Manny Steward Interview on Mayweather - Cotto, Alvarez - Mosley, Pacquiao - Bradley, Hearns, Hagler, Leonard and more!
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (May 3, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Manny Steward
This Saturday, the 5th of May, at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT, Manny Steward along with Harold Lederman, Larry Merchant, and Jim Lampley will be in our living rooms via HBO's Pay Per View telecast of the first Mega Boxing Event of the year. The fight card will feature Saul Alvarez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and the current 'pound for pound' best in the world....Floyd Mayweather Jr. Let's once again welcome Manny Steward into the doghouse.

David Tyler: Prior to our discussion about this Saturday's Mega Fight, Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto on HBO PPV, I have a few questions. We first met about eight years ago when you became the trainer for Wladimir Klitschko.

Manny Steward: That would be at the La Brea Gym in Hollywood. Yes I remember.

DT: My first question -- does Wladimir still spar with Vitali?

MS: No, they are both very competitive so I had to stop Wladimir from sparring with his brother. They are brothers....they sparred each other very aggressively. I was afraid one or both of them might get hurt.

DT: Next question--the first fight between Tommy Hearns and Ray Leonard is considered one of the best in the history of boxing. Why did Tommy Hearns start boxing so beautifully and did he just run out of gas?

MS: Tommy was fighting his normal fight but every time he threw a right hand, Ray would counter with a short left hook. We couldn't figure out a way to stop that hook so I told Tommy to go back to his amateur days and use his jab. Stick and move...and that's exactly what he did until he ran out of gas in the 14th. He had such a tough time making weight for that fight. He was getting advice from different people on the proper diet and that contributed to his troubles losing weight naturally through the training camp. The pace was nothing less than frantic and I was worried about his stamina during the late rounds. At the end, he had nothing left in the tank.

DT: One more question before we get to Saturday's fights. Tommy Hearns legendary fight with Marvin Haggler is considered by many the best fight ever. Was the plan for Mr. Hearns to stand in the pocket and slug it out with Marvin Haggler?

MS: No, that was just Tommy's way of fighting. If you wanted to 'slug it out' Tommy would stand 'toe to toe' and slug. I knew we won the first round but I wanted Tommy to box with Marvin and not get into a slugfest. I have no doubts that Tommy would have won that fight if he fought Marvin the same way he fought Ray in their first fight. Also, remember that Tommy hurt his right hand in the first round and it was at that point I was pleading with him to throw the jab. I appreciate the fact that the fans love that fight so much but I often think how it could have turned out differently.

DT: Thanks for answering those questions and providing insight to a couple of the most historic fights in boxing history.

MS: Sure, but the next time could you pick a couple of fights where my fighter won?

DT: On that note, let's move on to Saturday's fights. Floyd Mayweather is fighting Miguel Cotto and prior to that fight, Shane Mosley is battling Saul Alvarez. These fights are being presented on HBO's Pay Per View network. Manny, would you please critique the strengths and weaknesses of Saul Alvarez?

MS: Alvarez has tremendous punching power. He throws very powerful crisp shots. His punches are well timed and he brings that power in both hands. He seems to take punches very well. As for weaknesses, I would say that his feet are a little far apart and sometimes he is out of position when he throws punches. Sometimes he forgets to box...he is so interested in throwing everything with power he forgets that he also has to box. He needs to work on his jab and that will come in time...but on the whole, everything he throws is hard, tight, and crisp and that's a winning combination.

DT: And Shane Mosley?

MS: I would say that for the most part, Shane's best days are behind him. Shane is still a cagey fighter with a lot of determination. He seems to take punches pretty good for a fighter his age. Overall I believe that youth will be served in this fight. Alvarez has just too much power and speed for Shane. A lot of veteran fighters would put pressure on a young fighter but I think that Shane is past that point in his career. Now as I say this, we must remember that everyone had given up on Shane prior to his fight with Margarito and we all know how well Shane performed in that fight. I just don't think he has another one of those type fights left in him.

DT: It's my belief that Saul Alvarez has a great future in this sport. Agree?

MS: I think that Alvarez will play a very big role in the future of boxing.

DT: You were the trainer for Miguel know him pretty well when he steps inside the square circle. What's your thoughts about his skills?

MS: Cotto has trained very hard for this fight so I don't question his condition. He will fight a very quick tempo and try to use both of his hands continuously throughout the fight. I worry a little that he might fight a little too low because that's just the way he likes to fight. Floyd is a taller fighter and Cotto can't get too low prior to throwing his punches. I am still impressed with Cotto's skills and I believe that this will be Floyd's toughest fight since he fought Jose Luis Castillo. There is that saying in boxing that the best fighters will rise to the occasion when fighting the best and that's what I see Cotto doing...fighting at his very best.

DT: Would you agree with the conventional wisdom that Cotto is a "hittable" fighter?

MS: Yes and no. He has taken some shots in the past and most probably will take many punches from Floyd simply because of Floyd's hand speed. Cotto can offset a lot of those punches by pressing the action and landing some hard shots. He has some power and that should come into play during the fight. Cotto has a good defense, though not as good as Floyd...but good enough to deflect some of Floyd's punches.

DT: Any weak spots in Mayweather's game?

MS: Not many but I still remember the jab of Oscar De La Hoya as an effective weapon against Floyd in their fight.

DT: If you were still the trainer for Cotto, what instructions would you give him to beat Mayweather?

MS: I would tell him to work off a hard jab and once on the inside, plenty of left hooks...keep moving and constantly apply pressure. Cotto must not let Floyd dictate the pace of the fight.

DT: In the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine Mayweather is described as "the best fighter of his era." Agree or disagree?

MS: I would not go that far in describing Mayweather's career. What if he were to lose to Cotto? A loss means plenty in today's boxing environment. He could go from the top of the list to the bottom in a hurry. I will give him credit for winning all 42 of his fights to date. In time we will discover if he is truly the best of his generation.

DT: Let's take a quick peek down the road...June 9th on HBO PPV...Mr. Pacquiao will be tested by the young Tim Bradley. Your thoughts about that fight?

MS: As a fan I am very excited about both of these PPV matches...Mayweather/ Cotto and the upcoming fight...Pacquiao/ Bradley. The Pacquiao/ Bradley promises to be a very good one for the fans. I really don't see either fighter having a distinct edge in this fight. Most fans are very familiar with Manny Pacquiao and his aggressive style but I don't think that they are that familiar with Tim Bradley. I remember Tim as a very good amateur fighter...he is a very balanced fighter and a mentally tough fighter. He will be very hard for anyone to beat. Tim has been preparing for this fight his entire career and I expect him to be at his best.

DT: Are you picking Bradley to win the fight?

MS: I would say this is a very even fight...maybe a slight advantage to Pacquiao because of his experience.

DT: Manny, many thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. I look forward to your commentary this Saturday night on HBO PPV.

MS: Anytime David and I am excited about this Saturday night. I have a lot of preparation work ahead and we can talk more about the Pacquiao/ Bradley fight on HBO PPV in the near future.

Readers: Once again....the fight is this Saturday, cinco de mayo, at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT on HBO's Pay Per View telecast.

***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at:

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