Posts Tagged ‘Emanuel Steward’

Quick Jabs: Gennady Golovkin’s next move, Seth Mitchell experiment probably over and more

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Gennady Golovkin (above) will defend his middleweight title against an opponent to be determined on Jan. 19 in New York at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. (AP)

Some quick jabs …

• I’m told HBO is now considering two possible opponents for Gennady Golovkin’s Jan. 19 middleweight title defense: Fernando Guerrero, a one-time prospect who is represented by Al Haymon, and Gabriel Rosado, a rising junior middleweight who is currently the IBF’s mandatory challenger for Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage’s title. To me, the decision is an easy one: Guerrero — who beat Rosado in a controversial eight-round middleweight fight in 2009 — has done nothing recently to warrant this kind of opportunity. Rosado, meanwhile, beat three quality opponents in 2012, all on NBC Sports Network, all by knockout. Rosado is the definition of a television-friendly fighter. A matchup with Golovkin would be a war.

• Super featherweight Teon Kennedy’s injury forced Main Events to find a new opponent for undefeated prospect Jerry Belmontes in the co-feature of the Dec. 8 card on NBC Sports Network. On Monday they announced that Eric Hunter (16-2) would step in. Hunter has been on the shelf for most of the last two years, fighting once (last July) since December of 2010.

• Kudos to Seth Mitchell for accomplishing a lot in boxing despite not picking up the gloves until he was 24. But this experiment is probably over. You can’t teach a chin and in his last two fights Mitchell has been buzzed by Chazz Witherspoon and knocked out in two rounds by Johnathan Banks. There are things Mitchell can do to improve — he still has no idea how to hold when he gets hurt — but if light hitters like Witherspoon and Banks can wobble him, he’s a sitting duck for one of the Klitschko brothers.

• Speaking of Banks: I’d like to see him face one more quality opponent before looking for a fight with Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko. A matchup with Tyson Fury, David Price or his preferred choice, Alexander Povetkin, next year could make Banks some money and, if he wins, give him some momentum heading into a major title fight.

• I’m looking forward to Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout on Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden, but that undercard is horrendous. Jayson Velez and Danny Jacobs — questionable choices for a televised undercard to begin with — will fight separately on Showtime’s broadcast in fights that do nothing for me. Velez (19-0) will face Salvador Sanchez II (30-4-3), nephew of Mexican legend Salvador Sanchez, while Jacobs (23-1), the former prospect and cancer survivor who will fight for the second time in three months, gets Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2).

• I don’t know what has gotten into Carl Froch, but after another impressive knockout — this one over handpicked challenger Yusaf Mack — I just don’t know how Lucian Bute can beat him. Froch is just too strong.

• Bring on Adrien Broner-Ricky Burns.

• Thank you, Fred Sternburg, for sending out 400 emails letting everyone know that Manny Pacquiao gave away free turkeys last week. My overflowing inbox extends its regards.

• Hey British promoter Frank Maloney: Your comment that Wladimir Klitschko would be happy not to have to pay Emanuel Steward his 10 percent after a one-sided win over Mariusz Wach last week was disgusting and classless. Steward, a longtime mentor and trainer for Klitschko, lost a battle with cancer last month. Maloney should be ashamed.

– Chris Mannix

  • Published On Nov 20, 2012
  • Tony Harrison, protégé of late Emanuel Steward, soldiers on alone

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    Tony Harrison (left), shown here with Emanuel Steward in July, fights on the undercard of Saturday’s Wladimir Klitschko fight. (Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

    HAMBURG, Germany — As the godfather of Detroit boxing, Emanuel Steward touched the lives of thousands of kids trying to make it in an unforgiving sport.

    “He sure did,” said Tony Harrison. “And he never asked for a penny.”

    The 22-year old Harrison is the latest potential star to come out of Steward’s stable. With crushing power and pinpoint accuracy, Harrison, Steward told me once, fought like a young Tommy Hearns. For the last year, Steward brought Harrison along to Klitschko camps and put him on the undercard of his fights.

    Like many, Harrison was rocked by Steward’s death last month.

    “It’s devastating,” Harrison said. “It came too quick. Everyone was expecting him to heal and get through it. But God called on him. Sometimes He just calls on you. But he’s resting now. He fought a hard fight and now he is upstairs, resting.”

    In Harrison — who will face veteran Daniel Urbanski on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight title defense against Mariusz Wach on Saturday — Steward’s legacy has a chance to live on into the next decade. A rising junior middleweight, Harrison (10-0) has won eight fights by knockout, cruising to comfortable decision wins in the other two. Members of Team Klitschko say that in sparring Harrison has given Johnathan Banks — a heavyweight preparing for a showdown with Seth Mitchell later this month — all he could handle.

    With Steward gone, Harrison is on his own, operating for the first time as a professional without a head trainer or manager.

    “I’m speaking for myself now,” Harrison said. “That’s why it’s important for me to go out in this next fight and look good. [Manny] taught me a lot and I learned a lot. Now I’m just taking what I learned and try to get to the next level. It’s going to be hard to do alone. It’s why it’s important for me to win big in this next fight.”

