Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steward Interview On Haye & Wladimir

This is a new interview with the hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward after David Haye became the new WBA heavyweight champion with his win over Nicolai Valuev. Steward talks about Haye, about Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko, and how soon we should expect to see Wladimir back in the ring plus much more! Here's the interview:

Q: Emanuel, what was your evaluation of David Haye’s performance in his victory over Nikolai Valuev?

A: I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t get to see it. I didn’t see the fight but it went pretty much like I figured. Valuev was too big for David to really mount any substantial attack with anything to devastating. Valuev is just slow and doesn’t seem to have the excitement and enthusiasm to be exact about anything that he does. He just plods and goes through the motion. And it was the type of fight that there was a champion crowned and David’s got his belt now, but it was the type of fight that I never expected to be much excitement. I think Dave would be more exciting if he fights a Klitschko, particularly Wladimir, because Wladimir out of all those guys is a little shorter at six-five and a half or six-six, and he’ll be a little more explosive.

I just never could see the fight being too much because of Valuev’s size. It was just hard for David just to even reach him up there to try and hit him with something, but I thought his speed and natural athleticism would carry him through the fight. Basically, I was talking to Phil Anselmo on the phone, he was telling me as it was going on because I was over doing my broadcast in Hartford, Connecticut. So I was at ringside and he was giving me an account as the fight was progressing..

Q: Is a fight with David Haye something that you and Wladimir would be interested in, in the year 2010?

A: That’s the fight, that’s the only fight that I would get excited about myself, for Wladimir, because David is still a very explosive puncher, and for somebody more closer to his size, I think he has got tremendous explosive power, good coordination and reflexes, and he’s a smart fighter. I’ve watched his fights, he’s improved a lot from where he was a couple of years ago, and he is a challenge. I know when we were preparing for him it was when of the few times that I really worked with a fighter in preparation that I would have a lot of anxiety myself about him. So maybe he’s a fighter that you could never underestimate.

Q: A lot of Haye supporters and Klitschko critics point to Wladimir’s chin as evidence that David Haye has a really good chance against Wladimir. How would you respond to accusations from Wlad’s critics on that front?

A: Well first of all, I think David is a danger for anybody because he’s a good puncher, with good speed and explosiveness. With the rest of the guys Wladimir can always control them pretty much easy because they didn’t have the speed nor the size, but in David’s case he has the size over David but the speed, David can match him. You know, if David hits anybody he’s going to hurt him. I know a lot of Wladimir’s criticisms came primarily because of the Same Peter fight, but that was a fight that Wladimir had a lot of anxiety going into. He had lost, I think, two of his last four fights and nobody gave him much of a chance so I think a lot of that was due to anxiety more than anything else. And if you ever look at it, the first knockdown was in the back of the head—on his neck, really, it wasn’t on the head—and then he was trying to avoid getting hit by those clubbing punches and I told him, “If he gets close, don’t let him hit you on the back of the head”, and that’s what happened. The second one he didn’t even get hit, really. He didn’t really get hit on the chin. But I’ll tell you what, if he has an iron chin, still, it’s going to be rough with David, because David can punch.

Q: Now David Haye is a former cruiserweight who now has a portion of the heavyweight throne, and another cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek is trying to follow suit, and he just recently made his heavyweight debut with an impressive fifth round stoppage against former contender Andrew Golota. I was wondering what your thoughts are on Adamek moving up to the heavyweight division?

A: I just don’t see Adamek as a heavyweight. I always thought that David could be a heavyweight because 215-220, he can carry that. I just can’t seriously envision Adamek as being a heavyweight. I really can’t. Stopping Golota is not something that’s going to impress me at this stage of Golota’s career.

Q: Back to Wladimir quickly, when can we expect Wlad to be back inside the ring?

A: Well he’ll be in the ring in March. His left bicep which was hurt, it was actually hurt going into the fight with Chagaev. He went into the fight with the left bicep, that’s why he couldn’t throw hooks. All he could throw was straight punches. But he’s healing up very good, he’s back doing light training, and we’ve been communicating about every other day.

Q: Now changing things up a little bit, Emanuel, I wanted to get your opinions on some of the on-goings in the Super Six super middleweight tournament, and to start off I was curious what your thoughts were on Arthur Abraham’s twelfth round stoppage against a fighter you worked with in the past, Jermain Taylor?

