Emanuel Steward: “Wladimir can't fight the future, so all he can do is be the best of his own time and his era and that's what he's doing”
Emanuel Steward: "Wladimir can't fight the future, so all he can do is be the best of his own time and his era and that's what he's doing"
By Jenna Jay, OnTheRopes Boxing Radio, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 1, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
On the Ropes Radio #173 -  Emmanuel Steward
Click to listen to On The Ropes # 173 in its entirety now!
(The Emanuel Steward Interview opens up the show)
Exclusive Interview by Jenna Jay, Doghouse Boxing.  The 173rd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward. It has been one week to the day since Emanuel passed away at the age 68. This interview was the last of his 26 appearances on my show, during which Steward discussed a wide variety of topics including Wladimir Klitschko's rematch win over Tony Thompson, who he believed could challenge Wladimir in the future and how he thought his fighter would be ultimately be remembered. He also gave his views on the growing drug problem in boxing, and what could be done to stop fighters from cheating using performance enhancing drugs. Some of his thoughts on Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Danny Garcia, David Haye and others. Here is what Emanuel had to say in my final conversation with from July.

JENNA JAY: I have a very special guest, he's making his 26th appearance to On The Ropes, I'm joined by Hall Of Fame Trainer, Emanuel Steward. How's it been going today, Emanuel?

EMANUEL STEWARD: Everything is going very good today.

JENNA: Alright! Well that is definitely good to hear, and you, you're coming off a successful fight with one of your fighters, Wladimir Klitschko, over in Switzerland. He beat Tony Thompson, albeit a little quicker. How do you feel about the performance?

STEWARD: It was ok, it was good. It was nothing that devastating, but it was pretty much as we expected, Tony Thompson is kind of awkward difficult guy to fight, and physically a big guy also, so a lot of the techniques that Wladimir can use on smaller guys he was not able to use, which we knew that from the first fight. But for this fight, Tony Thompson has seemed to age a lot compared to the first fight. His body didn't seem to have the same hardness even though he's never been a adonis, the guy was never gonna win any contests for his body, but still he seemed bit more of an older type man than we expected. Wladimir had a lot of energy a was just physically too strong for him in addition to the Skill level.

JENNA: Now Emanuel, you're always about the knock out, that's what people want to see in Heavyweight boxing, how do you feel about the way that Wladimir finished things?

STEWARD: Well, to be very honest with you, I'm satisfied from Wladimir's viewpoint. But it just wasn't any one punch, it was just like, he overpowered him, and then to me, it looked like Tony just gave in from being physically overpowered that to me was what it appeared to be, it wasn't just a one punch. Wladimir was trying to set him up for that one beautiful right hand, and he only landed two really good right hands that I remember, off the top of my head. So at a certain point it was just Tony just felt the strength, and the youthness and the speed was just too much basically and he resigned.

JENNA: Ok Emanuel, where do you see Wladimir going from here after this victory?

STEWARD: Well to me it's gonna be a lot of fights where he's not gonna get any credibility, but i think, there's about 4 fights out there that I think are interesting. But the thing about the Heavyweight championship is as long as you hold onto that title there's always going to be something that comes up and they will have to come to the heavyweight champion. You're either going to have a guy that's come out overnight, and have one or two wins, and then everyone is going to go crazy; "oh this is the new star of the heavyweight division", and you'll have some guys like David Haye who'll talk himself up, and become a big star and a big challenger without even doing anything. But you know, one of the ideal situations, to me would be, you know Wladimir doesn't think it's going to happen, it would be for Dereck Chisora to win and if Chisora won, it'll make it a very promotable and interesting fight between Chisora and Wladimir, because Chisora's having signed to fight Wladimir once, maybe twice, but the fights were cancelled, due to Wladimirs injuries. He spit the water into Wladimir's face, slapping Wladimir's brother. And if he can beat David Haye in this fight, that would be very big... 

but if David won, we couldn't market another David Haye fight, but also, I see the potential fight with Povetkin, if he decides he wants to fight. Seth Mitchell, no they won't move him that fast yet, you know he's really not ready to fight for the heavyweight championship, but I think his people behind him are doing a doing a great job and making him being the HBO Heavyweight Champion to America, keeping him very busy, a very interesting guy, that I like personally; he fights like a heavyweight, he punches through his targets and he comes out and lets his missile go early in the fight, without waiting. And you got David Price, who is a Wladimir Klitschko clone, who I don't think his people are happy to feel he's ready for Wladimir yet. So he might not be available. Then you have Tyson Fury, who is going to be a threat to anyone, I think he's the dark horse in the HW division, because of his size, and his strong mental makeup and he has a lot of natural instincts. He may be the roughest guy out there I think .And we have one fighter in America who I think very much of, Deontay Wilder. Though he hasn't fought any top competition, but just for the talent, punching power and the size, I think he's right up there. And there is still Robert Helenius, who may get back on track.

