Iceman John Scully: ďHopkins is no dummy! He knows heís in there for a real fight. I donít think heíd bet a million dollars on himself. Put it that way.Ē

by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with trainer Iceman John Scully, who is preparing Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) for his upcoming rematch against WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) this Saturday night. Scully spoke about the upcoming rematch and reflected back on the unusual circumstances that brought the first bout to a premature ending. He also shared opinions on other aspects pertaining to the current boxing landscape, including the upcoming May 5 fight between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Miguel Cotto, as well as the June 9 contest involving Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. Here is what Iceman had to say:

On how preparations have gone for Chad Dawsonís upcoming rematch against Bernard Hopkins:

ďSo far, so good. I mean weíre actually still in a little bit of preparation mode. Itís not done yet, but he feels great. He said to me several times over the last couple of weeks that this is the best heís ever felt going into a fight. So Iíll take him at his word.Ē

His views on the first fight between Hopkins and Dawson:

ďWell I mean Chad I think has gotten a bad rap from a lot of people. Like youíll read articles online where people say Chad flung him to the floor, and he planned it out, and it was a calculated body slam. If you watch the videoóand I challenge anyone to go to Youtube right now and watch it, watch it in real timeóliterally as soon as Hopkins ended up on his back he was off, like it actually happened in the blink of an eye, in the span of a second and a half. I mean it was no premeditated thing. It just happened. He was on his back and Chad got him off. That was his first reaction, was to get this guy off his back. I certainly donít believe for a second that Chad thought in a million years that Hopkins would end up falling. I mean I clearly saw where Chad shrugged him off expecting him to maintain on his feet and just be bumped off. I was shocked when Hopkins hit the floor. I mean he looked like he got shot out of a cannon. So it happened. He fell. I canít sit here and accuse the guy of lying and say he wasnít hurt, but I do believe his injury whatever it was, I donít think it was as bad as he has made it out to be, and I have my reasons for thinking that.Ē

His views on why Bernard Hopkins is taking this rematch considering Dawson claimed that Hopkins was scared of him:

ďHereís the facts, and again Iím not the type to say a world class fighter is scared. Thatís hard for me to actually say, but throughout history, like people back in the 50s say Sugar Ray Robinson never fought Charley Burley because he thought he would lose. You know whether he did or not, I donít know. Thatís the story thatís been going around for the last 60 years. Now Hopkins knows what heís up against. Clearly youíre in with a guy whoís much bigger than you. Heís very tall. No disrespect to the other guys, but when I think Pavlik was favored over Hopkins at the time, Pavlik was pretty hot, Pavlik was tall and strong. But Pavlik didnít have the movement, and the hand speed, and the boxing skills that Chad has, and you know itís common knowledge that he had a drinking problem and he was in the middle of that. So Hopkins picks his fight pretty well, and I think clearly he didnít want to fight Chad in the rematch. I mean if you go back on the internet you can Google it. I mean Richard Schaefer in the weeks after the first fight, he out and out said there would be no rematch. There would never be a rematch. We donít want the fight. Itís not a good fight, it doesnít draw, etc, etc, etc. So Richard Schaefer himself was very much against this rematch happening. I obviously know for a fact that id the WBC didnít order it they wouldnít be fighting again. I mean Bernard canít say he just jumped up and asked for the fight. He took it because the WBC ordered it. Anyone can say well all he had to do was give up the title, because everybody would say he was afraid and Iím sure Bernard doesnít want to live his life having people believe that. So he was kind of backed into a corner in that regard.Ē

His opinion on why Bernard was not interested in doing an HBO Face-Off for the promotion of this bout:

ďYou know I was standing there at the press conference in New York City about eight weeks ago or whatever it was, and Bernard flat out refused to even do a faceoff to take the traditional picture of the two guys face to face. He didnít even want to do that. You know on the one hand I guess itís a publicity ploy, and a mental game, and heís trying to have everybody wonder whatís he thinking, and heís giving it a new approach. But just the fact that heís going through this tells me how seriously heís taking Chad and how much of a threat he obviously sees Chad to be. I mean he wouldnít go through all of this hocus-pocus if it was for just a regular guy. So I think Chad should take it as a compliment that Bernard is going out of character a little bit, because everybody knows he loves to talk and hype up the fights and everything, and now all of a sudden heís being very quiet. That would tell me that he realizes what heís up against and heís doing what heís supposed to do. Heís focusing on the fight the best that he can.Ē

On whether he believes Chad learned anything at all about Bernard as a fighter during their brief encounter the first time around:

