Exclusive Interview with Iceman John Scully

John Scully -  “Maybe there’s an outside chance this is just a ploy to draw interest, because I think Hopkins knows that if in a year from now, if he was ever to put it together and fight Andre Ward in the last hurrah, and if he was ever to win—you know there are some very smart people that might call this guy the best fighter in history.”—Iceman John Scully

“Maybe there’s an outside chance this is just a ploy to draw interest, because I think Hopkins knows that if in a year from now, if he was ever to put it together and fight Andre Ward in the last hurrah, and if he was ever to win—you know there are some very smart people that might call this guy the best fighter in history.”—Iceman John Scully

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – Last night I was afforded the opportunity to speak with world class boxing trainer ‘Iceman’ John Scully about the current boxing landscape. Scully shared his views on Bernard Hopkins’ history making performance last weekend when he broke his own record to once again become the oldest boxer to win a major world title, this time at age 48, with his sensational victory against previously undefeated Tavoris Cloud. Iceman also provided unique insight into some highly anticipated upcoming prizefights, including Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero (May 4), the rematch between Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch and Mikkel Kessler (May 25), and the super bantamweight showdown between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux (April 13). Additionally he imparted opinions pertaining to the careers of other boxing stars such as Wladimir Klitschko, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, and more. Here is what Iceman had to say:

Audio:

GEOFFREY CIANI: Iceman, this past weekend Bernard Hopkins at age 48 once again made boxing history breaking his own record in becoming the oldest fighter to win a major world title. What did you think of his performance?

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Ageless warrior Bernard Hopkins does it again!

Bernard Hopkins, Hopkins vs. Cloud - by Geoffrey Ciani - During the eighth round of the IBF light heavyweight title bout between reigning champion Tavoris Cloud and 48 year old challenger Bernard Hopkins, HBO commentator and boxing pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward duly noted, "It's not quantity for Hopkins, it's quality—he makes every punch count". That more or less sums up the nature of this fight. Another day at the office for Bernard Hopkins translated into another page in the history books, as he once again became the oldest boxer to ever win a major world championship—and he did so in style. It was yet another masterful performance from the Future Hall of Famer who at times made it look easy in dethroning the undefeated 31 year old Cloud via unanimous decision.

by Geoffrey Ciani – During the eighth round of the IBF light heavyweight title bout between reigning champion Tavoris Cloud and 48 year old challenger Bernard Hopkins, HBO commentator and boxing pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward duly noted, “It’s not quantity for Hopkins, it’s quality—he makes every punch count”. That more or less sums up the nature of this fight. Another day at the office for Bernard Hopkins translated into another page in the history books, as he once again became the oldest boxer to ever win a major world championship—and he did so in style. It was yet another masterful performance from the Future Hall of Famer who at times made it look easy in dethroning the undefeated 31 year old Cloud via unanimous decision.

The action began slowly, but right from the start Bernard controlled the pace and the range. Hopkins was simply brilliant at maintaining optimal distance, constantly shifting and maneuvering Cloud to his liking. As a result Cloud’s activity was totally hindered. Throughout the entire encounter Cloud would have difficulty closing the gap, and he was also frequently off balance and out of position. This forced him to eat more shots and punch less, and when Cloud did throw he was usually either overextending or quickly smothered. Hopkins effectively used his feet to create angles and dictate Cloud’s movements, which enabled him to sneak in leather of his own with varying frequencies of power and volume against his befuddled foe. This all spelled disaster for Cloud, who was ultimately broken down both physically and mentally as matters progressed into the later stages.

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Can 48 year old Bernard Hopkins once again make history?

Bernard Hopkins, Hopkins vs. Cloud - by Geoffrey Ciani - In the sport of boxing it is not uncommon to see a truly great boxer hang around for too long. This largely stems from the fact that it takes a very special athlete with an unrelenting mindset to excel and become a dominant world champion. Among other things, it takes courage, confidence, determination, and the ability to maintain one’s composure and overcome adversity in the heat of battle. It also requires a great deal of consistency, dedication, and sheer willpower. These are key ingredients in the mental makeup of any elite fighter. Unfortunately, these very same traits that enable standout boxers to regularly succeed at the highest level are also the exact same that can get them into trouble later in their careers when their physical tools have eroded. Remarkable champions throughout boxing history have often suffered this fate, and Roy Jones Junior represents a good recent example.

by Geoffrey Ciani – In the sport of boxing it is not uncommon to see a truly great boxer hang around for too long. This largely stems from the fact that it takes a very special athlete with an unrelenting mindset to excel and become a dominant world champion. Among other things, it takes courage, confidence, determination, and the ability to maintain one’s composure and overcome adversity in the heat of battle. It also requires a great deal of consistency, dedication, and sheer willpower. These are key ingredients in the mental makeup of any elite fighter. Unfortunately, these very same traits that enable standout boxers to regularly succeed at the highest level are also the exact same that can get them into trouble later in their careers when their physical tools have eroded. Remarkable champions throughout boxing history have often suffered this fate, and Roy Jones Junior represents a good recent example.