There's some intriguing fights, the most important thing for us was to get the rematch with Thompson out of the way, I never liked the first fight and didn't like the second fight, but the more we studied the films and watched we realized that Thompson had deteriorated a lot when compared to the first fight, and the caliber of guys that he had fought, they were nowhere near the caliber of the guys that Wladimir has been fighting, such as the David Haye's, the Ibragimov's, the Chagaev's and all of that, so we just thought it would be an easier fight this time, and it turned out to be that way. 

JENNA: You know that you mentioned before that Wladimir doesn't really believe that Dereck Chisora is going to beat David Haye, but I'm curious what your view is on that fight, and who you're favoring in it?

STEWARD: I'm dead even on it. I think David is faster, is the more explosive one punch punching power, and both of the guys have guts. I think Chisora on the other hand is physically a true heavyweight, and mentally a very strong tough guy, and if he forces to David fight, even though he's a little slower than David, and makes him fight the full 3 minutes of each round, and uses his weight and mental strength, he can make the fight a much more difficult fight and neutralize the natural talents and speed of David. So I say it's a tossup myself, but I would love to see Chisora for marketing, it would be a good situation for Wladimir. 

JENNA: Ok Emanuel, Wladimir has now defended his belts twelve times, it's been his 13th title fight in his current run, I'm just curious historically, what's the significance of this, and if he continues doing this, how do you think he'll be remembered?

STEWARD: Well I think he's gonna be remembered in history, probably is in the top ten heavyweight champions, not so much because of any one significant fight, which would be great, as most heavyweights have that one or two fights that defines them. Joe Louis was fortunate to have some good fights, and Ali had a series of them, the Foreman fight, the Sonny Liston fight, and the Joe Frazier fights. But so far he hasn't had that and so he'll be remembered in history, primarily because of the fact that he had records that he's been setting, and he has his overall record and the reign that he has had a champion, and that's why he'll be considered as one of the top heavyweights. It's very frustrating because you can't fight the generation of the fighters that have been there before you, you can't go back and fight the Foreman, the Lennox Lewis, and the Larry Holmes who was one of the best heavyweights and never has been fully appreciated. And he can't fight the future, so all he can do is be the best of his own time and his era and that's what he's doing. It's just unfortunate the he has no one to fight that the public is interested in. But anything can happen in the HW division and just one or two stars can erupt and them boom! Out of nowhere you got a big fight.

JENNA: Alright, Let's turn to some other recent events that happened with you. You recently trained Andy Lee for his title fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, unfortunately Andy wasn't able to come up with a win in that match. What did you see in the fight, and what are your thoughts now?

STEWARD: Well I'm still not satisfied with the testing, Julio's testing, but I'll leave that alone. I thought that Chavez fights to win and can maintain his incredible hulk strength that he found in that second round, if he can maintain that situation he'll be a big threat to Sergio Martinez and any other fighter that he fights. His defense has improved a lot, he blocks punches very well, and he has unbelievable development for a fighter that didn't have any amateur fights. I think that is training and guidance, particular from the matchmaker Bruce Trampler made him one of the top middleweights right around today, I'm just excited about the fight with Sergio Martinez, I think it'll do big, big numbers and a lot of it is mainly because of the following of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, more so than even Martinez. Martinez is a good fighter, and I think his promoter Lou DiBella, did an unbelievable, relentless job and his tenacity in getting a big fight for Sergio. This is going to be a fight that I have a feeling, I think we're going to see - as arguments are going back and forth with Sergio being experienced, more seasoned, his speed, the left-handed style, but he's nothing more than a little Junior Middleweight and Chavez Jr is gonna come in virtually as a light heavyweight and maybe he can put pressure on him and wear him down, neutralize all the other disadvantages. I find it a toss up fight, but the biggest thing that's amazing to me is the progress of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr without having any amateur experience.

JENNA: Emanuel, you mentioned before that testing, and there were some circumstances before the fight, whether he took the testing or not, but that's the hot top topic going in boxing now, because you see so many people testing positive for substances when they do the tests. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the whole steroid trend that seems to be going on in boxing.