    Like Klitschko, Harrison has a little more fuel for this fight.

    “I’m going to the ring with a chip on my shoulder,” Harrison said. “I wish he was here so bad. I miss him. This fight is for him.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Nov 07, 2012
  • Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward leaves behind rich legacy of accomplishment, dignity and grace

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    Renowned trainer Emanuel Steward (left) helped more than 40 fighters to world championships, operating with a dignity all sportsmen can aspire to. (AP)

    “You know what Chris,” Emanuel Steward told me recently. “I really hope Chris Arreola gets his s–t together.”

    It was last March, and Steward was sipping on a cup of coffee in a hotel ballroom in Dusseldorf, Germany, just days before his prized pupil, Wladimir Klitschko, was set to defend his heavyweight titles against Jean Marc-Mormeck. It wasn’t that Steward was especially excited about a fight with Arreola, a fringe contender who Klitschko would probably put down before the final bell; it was about where that potential fight would take place. Mormeck would be Klitschko’s seventh straight fight in Europe and, well, Steward was hoping he would find a fight on U.S. soil.

    “I’d really like to fight closer to home,” Steward said. “New York, L.A., anywhere. Just home.”

    Here’s the thing about Steward, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 68: He loved Klitschko, the man he morphed from a tall, chinny heavyweight into the most dominant big man of his era. But he loved everyone else the same. He loved Tony Harrison, his 22-year-old junior middleweight prospect, as much as he loved Tommy Hearns, loved Oscar De La Hoya as much as Lennox Lewis. He loved all the kids who came out of his famed Kronk gym. He bragged about his fighters like a father brags about his sons and he hated to be away from them for too long.

    Steward will be remembered first as a brilliant trainer, then as a polished, insightful commentator but what I’ll remember most about Steward was that he was, undeniably, a good man. Anyone who has walked the halls of a Las Vegas hotel with Steward, who has watched it take him 50 minutes to go 50 feet because he is stopped so often to pose for a picture or sign someone’s shirt, all without a trace of complaint, knows this. Anyone who has worked a press room with Steward, who has watched him take the time to do interview after interview, whether it’s with Sports Illustrated, ESPN or a blogger with a camcorder, understands this.

    Steward enjoyed arguing about his legacy, particularly his connection to the jab. Oftentimes when Steward’s name was connected to a fighter it’s because that fighter lacks that defensive, set-up weapon that Steward made Lewis and Klitschko so dangerous with. But Steward never wanted to be known as a finesse trainer, one content with decisions. Yes he taught the jab, Steward often told me. But he liked knockouts more.

    In Detroit, Steward turned Kronk into a welterweight factory, churning out contender after contender like he was piecing them together from body parts of past legends. “They had a lineup of guys,” said promoter Bob Arum, “that was absolutely unbelievable.” But what many remember about Kronk was that with Steward, simply winning was not what it was all about.

    “He tried to instill in all of them a sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie,” Arum said. “Manny would call me and say ‘Join me for dinner in Detroit.’ Well, he would have 20 to 30 people at dinner with us, mostly fighters from the Kronk gym. He was there for all of them.”

    In his dying days Steward wanted to be there for Klitschko, to work his prized pupil’s corner when Klitschko fought Mariusz Wach on Nov. 10, to be a teacher one last time. He held out hope that his body would grant him one more chance to be there for someone he cared about. Klitschko knew his mentor was failing but he kept his cornerman spot open for weeks, hoping for a miracle. He knew Steward was almost gone but he could not close the door on that chapter of his life.

    Steward is gone but his memory will remain, as strong as ever. The true measure of a man is how he he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good, and inside that oft repeated quote lives the reason why Emanuel Steward will be remembered as one of the most beloved men in boxing.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Oct 25, 2012
  • Quick jabs: Victor Ortiz eyes Freddie Roach, Gabriel Rosado’s rise, more

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    Former welterweight champ Victor Ortiz (above), who is coming off back-to-back knockout losses, could be pairing with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • Victor Ortiz, who parted ways with longtime trainer Danny Garcia after last June’s loss to Josesito Lopez, has reached out to Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. Roach says he will meet with Ortiz once the former welterweight titleholder recovers from the broken jaw he suffered against Lopez.

    • With Emanuel Steward battling a serious illness, Wladimir Klitschko will begin training camp for his Nov. 10 heavyweight title defense against Mariusz Wach without a chief cornerman. Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, says that Klitschko is hoping Steward will be able to join camp in late October and work his corner for the fight.

    • A dark horse candidate to face super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward: Denis Grachev, who will face Lucian Bute in November. Grachev (12-0) is coming off a stunning knockout win over top prospect Ismayl Sillakh last April. If Grachev beats Bute, he will likely become a very appealing possibility for Ward.

    • I still think Kelly Pavlik is the most realistic big-name opponent for Ward.

    • Miguel Cotto picked a dangerous tune-up opponent in Austin Trout. Trout isn’t exciting — his win over Delvin Rodriguez in June was as dull as it was decisive — but he is slick and savvy in the ring. If Trout isn’t overwhelmed by the moment, he has a great chance at an upset.

    • What a wasted year this has been for Gary Russell Jr. For Andre Dirrell, too.