A: I thought it was a real tremendous performance, and what I liked, he had never thrown a straight right hand through the center the whole night, and kept throwing the right hand more on the side of Jermain’s head and then going into the last round he threw a nice wide hook only where you can see it and then threw the right hand right and it was between the center. It wasn’t just so much the knockout but it’s the way he delivered it. I mean, clean, precision, it looked like it was well thought out. He’s a tough guy. He’s going to be a rough fight for anyone in the division.

The tournament is fantastic for boxing, in this division. There may not have been really any super excitement going on too much, particularly with the retirement of (Joe) Calzaghe, but I think this right here has put a lot of focus on that division and whoever wins it is going to be like a star in boxing. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think (Mikkel) Kessler going down the stretch is probably going to be the favorite, but I don’t know. I see Andre Ward, his last few fights I saw tremendous improvement in him that I hadn’t noticed before. So Kessler, Ward, Abraham, all of those guys—it’s going to be very good. I’m anxious as a fan to watch all of those fights.

Q: Now you mentioned Ward and Kessler. That fight is obviously coming up very soon, what are your thoughts going into that one?

A: I think it’s a possibility that maybe the winner of that should be the favorite to win. It’s really interesting to have those two fighting each other so soon. The California crowd may be an advantage to Ward, I don’t know, especially with Kessler having fought most of his fights, except for I think Calzaghe and one other one where I think he went to Germany, he’s always been fighting for a home town type of crowd, too. It’s going to be a very, very competitive fight between two sharp, crisp fighters. I can’t pick on them, but I think it will be a good fight.

Q: There’s one more first round fight we haven’t touched on yet, and I was curious if you would share your views on Carl Froch’s victory against Andre Dirrell?

A: I saw the fight and I gave Froch the fight. Maybe Dirrell landed clean punches, but when he landed his punches he was finishing up by grabbing and not looking confident the way he should have. It’s the difference between boxing in a confident matter and the fact that he was letting Froch manhandle him. That was what I thought was the factor in the fight and even though a lot of people thought that it was a bad decision, if I would have been in Andre Dirrell’s corner I wouldn’t have complained. I thought he won the fight from clean blows but just the all around general boxing and mental and physical strength, Froch intimidated him. I thought the decision was fair but I don’t know how Froch is going to hold up with the rest of the guys. Just his mental mindset means that he’s a tough guy, because he’s going to always be up to it all the time because he has supreme confidence in himself. He may have more confidence than anyone in the entire tournament.

Q: Changing things up again here again Emanuel, we have the big mega fight coming up this weekend between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto and I was wondering if you could share some of your thoughts on that fight?

A: Well I’m not going to pick a winner, but I think the way that most fans feel so strongly for Manny Pacquiao is because he looked so super sensational in his last three fights and the fact that Cotto just struggled in his last two fights, and he took and he took a pretty bad pounding in both fights with (Antonio) Margarito and with (Joshua) Clottey. So he took a lot of punishment, but I think the fact that Miguel is going to be, maybe in solid natural body weight, ten pounds bigger and he won’t make the mistake that Oscar made of trying to come in so super light to dispel the myth that he’s beating up and taking advantage of a smaller guy. I think he’ll come in at 155 to 157 and that just means it’s just going to be a much, much tougher fight.

I think one thing for sure it’s a guaranteed exciting fight, because of just the mental make-up. It’s not one of the guys that’s going to say well I’m just going to win it by boxing. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. Even though both guys can box well, I just think the mindset of both guys is too explosive, and with Manny you got to deal with that explosive power that he has from all kinds of quick angles and turns and pivots. And he’s got pinpoint accuracy and pinpoint eyes where he can see opportunities open up in the middle of the exchanges that most normal fighters can’t see, but Cotto is a little bit bigger with natural strength, so I just think it’s going to be a good fight.

Q: Do you believe the rumors that Margarito may have, in some way, ruined Cotto? Do you buy into that?

A: Not necessarily. He did give him a tremendous beating and he did it all in the last half of the fight. He took a lot of punches himself but it was nowhere near as devastating as the ones that he landed. You really can’t tell because coming back with Clottey, Joshua Clottey is a hard fight for anybody at any time. I mean he’s a very, very difficult opponent. It’s unfortunate. Cotto has had two of those like back-to-back with a real physical big, tough guy who took all of his punishment and just grinded him down and then to come back with one of these strong type defensive guys. He got busted up pretty bad in both fights. On the same hand, Manny was just sliding through looking like twenty million dollars in all of his last three fights, really, when you go back to that David Diaz fight. It’s a fight that he took a lot of punishment, and I don’t think he’s been damaged that bad, still. That’s my opinion.

