tommy Hearns done been clipped, Duran done been clipped, Roy Jones done been clipped, better guys than you done been clipped before,” he explained to his A-list client, a 154-pound crown-holder.
“This shit ain’t no big deal,” he said. He did remind him, in case he needed it, that he got dropped, but he got up. That is most meaningful.
“That shit didn’t affect me at at,” said the trainer, who didn’t stop believing fully in his fighter.
In case maybe it would mess with him, he had “J Rock” go spar with Gennadiy Golovkin, to let him know he was still whole after the Charlo loss.
“The first time he sparred after that fight, I made him spar with no headgear,” he shared.
More gold from the trainer; “I never made it a big deal, because it wasn’t,” he told the “Talkbox” listeners.
It got me curious — how did Edwards get so savvy?
“Just life experiences, Mike, I been through a lot in life, man. I was facing 20 years in jail, my father was killed when I was three years old. My best friend was my grandfather, he died when I was 24, I was facing a trial, and I had to go through it without him.
“I just told Julian, in the grand scheme of things, this shit ain’t no big deal. You lost your mom in 2013, and we had to help you plan her funeral. Is Jermall Charlo hitting you with a good shot as hard as burying your fucking mom? It’s not. You just gotta put things in perspective. The only reason this thing is a big deal is because people are teasing you on social media.”
He continued about the path post-Charlo loss. He wanted to make sure he knew his chin would be A-OK.
“It’s all about how you look at things. Some people push the panic buttons in certain situations, man, but I’m not built like that. I been through a lot of shit in my life, and I’m just glad I’m able to pass it on to Julian.”
Edwards isn’t known as among the top-tier of trainers, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be. His client list is small, but if he wants to expand, I do expect he can grow the crew if he likes. The game plan he crafted, and how he was able to get his guy to stick to it, and the wisdom you hear from him on the podcast, he is a real one.