    • While Cornelius Bundrage’s IBF junior middleweight title defense against Andre Berto isn’t done yet, I’m told it’s very close to being finalized for Nov. 24 on HBO. On paper, Berto, who has not fought in over a year after testing positive for a banned substance during training for his scheduled rematch against Victor Ortiz, would appear to be a big favorite. But Berto will be moving up in weight to face Bundrage, whose aggressive, awkward style could give Berto problems.

    • The winner of Berto-Bundrage will be obligated to defend the title against Gabriel Rosado, who earned the position of mandatory challenger with a knockout win over Charles Whittaker last Friday. A year ago, high-profile opponents would have done everything they could to avoid Rosado. But because Rosado’s profile has risen considerably on the heels of three straight knockout wins on NBC Sports Network — wins that have sparked interest from the better paying premium networks — expect him to get that shot early next year.

    • I like Main Events plan to focus on moving fighters up the IBF rankings. The IBF is regarded as the most respectable of the sanctioning bodies, which is to say if a fighter is ranked No. 1, he is going to get his title shot.

    • Ricky Hatton has sold more than 18,000 tickets to his comeback fight in November — and he doesn’t even have an opponent yet. Incredible.

    • Roy Jones-Kimbo Slice? Pass. Pass, pass, pass.

    • Thoughts and prayers are with the family of former heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders, who according to police was shot and killed while celebrating a family member’s 21st birthday party in Cape Town, South Africa. Sanders was 46.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 25, 2012
  • Gamboa-Rios in jeopardy after no-show

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    Yuri Gamboa

    Yuri Gamboa's trainer has 'no idea' why he missed Monday's press conference in Miami. (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

    The highly anticipated April fight between Brandon Rios and Yuri Gamboa is in jeopardy and frankly, no one knows why. On Monday, Gamboa was a no-show for his press conference in Miami to promote the bout, a press conference his promoter, Top Rank, says Gamboa specifically asked for.

    “I’m totally confused,” said Gamboa’s trainer, Emanuel Steward. “I called [co-promoter] Ahmet Ohner and he told me he was having problems. What I gathered from Ahmet is that he doesn’t have much control over the situation. He seemed very frustrated.”

    Steward, who just returned from training unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, said the plan was for him to begin working with Gamboa after Andy Lee’s fight on March 10th. Now, Steward reiterated, “I have no idea what is going to happen.”

    Complicating the situation is the possible involvement of Floyd Mayweather. On Monday night David Levi, Mayweather’s personal assistant, posted a picture on Twitter of Gamboa working out at Mayweather’s boxing gym. Last month Roger Mayweather reportedly told that Gamboa had signed a promotional deal with Mayweather Promotions.

    Top Rank President Todd duBoef says that not only does Gamboa have an ironclad promotional contract with Top Rank, but the two sides recently agreed to an extension.

    Top Rank issued a press release Monday confirming Tuesday’s scheduled press conference in Los Angeles to promote Rios-Gamboa will go on as planned.

    Said duBoef, “We’re expecting him to be there.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Mar 05, 2012
  • Hard-hitting Yuriorkis Gamboa plots future

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    LAS VEGAS — Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward has a message for anyone at 130 pounds: Watch out for Yuri Gamboa.

    “He is so gifted and coordinated, it’s phenomenal,” said Steward, who was hired to replace Ismael Salas as Gamboa’s trainer last month. “He can be electrifying. He has the makeup of a champion, and I like that.”

    Over the years, Steward has developed a reputation as a jab master, built largely on the success of heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. Though Steward says he will work on Gamboa’s jab, he doesn’t expect to make any major changes.

    “I like knockouts,” Steward said. “I got that [jab master] label because of Wladimir but as a rule I like knockouts. You need a jab, I don’t care how old you are or tall you are. I want to improve his left hook a little. I want to get him to turn it like Miguel Cotto or Julio Cesar Chavez. I’ll show him a few trick moves and then leave him alone. Anything I can dream of, he can do. Some guys you dream of them doing things and they can’t. Not him.”

    Steward says Gamboa’s next fight will be in January at 130 pounds. Steward says he would like Gamboa (21-0) to stay at 135 for a few fights before making the jump to 135.

    “I think 135 is about it,” Steward said. “He’s only 5-5. And when you fight at 135, a lot of guys come in at 150.”

    One fight that Gamboa’s promoter Top Rank has said they are interested in is a matchup with 135-pound champion Brandon Rios. However Steward says he is not interested in that fight.

    “I don’t like that fight right now,” Steward says. “Gamboa needs a few fights at 130. Besides, they are both big stars in the sport. We have such a shortage of young fighters. All of the stars are in their 30’s. We need to take time to develop young superstars and not just run them out and have them fight each other so quickly. It’s not good for the business.”

    There is a big fight for Gamboa at 130 pounds: Adrien Broner, the former U.S. amateur standout who will fight for a vacant super featherweight title on Nov. 26. Both Gamboa (16 knockouts) and Broner (17 KO’s) have tremendous power. A matchup in the spring of 2012 would be a spectacular fight.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Nov 16, 2011