Q: With Manny Pacquiao, in his last two fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, we still don’t really know whether or not Manny Pacquiao can handle a power shot from a full-fledged welterweight, or even a junior welterweight, but there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to find out when he faces Cotto, and I’m curious how you think he will withstand such power?

A: Well I’m just like you, I think he’ll be okay. I personally think he will be. It’s very interesting that they talked about the great fights with Marquez and him, but they were both small guys, and regardless of what they weight on the scales the day before the fight I just think natural size and natural strength that there’s about ten pounds difference in the weight between those two. Going down the stretch if it ends in decision then weight could be a difference. You have a good point. He may not be able to take Cotto’s punches. Cotto is a good puncher, but also, if you’re dealing with adversity, Cotto has shown that he can deal with adversity on probably about six occasions that I can think of—five at least, in the way that he’s been hurt, staggered, cut badly. I don’t know if Manny can deal with it. I know he got that cut with Marquez in one of them where he just totally freaked out for about three rounds. A lot of the intangibles may give Cotto a better shot, but still, it’s going to be hard for him to overcome that tremendous speed and pinpoint punching power of Manny Pacquiao.

Q: Now one fighter who’s going to be interested in the outcome of this fight will no doubt be Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He just had his recent comeback against Juan Manuel Marquez, and I was curious of your assessment of his performance coming off of the layoff?

A: I thought his performance was good. It’s just he’s a bigger guy, and he was smart, too. He didn’t lose a lot of excessive weight. He just said, “Hey, I’m 146. I’m feeling good and strong, I’m down as light as I want to be and I’m not going any lighter than that.” So he just said, “Pay them the money difference and I’ll keep my full strength”. He fought a good fight. I thought he looked very strong, very fast, and when a guy is smaller than another guy like Marquez was and Mayweather usually, he makes up for it by being faster like Mike Tyson used to do with those big heavyweights, but when the bigger guy is also the faster guy it’s very difficult for a smaller guy to do anything.

Q: Do you think that Floyd will wind up taking on the winner of this fight?

A: I think he will. I think that regardless of what the problems may be between people involved, I think it will all be sorted out because it’s the most demanded fight I have heard of in a long time. It’s not a fight that you have to promote ourselves to the public, it’s the public themselves want the fight, just like they wanted (Tommy) Hearns and (Sugar Ray) Leonard before they had their first fight. So the public makes some fights, and when they do that, they are tremendously successful. So I think whatever the difference is, the parties involved will all get it sorted out and the fight will take place, I think.

Q: Where do you think Shane Mosley fits into this picture? He’s obviously expressed interest about wanting to fight Pacquiao, or Mayweather, or a rematch with Cotto. Do you think he’s going to be stuck on the outside looking in?

A: I think so. Well he is that way. In fact, I don’t think he’s had a fight in nearly a year. He’s watching everybody, and he had his best performance in his career with Margarito and still has been unsuccessful in landing a fight with Pacquiao or with Mayweather, and probably even a rematch with Cotto, which he’s wanted. I know that’s got to be very frustrating for him, and it’s going to be a job for him to be mentally up for his fight with Andre Berto which is a very, very dangerous fight for him. In some ways he’s looking at almost a miniature of himself, a guy with fast hands, very explosive, and he could possibly lose if he doesn’t stay focused in this fight. It’s not an easy fight and with him so frustrated with not being able to land one of those other three fights that he wanted, he may get a little relaxed in his focus and intensity and he could lose. But he is definitely the guy on the outside, the guy that’s really probably, I would say ‘suffering’ more than anyone in terms of not being able to make the money or get the recognition that he deserves by being in a big super fight like this.

Q: I recently had a chance to speak with Bernard Hopkins, and this is another thing I’d like to get your opinion on, and it looks like if they both win their upcoming fights in December we might finally get the long-awaited rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr., and I was wondering what your thoughts were about that?