ďI mean on the one hand yes, and on the other hand no. You know it wasnít a deep fight. You didnít really get to learn a million different things, but he got a sense of Bernard and he absolutely has confidence. Going into the rematch based on the first fight he definitely has confidence, and Iíll tell you something that a lot of people donít know and a boxer would know exactly what I mean. Anyone thatís had confrontations will understand this, but in the first fight if you remember there was an instant where Chad ended up putting his forearm under Bernardís throat and he had him against the ropes. I donít know if you remember that, but Hopkins was against the ropes and Chad put his forearm under him like a crossbow. People saw it, and I was right below them when it happened, I was looking right up at it, and I thought it was good because Bernard had just tried to headbutt Chad right before that and Chad did that to him. The thing I distinctly remember was Chad put his face, like they were literally inches apart, and Chad was looking right into his eyes. For months after the fight I kept saying to myself that was good. Like that was a turning point in the fight because Chad was showing him, he was looking at him as if to say, ĎNow what? Now what are you going to do? You tried to headbutt me and now look at youí. Thatís a mental game. What I didnít know, and I didnít know until recently when Chad told me, when Chad had him up against the ropes and was looking right in his eyes he told him, he said, ĎNot tonightí. I thought that was really indicative because the fight ended 20 seconds later or 30 seconds later. So if you can picture the scenario, picture the scene, and picture how that went down when Hopkins tried to headbutt him, and the next thing he knows heís against the ropes and this guy is jamming his arm up under his throat and heís telling him, ĎNot tonightí. I thought that was really indicative of something. If he didnít know it yet, Hopkins knew at that moment that he was in with a real guy that wasnít going to be intimidated like a lot of the other guys that Hopkins had fought before.Ē

Regarding how confident he believes Bernard Hopkins will be entering the rematch:

ďI mean on the one hand I look at him and heís a legendary fighter, and a long time champion, and heís beaten top fighters, and the whole nine. You have to figure heís confident, but by the same token I feel like he felt Chadís strengths in that first fight, physically and mentally. As I said in that instant he saw that Chad was mentally a lot stronger than I think he had given him credit for. So I certainly donít think, despite what he says, I donít think Hopkins is coming into this fight 100% confident thinking heís just going to outbox this guy or outpunch this guy, because Chad is a handful just the way heís built with his height, his strength, his combination punching, his youth. I mean you put all of those things together and thatís something. He has a lot of things that the better guys Hopkins has beaten over the last ten years hasnít had. As impressive as that bunch was, none of them were as big as Chad, were as strong as Chad, none of them had the physical abilities that Chad had, and certainly none of them exhibited the fearlessness that Chad does when heís in the ring with Hopkins. So Hopkins is no dummy! He knows heís in there for a real fight. I donít think heíd bet a million dollars on himself. Put it that way.Ē

On whether he is prepared in the event Chad suffers mental lapses and loses focus as he has traditionally done in the past:

ďIím all over it, and you know Iíve recognized that for a long time. You know thatís a fair criticism of Chad, and weíve talked about it. We talked about it just as recently as three days ago. If you notice many people after the last fight, I had dozens, and dozens of people on the internet and in person say something to the effect of, ĎWow! Chad really looked different, like he really looked motivated and focused. Iíve never seen him like thatí. I know Marlon Starling, the former welterweight champion, he called me up after the fight and he said that was the best he ever saw Chad look. He said he loved Chadís determination and focus. So Iíve definitely gotten that into his head, and we did it again for this fight and heís showing it in the gym. I honestly donít think thatís going to be a problem anymore. I think Iíve tapped into Chadís brain and we have a connection, and I have certain things that I talk to him about that I think have illustrated to him exactly what it is. One thing I will say, I told him before the last fight, I said, ĎYou know in life, your critics are probably the most honest people you will ever meet. The people that donít like you, and the people that are just really irritated with you, you know anger always brings out the truth. Donít be mad. Donít be mad when people say you donít have the spirit, or the fire, or youíre not hungry. Donít be mad! Think about why they would say that. What would make them say that? Theyíre not pulling that out of the air. Thereís a reason why they would say that. Always listen to your critics because theyíre the most truthful people out there. You know your fans are always going to say you look great, youíre the best, youíre the man, and they never tell you the bad thingsí. So I think he sees that point of view and weíre definitely dealing with it in that fashion.Ē

On whether he views the fight with Hopkins as a lose-lose situation for Dawson because if Chad loses it is bad for his career, and if he wins his victory might be discredited because of Bernardís age:

ďI mean you canít really let it bother you, but itís just funny how people are. You know itís like Roy Jones. There was a time when Roy Jones could do no wrong. This guy was the phenom of the world. People had never seen the likes of him, and then when he started getting knocked out people said, ĎOh yeah, he never had a chiní. Come on! The guy was Superman there for like twelve years, and now all of a sudden heís like the butt of your jokes. The same thing happened to Mike Tyson. I mean Hopkins beat Pascal twice and he looked great doing it, and he beat Pavlik when he was a big underdog and he won lopsided. So Hopkins, you have to give him his credit. He clearly shows that age is not a factor. I mean he doesnít fight like an old man. His skills are good and heís beaten much younger guys. So Iím always telling Chad letís not get ahead of ourselves. Donít think about his age. Donít count on Bernard Hopkins being old, because look at his last fight. He didnít look old to me.Ē

