Interview With Trainer Ronnie Shields

25.03.07 - By John Martinez, The affable world trainer extraordinaire Ronnie Shields took a few moments to talk with us about WBA Lightweight champion Juan “ Papa Bull” Diaz ‘s preparations for his upcoming unification match against WBO Lightweight titleholder Acelino “ Popo” Freitas. The fight will take place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino and air live on HBO’s BOXING AFTER DARK series beginning at 10PM ET/PT on Saturday, April 28th. I asked Ronnie to respond to some of Freitas’ recent comments concerning the impending fight with his charge, Juan Diaz. Here is what Ronnie had to say.:

JM: Ronnie, first and foremost, how’s everything going for you and Juan as you arrange for Diaz to engage Freitas April 28th in his unification bout?

RS: Everything is going great. Juan’s training really hard for this fight.

JM: When we last spoke with Juan, he mentioned that he was open to boxing anyone from 135-140lbs. However, Freitas alluded to a slight preference for the Ring magazine’s champion, Joel Casamayor. What do you say to this and do you think Juan feels slighted at all by him being second choice in Freitas’s mind?

RS: Well, Juan doesn’t care at all. He (Freitas) can say what he wants. The ring is put up or shut up time. He can talk all he wants, but when it’s time to fight- you fight. The talking stops there. Juan doesn’t read what others say. When the bell rings, the talk stops. Juan is not scared. When it’s time to fight, just fight and don’t cry. Don’t run either. You need to come and fight.

JM: Are you and Juan nervous about taking a fight at the Foxwoods considering Freitas labeled it his “ home in the United States ”? Does it concern you that Juan may not get the “nod” if it goes to the scorecards?

RS: No. You can’t let that effect you. It won’t bother us any. You know, you got to go to another fighter’s backyard sometime. It shouldn’t make a difference. A judge is supposed to score the fight on the fight not because a guy fights there all the time.

JM: Freitas said that he’s ready to go 15 rounds and that Juan’s volume punching is made for his style. As a matter of fact, he claims he knows for sure that if “ one of my punches lands it’s going to be a short night.” How do you answer that statement Ronnie?

RS: Bring it! Be a man and stand up and fight. Let’s see what happens. Stay there and fight and we’ll see. It will be a short night for sure. We’ll go home the winner early.

JM: As a trainer and former fighter, do you think the belt makes the champion or the champion makes the belt?

RS: The fighter makes the belt. Right now people are giving their belts up because there’s no money in boxing the mandatory. You know right now it’s you fight for half a million dollars or thirty thousand dollars. So what do you do, you take the half million and you tell them to keep the belt.

The belt only means something for the heavyweights now. Look at Barrera, Marquez, and all those other guys, they fought and they didn’t have the belts. It’s about the money that you’re gonna make in this sport, but it’s also about the respect. It’s about the money and respect in the lower weights.

JM: Freitas said that he would be champion for a fifth time on April 28th. How do you respond to his boldness and what is your prediction for the outcome of this fight?

RS: You know what, it’s gonna be the same as when he fought Corrales. He’s gonna run. He’s gonna cry in the corner and they’ll stop the fight.

JM: Any last thoughts on Freitas vs. Diaz?

RS: Diaz will win. Juan is training very hard. You know all these guys talk a lot, but you’ve got to fight. I’ll give him this; he at least signed to fight Juan. But you know April 28th is a long ways away. He’s got to make it to the ring first.

I would like to thank Ronnie for graciously giving his time in granting this interview. Thank you very much on behalf of Coming next week, we will have exclusive training camp footage of the “ Papa Bull” himself, WBA Lightweight boxing king Juan Diaz.

Article posted on 26.03.2007

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