Bernard Hopkins just turned 48 in January. That is considered old in any professional sport, and by boxing standards it is absolutely ancient. Nevertheless, even at age 48, Bernard Hopkins still remains a formidable force. He is not some old gatekeeper just looking to cash out on his name. He is actually still competing at a championship level and always making strong accounts of himself. Sure, he has suffered some losses, and he has also begun to show his age a bit more with each passing year. But to this day, Bernard Hopkins has still never been dominated inside the squared circle, and for someone who has been campaigning at an elite level since early-on in the first term of former President Bill Clinton—well, that is an absolute marvel! It is simply mindboggling stuff.

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Andrew Golota returns to face Przemyslaw Saleta

Andrew Golota - by Geoffrey Ciani - Andrew Golota is a poster boy for unfulfilled potential in boxing. His unique adventures through the heavyweight rankings were interesting, unpredictable, and sometimes downright bizarre—and apparently his journey is not yet finished. This Saturday, 45 year old Golota (41-8-1, 33 KOs) will step inside the squared circle for the first time in more than three years when he is pitted against fellow Pole, Przemyslaw Saleta (43-7, 21 KOs). Saleta himself turns 45 this March and has not seen action in over seven years, effectively rendering this into a pick’em fight between two old war horses both absent from the battlefield for quite some time.

by Geoffrey Ciani – Andrew Golota is a poster boy for unfulfilled potential in boxing. His unique adventures through the heavyweight rankings were interesting, unpredictable, and sometimes downright bizarre—and apparently his journey is not yet finished. This Saturday, 45 year old Golota (41-8-1, 33 KOs) will step inside the squared circle for the first time in more than three years when he is pitted against fellow Pole, Przemyslaw Saleta (43-7, 21 KOs). Saleta himself turns 45 this March and has not seen action in over seven years, effectively rendering this into a pick’em fight between two old war horses both absent from the battlefield for quite some time.

The boxing history books will show that Golota was unsuccessful in four bids for portions of the heavyweight crown, one against each of the four major sanctioning alphabet organizations. These were bookended by devastating first round knockout losses at the hands of Lennox Lewis (WBC) in October 1997 and Lamon Brewster (WBO) in May 2005. In between he had a solid showing in a twelve round draw against Christ Byrd (IBF) in April 2004, and followed that up with a good account of himself in a somewhat controversial loss against John Ruiz (WBA) that November. Even though he failed to secure a title belt in ‘04, many observers felt that Golota did well enough to deserve a victory in both contests.

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Exclusive Interview with super middleweight contender Adonis Stevenson

Adonis Stevenson -  “I stopped Bute with 20 ounce gloves in sparring. I stopped him in like the third round, so when Bute fought Carl Froch I knew he was going to get hit because Carl Froch has a good style.”—Adonis Stevenson

“I stopped Bute with 20 ounce gloves in sparring. I stopped him in like the third round, so when Bute fought Carl Froch I knew he was going to get hit because Carl Froch has a good style.”—Adonis Stevenson

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded the opportunity to speak with #1 ranked IBF super middleweight mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson (19-1, 16 KOs). Stevenson is looking forward to the chance to fight for the title after the dust settles in the upcoming rematch between reigning IBF champion Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch and current WBA title holder Mikkel Kessler. Stevenson shared his views on that match-up, and also discussed his plans while he waits for his opportunity. Additionally Stevenson also talked about his twelfth round stoppage victory against Donovan George, his opinion on 168 pound king Andre Ward, and the sad and untimely passing of his Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward. Here is what Stevenson had to say.

Audio:

GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello boxing fans. This is Geoff Ciani from East Side Boxing and I am joined by super middleweight contender, Adonis Stevenson. How’s everything going today, Adonis?

ADONIS STEVENSON: Very, very good. Very good, everything’s good.

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The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 6: Perspective from Tarick Salmaci

Emanuel Steward -  “So his selflessness—that’s what I’ll remember most is his selflessness. I remember that most, and he always made us feel like we were something, and we always wanted to impress him as kids.”—Tarick Salmaci

“So his selflessness—that’s what I’ll remember most is his selflessness. I remember that most, and he always made us feel like we were something, and we always wanted to impress him as kids.”—Tarick Salmaci

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Six of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an remarkable individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply extraordinary. In this installment, former Kronk fighter Tarick Salmaci shares his views and some of his unique experiences growing up in the Kronk Gym throughout his childhood. Here is a complete transcript of my discussion with Tarick:

GEOFFREY CIANI: Tarick, it was a big loss for the boxing world, especially the Kronk community, when we lost an exceptional individual when Emanuel Steward passed away. As someone who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, what are your personal views on his personal impact on the world of boxing?

TARICK SALMACI: Good question. I think he’ll always be a part of boxing. He’s part of the game. He’ll always be part of the game. He helped make boxing what it is as far as training world champions, being involved in all these mega fights he was involved in throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and current. It’s just when it comes to boxing he’s a legend. That’s a given right there.

