Bernard Hopkins admits that the passing of longtime Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson has cut deep, leaving the world at only 54 years of age. But the memory and legacy of Richardson will live on long past his time in the sport as Richardson imparted a lot of knowledge from well respected trainer English “Bouie” Fisher, while also offering plenty of his own unique wisdom.
“People forget how great a strategist Naazim was. Naazim became Bouie’s strategist and he became Bouie’s youth when Bouie became older and couldn’t do certain things. Naazim and I would go over tapes and develop strategies, and even now when I’m watching fights, I see things because of Naazim and how he helped me see strategies play out. He made sure he was on every little thing—from handwraps to every little detail got done. The world saw it. It hurts. I’ll miss him. He was a great man—and a great teacher.”
Richardson certainly had a colorful way with words and a very approachable demeanor — always honest in a way that made you appreciate the man. In fact, I’d say much of Richardson’s impact was not only inside the boxing gym, but also the way he served as a true mentor. And I admit I never knew the man personally, but he was one of the very few people in the sport that I genuinely admired and flocked to whenever he spoke because so much of what he said rang true.
Those who know the man echo much of the same exact sentiment, including the likes of Danny Garcia, Stephen Fulton, Julian Williams, Steve Cunningham, and countless others — all who’ve been influenced by the sage advice.
“I think what I’ll remember the most about brother Naazim is he loved everyone—I mean everyone,” Cunningham said. “I wish I was like him. I wish we were all like him. I find myself trying to hold myself up to high bar.
“I saw Naazim gives props to people we all knew hated him—if that’s even possible for anyone to hate him. But he did. We all knew some guys would back bite him on social media, or talk to some guys in the gym about him, and he knew, too. I saw Naazim walk up to these guys and give them their props to their face.”
It’s difficult for me to imagine someone hating Richardson, I honestly can’t remember the man saying a bad word about any fighter, and I really can’t quite find the right words to do the man the justice he deserves, so I’ll just let some of his work speak for itself.