His views on the difference between the Chad Dawson of today and the Chad Dawson he had previously worked with:

ďYou know what? And I mean this in the best way possible. There isnít really that much difference. You know the only thing obviously would be his maturity level and his strength, his physical strength. Back then he was strong and he didnít know it and he didnít know how to use it. Now heís strong and he knows it and he knows how to use it. I always tell people, one of my things that illustrates our whole relationship was, when I trained him before he was like a kid who kind of looked up to me, because when he was a kid and I was around him I was fighting Michael Nunn and I was fighting for the IBF title, so I was kind of like the grownup guy and he was only 14 or 15 at the time. So he kind of looked up to me I guess you could say. So he kind of grew up knowing me like that, and thatís just the way our relationship has unfolded, and itís working out so far.Ē

On whether he considers it a challenge to go up against the old school corner of great boxing minds led by Nazim Richardson:

ďI mean I donít really look at it like that at all. You know itís the fighter against the fighter, because the fact of the matter is, as great as their minds may or may not be, they still need the vehicle. I mean they had Mosley against Pacquiao and Mayweather, and no disrespect to Mosley, but those great minds in the corner didnít help at all. So there was no magic that night. You need the fighter to utilize the magic tricks. So if they have it, you know a fighter can make a trainer look good. A trainer can be good, but he needs the fighter to cooperate. In my own career Iíve given admittedly, and Iím not ashamed to say it, but Iíve given some great advice in the corner on fight night, and the fighters that I had on that particular night that I gave the advice to, you know they were in with a better fighter, or they were in with a guy that they couldnít carry the plan against. You know itís kind of a funny situation. I feel that I have the more talented, faster, quicker fighter. My fighter has got much more upside at this moment than theirs, so if anything theyíre probably at more of a disadvantage than I am as a trainer.Ē

His views on the May 5 showdown between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Miguel Cotto:

ďYou know itís hard to go against Cotto. This is probably my stock answer. Itís hard to go against a guy like Cotto, and itís much harder to go against a guy like Mayweather. You know Mayweatherís just impressive. Iíll tell you something and I just read this about four hours ago. I was looking online and Derrick Gainer is actually making a comeback, and he was out in Mayweatherís camp recently and he commented. They asked him about Mayweather, and he described how Mayweather trained and what he was like in the gym. Literally, word for word, the way he described Mayweather is exactly how I saw Mayweather when I saw him train out of the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas in 2002. The way Derrick Gainer described it today with his workout and work ethic. It was identical to how I described it ten years ago. So obviously Floyd has not deviated from that successful way of training, and thatís something that you canít say about most fighters probably. Most fighters at 24 train much better than they do at 34. They take sometimes needed shortcuts at 34, but from all reports that Iím getting Mayweather hasnít slowed up at all. So I think heís putting the work in and heís going to bring his A-game. You know Cotto has a heck of an A-game, but Floyd has a better A-game.Ē

On whether he believes Manny Pacquiao will show any weaknesses in his upcoming June 9 fight against Timothy Bradley considering the fact many observers feel Pacquiao is in decline:

ďI think he showed weaknesses against a guy that he showed weaknesses against in his best days years ago. So itís hard to say because certain styles and a counterpuncher as Marquez is, is always going to give a guy trouble. All he really did, the only proof we have now is that he gave him as much trouble as he did before. You know I think Bradley has a little bit of a different style, and I think Bradley will probably make Pacquiao look a lot better than Marquez did.Ē

On what he believes is the most important thing Dawson needs to do to have his hand raised against Hopkins:

ďFor me, the most important thing for Chad to do is just be himself. Just like a Mayweather or like a Roy Jones, just be you and make your opponent deal with you, as opposed to having him deal with his opponent. If Chad uses his A-game, and his attributes, and keeps focused, I think the fight is there for him. I really believe. I can see a convincing type of 117-110 type of decision.Ē

His views on what fans can expect in the rematch between Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins:

ďA continuation of last time in the sense of Chad coming out, showing purpose, showing all the things that the fans have gotten glimpses of over the years and the things that theyíve wanted to see from him, and Iím one of them. Iím one of the people that wants him to reach his full potential, and I think thatís on his mind. So I think heís going to come into this fight not just trying to win, but trying to win impressively and have people talking about it the next day and say, ĎHey! That kid is a lot better than I thought he wasí.Ē


For those interested in listening to the Iceman John Scully interview in its entirety, it begins approximately thirty-five minutes into the program.



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Article posted on 28.04.2012

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