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Exclusive Interview With Ronnie Shields - "I've Trained Evander To Score A Knockout!"

22.06.07 - By James Slater: Ronnie Shields is one of boxing's best current trainers. A former world class fighter himself, Ronnie is now busy preparing the legendary four-time heavyweight king, Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield for his June 30th fight with big Lou Savarese. Now looking forward to the fight, Ronnie was happy to take some time out to speak about this upcoming bout, as well as other things, to this writer. Here is what Mr. Shields had to say.

James Slater: Firstly, Ronnie, how does Evander feel going into the Savarese fight?

Ronnie Shields: Evander feels real confident, he's in great shape and we're just looking forward to the 30th now..

J.S: You've been quoted as saying Evander is as good as he was ten years ago. Do you really believe that?

R.S: No doubt. He's a smarter fighter now, he's fully healed from his wounds - with regards to his shoulder in particular - and he's a more exciting fighter now too. He is a better fighter today, yes, without a doubt.

J.S: Is he the hardest working fighter you have ever trained?

R.S: He's a very hard working guy, but so are lots of other fighters I've worked with. Juan Diaz and Pernell Whitaker, for example - they're hard working kind of fighters too. They work [or worked] just the same as Evander.

J.S: What about the rumours that Evander and Lou [Savarese] are friends and that Evander didn't really want to take the fight?

R.S: That's not true at all. I don't know where those rumours came from. I can only guess it's because they both trained in the same gym in Houston at one time. I mean, Evander knows Lou, he always says hello to him. But that's all. He won't take this fight any differently from any other fight.

J.S: Evander says he wants to once again become undisputed heavyweight champion. How realistic do you think that goal is?

R.S: I think it's a very realistic goal. All the current champions are busy fulfilling their mandatory commitments at the moment, but if they want to fight Evander in the future then we wanna fight them. But the problem is they all tend to overprice themselves too much. Evander only wants to fight for another two more years, so we're not sitting back. Whoever will give us a deal, we will fight. Evander just wants the opportunity, that's all. Being undisputed champion is a goal he really wants to achieve.

J.S: As one of the most knowledgeable trainers in the sport today, do you go along with the general consensus that Wladimir Klitschko is the best of the current champions?

R.S: I do, yes. I think Klitschko is the best. Mainly because he's fought the better guys [out of all the reigning champs].

J.S: Talking about your opinion, who do you pick from the following fights - Klitschko-Brewster II and Peter-Maskaev?

R.S: I pick Klitschko against Brewster and I think Peter-Maskaev is pretty much a toss-up. I don't think Wladimir was at his best in the first fight with Lamon, plus the fight is in his home country this time around. As with the Maskaev fight, I give Oleg a great shot. Peter has no defence, though he has great power. But Maskaev can hit too. I do think that fight is a
toss-up.

J.S: As you know Sultan Ibragimov is the new WBO champ. Is there any truth to the stories that he will make his first defence against Evander?

R.S: No, not at all. We offered that fight to them [the Ibragimov camp] but we have not heard any acceptance yet. Evander has said he is not interested infighting for the WBO belt in the past, but now I guess it is a recognised and legitimate title. But, no, there is nothing confirmed about Evander fighting Sultan next.

J.S: A lot of other guys have called Evander out recently. Riddick Bowe and Michael Moorer, for example. Has Evander any interest in fighting those guys again?

R.S: No. Evander doesn't want to fight those guys again. All he's interested in is fighting for the world championship.

J.S: Going back to the Savarese fight, what type of fight do you expect?

R.S: I think it will be an action fight. The thing about Lou is if you aren't ready for him he can upset you. He [Lou] will definitely come to fight. But I have trained Evander to win by a KO. His combination punching will be too much for Savarese on June 30th. I have been training Evander to win by a knockout, so whether it's round one or round ten, Evander will get that KO victory.

J.S: I really appreciate your time, Ronnie. Just off the record and changing the subject, who will win in tomorrow's fight between Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo?

R.S: I always picked Hatton to win this fight. I think Ricky will win by an eigth round stoppage.

J.S: Thanks again, Ronnie, it's been great speaking with you. And good luck for the fight on June 30th.

R.S: Okay, thank you.

Article posted on 23.06.2007



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