STEWARD: I think it's horrible, we have a lot of cheating going on in different ways, and when you start cheating with things like tampering with the gloves, and injecting something that's going to make your strength triple, sometimes, double and triple, that's totally serious because you could do a lot of physical damage, and people can be ruined for the rest of their life because of that. And I never looked at it, because I don't do it, and I don't think about it, but I'm becoming much more aware, since the incident with Andy, and people with phone calls that I've been receiving with information. Evidently, it's a lot more prevalent and widespread in boxing as well as other sports, than I thought. Everyone since the beginning of time is always going to be trying to get an edge. There are ways I did, natural with carbohydrates, and certain things you can eat in the last 24 hours. But then and again I’m behind the times, I’m finding out more and more that a lot of boxers are taking all kind of enhancement things and spending a lot of time researching on ways to pass the tests. I’ve spoken to some of these clinics about the way guys saying they’re willing to take a urine tests, they go into a stall, and someone else has left a urine already, something that they can use and they get to the inspector, they have they have it in a little sandwich like zipped bag, underneath their trunks/shorts, and it’s taped to the body so that way it comes out warm.

I think we need to get some national body to this drug testing, not local commissions, because sometimes, for different reasons, they may not be impartial, as they may not want anything to come back, which may upset a lot of money that have been won and already paid out, if something comes back they got to pay it back. I think we need a neutral, powerful organization. I know one of them is VADA, which is the one that found the drugs in Antonio Tarver. They need to come in, and not have the states doing it and take those tests. This is something that is growing extremely serious, and if it's not corrected it can really hurt this sport.

JENNA: Emanuel, one thing that I did not cover about the Chavez fight, is where does Andy Lee go from here, obviously, this is a setback for him, little disappointing for him, where do you see him going?

STEWARD: Very, very big setback and disappointment, we really don’t know right now. Andy is on a vacation right now with his girlfriend in Europe, and he’ll be coming home in about 10 days. So we’ll just have to sit down and decide where we want to go, but it’s a very, very frustrating situation to be in. I don’t know right now, I’ll be honest with you.

JENNA: Well back to the whole steroid testing, Amir Khan has an upcoming fight against Danny Garcia; He was actually reinstated as WBA light welterweight champion because of all the controversy involved with his last fight with Lamont Peterson. I’m just curious what you think about that move by the WBA.

STEWARD: Well, I’m not really informed on what’s really going on, but I thought that there was a certain time period, where Lamont Peterson could come in and explain why he had what he had in his system, I thought that should have taken place, but it didn’t. If that’s the case, then I think they’re doing what they did before with James Toney, when he fought John Ruiz, when they took his title back after beating Ruiz for failure of a drug test. So they are probably being consistent which they did before.

JENNA: OK, Well I have a few more questions for you, while you’re on the line. Seeing as I’m talking about that fight a little bit - Amir Khan, Danny Garcia – you’ll be calling it, how do you see it going?

STEWARD: There are so many advantages for Amir Khan to begin with, as he’s the bigger guy, much bigger, extensive amateur career, internationally, even though Garcia had an amateur career here, in the United States. Activity level, that’s still another Amir Khan factor, and the speed and energy and intensity, I’d still have to give that to Amir. But what Garcia has to do, because I feel he’s insufficient in most of the area’s, but that can all be neutralized, because it’s the same situation I think when he lost his title. So Garcia just got to put on a lot of pressure, he can’t just sit back and let Amir dictate the pace. He’s got to set a pace very much like Lamont Peterson and create a lot of uncomfortableness, because Amir likes to punch a lot, and get way, like getting his amateur points. I think he will be too fast, and fight to high spirit of a fight for Garcia to compete with him.

JENNA: Amir has actually been talking about moving up to 147lbs if he does win this fight. The name Floyd Mayweather Jr has been coming out of his mouth a little bit, do you think that’s a natural fight for Amir if he does win this next match?

STEWARD: I think it’s definitely it is a natural match, I think that Amir likes to toot his own horn, and promote himself very well, just like Floyd, which is good. I think that could be a very big possibility, we may see that fight. 

JENNA: Alright, well Emanuel it’s been an absolute pleasure having you once again on On The Ropes Boxing Radio, thanks for your time and I wish you the best of luck in all the things that you do. 

STEWARD: Ok thanks for having me on the show. 

JENNA: Ok, thanks very much. Bye.

*** Emanuel Steward first appeared "On The Ropes in August 2009 and was on episodes 34, 65, 73, 76, 83, 91, 96, 102, 107, 116, 123, 124, 126, KvH, 132, 139, 142, 145, 148, 150, 157, 160, 163, 167, 168 & finally 173.

I can honestly say that my greatest pleasure in boxing has been the time Emanuel has shared with me, and the fans through this radio show and I will always be grateful to Emanuel for everything he did for this sport. Rest In Peace Emanuel.


I’d like to send out a special thanks to Tim for helping to bring this article to boxing readers.  

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