CIANI: Can you tell the fans out there a little bit about what it was like the first time that you worked with Emanuel?

SALMACI: Let me start by saying that Emanuel, I mean I first met him when I was 11 years old. So I kind of grew up around Emanuel, and from the first time meeting him as a kid he always made you feel important. You know what I mean? That’s one thing he always did, and I noticed that as a kid. He made us feel important, and we always tried to impress him. I mean we were like 11 and 12 years old, here we are, kids from the ghetto, and this man would take us. We were young kids! And with Emanuel this was like the 80s. So he was already on top of his game. He would pick us up and take us to the most expensive restaurant in Detroit. There was a steakhouse called “Carl’s Chop House”, and he’d take about 14 or 15 of us there randomly. Every month, every couple of months, he would take us all there to experience something we never experienced before.

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Amir Khan successful in first fight with new trainer Virgil Hunter

Amir Khan, Khan vs Molina, Virgil Hunter - by Geoffrey Ciani, photos by Tom Casino / Showtime - Amir Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) ended a two fight losing streak when he impressively defeated an overmatched Carlos Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs) last night in Los Angeles. This marked the first time Khan was paired up with new head trainer Virgil Hunter, who is best known for his long term working relationship with rising pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward. The new team made a good impression in their first effort together, with Khan in complete control of the action that ultimately came to an end when Molina’s corner stopped the contest after the tenth.

by Geoffrey Ciani, photos by Tom Casino / Showtime – Amir Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) ended a two fight losing streak when he impressively defeated an overmatched Carlos Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs) last night in Los Angeles. This marked the first time Khan was paired up with new head trainer Virgil Hunter, who is best known for his long term working relationship with rising pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward. The new team made a good impression in their first effort together, with Khan in complete control of the action that ultimately came to an end when Molina’s corner stopped the contest after the tenth.

Even though Khan and Hunter have only worked together eight weeks, Hunter already seemed to have a visible impact on Khan’s performance. Amir was very patient in the early going and was measured in his approach, especially when it came to attacking. Everything for Khan started with his jab, and this helped create openings where he could unleash short three and four punch combinations that possessed a nice blend of speed and precision. He would throw a short series of shots, reposition himself, throw another combination, and then calmly take a stroll to establish new perspective, resetting the action where he could resume controlling the range to his liking. As Showtime commentator Paulie Malignaggi noted, “There he goes again, Khan is taking a walk”. Amir was composed.

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Juan Manuel Marquez scores shockingly surreal knockout against Manny Pacquiao!

Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV - by Geoffrey Ciani - With nearly half his face covered in flowing streams of blood, Juan Manuel Marquez resembled something out of a zombie movie during the sixth round of action in his fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao. Despite suffering a solid third round knockdown from a sneaky Marquez right, Pacquiao seemed to have momentum on his side after scoring a nice knockdown of his own in the fifth. This came compliments of a sharp Pacquiao left that buckled Marquez to the point his glove bounced off the canvas in a spontaneous effort to reestablish balance. Pacquiao turned up the heat following the knockdown and began growing bolder throughout the sixth, and all the while Marquez was patiently trying to fend off Manny’s attacks while looking for something in Pacquiao’s rhythm he could exploit. And then it happened, he found it—BOOM!—fight over, just like that!

by Geoffrey Ciani – With nearly half his face covered in flowing streams of blood, Juan Manuel Marquez resembled something out of a zombie movie during the sixth round of action in his fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao. Despite suffering a solid third round knockdown from a sneaky Marquez right, Pacquiao seemed to have momentum on his side after scoring a nice knockdown of his own in the fifth. This came compliments of a sharp Pacquiao left that buckled Marquez to the point his glove bounced off the canvas in a spontaneous effort to reestablish balance. Pacquiao turned up the heat following the knockdown and began growing bolder throughout the sixth, and all the while Marquez was patiently trying to fend off Manny’s attacks while looking for something in Pacquiao’s rhythm he could exploit. And then it happened, he found it—BOOM!—fight over, just like that!

Pacquiao never even saw the punch coming. It was a tremendously calculated right hand that Juan threw with meanest intentions, and Pacquiao wound up exactly where Marquez anticipated he would be before even launching the thunderous knockout blow. Watching Pacquiao fall face first onto the canvas, and then remaining there motionlessly with his right arm partially under his body—it was something that was simply surreal. In terms of the sheer brutality of the knockout, it was surely right up there with Antonio Tarver’s second round knockout against Roy Jones and Sergio Martinez’s bomb against Paul Williams. It even was eerily reminiscent of the devastating shot Pacquiao finished Ricky Hatton with more than three years ago. But watching an icon like Pacquiao collapse as if he had been shot at close range in a sneak attack by a stealth assassin was just one of those moments that will forever live on in the annals of boxing history. It actually reminded me of watching a dazed Mike Tyson helplessly groping for his mouthpiece after being absolutely bludgeoned by Buster Douglas. That was the power and magnitude of the imagery on display.

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