It has been a few weeks since Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez fought in the ring, and while the talk has shifted to records being broken and money amounts there is still one question that stands above the rest, "Who does Mayweather fight next?"
I recently had a chance to speak with boxing trainer Naazim Richardson during the 199th edition of "On The Ropes" to get his views on "The One" and also get his thoughts on who he thinks should be next for boxing's biggest draw. Naazim discusses at length the possibility of a Mayweather - Hopkins fight and gives his thoughts on why he thinks Floyd should fight the reigning IBF Light Heavyweight Champion. Here is what Brother Naazim Richardson had to say.
Jenna J: Naazim, it's been a few weeks since the biggest fight of 2013, Mayweather vs. Canelo. I'm curious what you thought about "The One"?
Naazim Richardson: Well, it went pretty much I expected you know. Mayweather's IQ is a little too high at that level for Canelo. Canelo had some political support and some people want to see the future as far as him moving forward, you know, with his youth. One thing about Mayweather I have to say is that he's similar to Bernard [Hopkins], when you watch Mayweather right now he is actually a better fighter than he was a couple of years back, he's actually gotten better, it's just that his body has gotten older a lot like Bernard.
Bernard is a better fighter than he was years ago, it's just that his body's gotten old, so it kind of balances out, whereas when they were younger they weren't as intelligent in the ring and their youth carried them through it and as they got older their youth faded but the IQ picked up so high they could almost be pretty much where they were years ago in the same situation.
Jenna J: When you watched that fight between Mayweather and Canelo, did you see anything at all that Canelo could have done better in the ring?
Naazim Richardson: Canelo did an excellent job. I don't really think the commentators and everybody has gotten away from what Canelo did. The fight was not a blow out, people interviewing and talking boxing like it was just Mayweather who was dominant, he was more dominant over Guererro than he was over Canelo.
The fight was competitive throughout, it was a closer fight and that's what I couldn't understand. Mayweather did the magical thing you do. I remember Ray Leonard did it to Haggler where they make you only watch them, so people would just watch Mayweather and stop watching Canelo, they only saw Mayweather, so now they look at Mayweather like he's shadow-boxing in the ring.
Canelo was in that fight tooth and nail, he did an excellent job and it was the only thing he could do. He's a better fighter Sundayafter the fight than he was on Friday. He grew, you gotta put somebody else in there. Golden Boy did an excellent job because they went and lined up the Carlos Molina belt, so Saul can go right to Mexico in his next fight and he can probably be a world champion again.
Jenna J: I think Golden Boy did a very good job promoting it for that. It turns out now that it appears that it's going to be the biggest fight monetarily that has ever been in boxing history. What does that mean to boxing now that Floyd can bring in these kinds of crowds and these kinds of records?
Naazim Richardson: Well, I mean everything's with a dance partner, if it was just Floyd then the Guerrero thing would have broke the record. It wasn't just Floyd, Canelo is a heavyweight draw himself. Just like Oscar and Mayweather together you get a record set, if Oscar would have fought Canelo they would have broke the record. When you get two great draws together more than likely records are gonna fall.
There was no questions asked of Mayweather going into this fight, he did everything that needed to be answered, all the questions were on Canelo. I was not a big believer in Canelo before this fight. I finally formulated an opinion of Canelo after this fight. Going into the fight he only had one job, stop Shane Mosley, he didn't do it.
Now we start finding out some stuff about him, and we found out in the big show he steps up a little bit, he didn't do bad, he didn't do bad at all. The way he fought that night there's not a whole lot of other people who would beat him in the world.
Jenna J: Naazim, do you see anybody out there that would beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. right now? Do you see anyone in and around his weight class that can beat him?
Naazim Richardson: The thing about beating a guy like this is we quickly forget when we were all asking that question of Mike Tyson. We quickly forget that anybody at the time, say Buster Douglass, when phenoms like that come along it's hard to see somebody that's on the horizon. Like they say in boxing it's the punches you don't see that gets you.
The guy that would get him would be someone we don't see right now. There will be someone coming from the side and we're not looking at him or were not counting him and this is why he's such a phenom in boxing. Everybody we look at and everybody we count that's the situation, we don't have anybody that's on the radar right now.
Jenna J: You mentioned that it would be a guy that people wouldn't expect him to do that kind of result, the guy on the undercard, Danny Garcia, beat Lucas Matthysse. It seems like every time Danny Garcia goes out he exceeds expectations and does better than people believe he's gonna do. Now they are talking about a Garcia vs Mayweather fight. Do you see him having a chance against Mayweather from what you've seen of him in the ring?
Naazim Richardson: Well you just said it yourself, when you've go a guy that supersedes expectations they have a chance with everybody because they supersede expectations. That's the guy that's the dangerous one. Can you imagine what the odds would be of Danny Garcia beating Floyd Mayweather? You've gotta be honest, the only people betting for Danny Garcia would have the last name of Garcia! The Golden Boy staff wouldn't be saying I think he's gonna smash Mayweather.
Danny will be going into the fight knowing he's gonna get a great pay-day and then everybody's will be saying, "Did you see it? I can't believe it, aw man that fight must have been fixed because there is no way that Garcia can beat him." And you're standing there shocked. Danny's cut from that cloth.
I was sitting watching him in the gym the other day, he came past the gym and Gabriel Rosado came to the gym and they were standing over there with Bernard and I said all three of them got a lot of similarities in life, these are the guys that you can't study the DVD on them and see what you're gonna be dealing with. What they bring to the table is like fighting Tim Bradley. What they bring to the table is not on sale, that's how Bernard was.
Jenna J: Let me put it you you this way Naazim, do you think Mayweather would even want to take that particular fight? Do you see a type of draw in fighting Bernard Hopkins or do you think the risk would be far too high for him to even consider it?
Naazim Richardson: The draw would supersede the Canelo record, the draw would actually break his and Canelo's record. There are so many people who wanna see Mayweather lose and the only person in boxing that they want see lose more than Mayweather is Bernard Hopkins. The haters alone and the people that have something negative to say about anything they can get from a positive angle, the haters alone would sell out the fight. Then the people who love them would break the record.
Jenna J: If that fight were to happen with Hopkins, Naazim, what do you think would happen? Do you think that the size of Bernard Hopkins and the class of Bernard Hopkins would beat the class of Floyd Mayweather Jr?
Naazim Richardson: Yeah, I would think so, to me it would be the same kind of fight it would be as it was with Oscar De La Hoya. Mayweather is a phenom, not taking anything away from him, we have to admit he's one of the greatest of all time. For the people who wanna say Ray Leonard would have done this or him or Aaron Pryor would have did that to him and all that, it don't matter what you think they would of done to him you still have to put his name in that hat with those guys.
Mayweather is one of the greatest that ever did it and Bernard Hopkins has earned that too. A guy once asked me how he compared Mayweather and Pacquiao to Bernard, I said "Well this last Olympic team if Mike Hunter or one of those guys from the last Olympic team wins a world championship and defend it fifteen times, if Mayweather and Pacquiao are still fighting at championship level then I can compare them to Bernard Hopkins."
Mayweather is older and his weight class makes it exceptional but Bernard is almost fifty years old and beating undefeated guys for titles at damn near fifty years old. That's unheard of as we know, nobody else ever done it in the world.
Stay tuned to Doghouseboxing.com for part 2 of my exclusive interview with Naazim Richardson
To listen to the Naazim Richardson interview in it's entirety,
click play on the audio player to listen to the latest edition of “On The Ropes”