A: It will be an interesting fight. I’m not sure when you have two great technical fighters, very smart—I was present at their first fight when they fought in Washington, DC, and Roy won the fight but no one did any significant damage to the other and we could have the same thing here, because both guys are still crafty fighters. It’s a fight that will be an intriguing fight. I’m not completely sure about how exciting it’s going to be, but it will be very interesting, in particular, with Roy still seemingly having his fast hands that he always had. Bernard sometimes has had problems with speed, but this will be very interesting to see how this happens, but Bernard has never brutally knocked out like Roy has, either. But it’s a very compelling fight that I’m very curious to see who’s going to win. I just want to see the match-up between the two smart fighters.

Q: What were your thoughts on Chad Dawson’s performance against Glen Johnson in the rematch this past weekend?

A: I thought Chad Dawson fought a very good fight. It was just, unfortunately for him, he’s fighting these “nobody’s going to knock nobody out” type fights with these veteran guys, you know, Johnson, Tarver, and after the fight he said he would like to fight Bernard and I said, “Oh my God”. But these are guys that nobody is going to knock out, and you’re going to only look so good. These are guys you’re not going to knock out, you’re not going to hit them with three or four clean shots in a row any of these veteran guys. It’s the type of fight that’s not going to create a lot of excitement, but I think he’s improved. I thought he looked a lot more seasoned in this fight here. He placed his punches, he knows what he’s doing—it’s just unfortunate that you don’t have any young fighters that’s hot at the same time. But if he keeps his championships, keeps busy and all of those things, he’s still probably going to get in there with one super fight, whether he goes up or someone else from that super middleweight tournament comes up to fight him. But I was impressed with his fight even though it was not one that was great for the public to watch.

Q: My last question for you Emanuel, do you have anything else you would like to say to all your fans out there and all the fans at East Side Boxing?

A: No, nothing in particular. You know, it’s my favorite website. I like to watch it and keep up with boxing. Tell the fans to keep on supporting, and all of us keep to hoping we can create some kind of new exciting fights for 2010, because right now, we don’t have too much coming up after Pacquiao and Cotto which usually, there’s always one or two fights coming up on the horizon. That you, you know, you say “Well, I want to see this” or “this is a dream heavyweight fight” or “this is a dream fight”. We don’t have anything for one of the few times in boxing, but there will always be somebody that comes up and creates some excitement sooner or later.

Q: Emanuel, I wanted to thank you again very much for the interview. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you.

A: Okay, it’s my pleasure, too. You know, I just hope the Pacquiao and Cotto fight lives up to expectations. It would be great for boxing.

Q: I do, too. I’m very excited about it. I can’t wait to see that one.

A: You know, the thing about it, too, though, both guys have great boxing ability. That’s what people keep forgetting. Miguel, when he’s had to, he can get on his toes and box beautiful, and I saw him do that. So it could start off being a technical fight and then somewhere along the way a brawl will break out and Manny’s very dangerous when you get into those exchanges because he’s got those pinpoint precision punches and he can punch and get in and out and just has great instincts for a fighter. And so Miguel is going to have to try to get him to the ropes and start trying to break him down with the heavier-handed shots and, I don’t know. If he gets hit right on the chin I don’t know if Manny can take it. There’s a difference between hitting guys that can absorb blows because they’re bigger then it is smaller guys, and also getting hit by those big guys when you’re not used to that.

But they tell me that he’s been looking great in the gym, so that’s important, meaning Manny. Also, it’s a fight where he’s fighting a welterweight but it’s not a big welterweight. Most of Miguel’s career has been in the junior welterweight (division), and also, he’s not a real tall guy like six-one or something, like Tommy Hearns or those guys were, and even Ray Leonard was five-ten, so he’s fighting a guy who’s pretty much near his size in terms of height so he’s not fighting a really big welterweight.

But it’s going to be a very interesting fight because both guys can box, punch, mix it up a little bit, and both guys are shown to be warriors. It’s going to be interesting, especially if someone gets cut or gets in serious trouble to see how they survive, because both guys are pretty good finishers once they have a guy hurt. If Cotto does get hurt, it won’t be like it was when he got away with Clottey because Clottey just shut down. If Miguel gets hurt in this fight he’s going to be in big trouble with Pacquiao, and also with Manny, because Manny’s not a guy that knows how to clinch and survive. Manny will fight you. If anybody gets hurt, it’s going to be interesting to see if they could survive.

This interview was done by Ciani @ : Source

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