Hopkins at disadvantage without Fisher


28.11.05 – By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: With the Taylor Hopkins 2 bout looming on the horizon the absence of Hopkin’s longtime trainer Bouie Fisher really disheartens me as a fan of the “Executioner.” I know that Bernard has said that anybody who can handle a spit bucket can be his trainer but to me that is simple self-promotion.

Make no mistake about it, along with James Toney and possibly a few other fighters who’s names don’t quite jump to mind, Bernard Hopkins knows more about boxing then George Bush doesn’t know about English grammar. Were it a situation where fighters could not receive instructions in between rounds for a fight then Fisher’s absence would not matter as Hopkins could prepare for a bout by himself just as easily as with Fisher and be better during the bout then his trainer less opponent. The issue is not that Hopkins doesn’t know all there is to know about the sport its that with the amount of knowledge he has something can possibly slip his mind at a crucial point during the bout.

Hypothetically he may know how to capitalize on Taylor’s inability to keep one of his hands up, but its possible he can forget it, with all that is going on during the action. Fatigue, injury, concentration can distract Hopkin’s memory and it can potentially cost him the bout.

Can the same thing happen to Taylor?

Without question but the difference is if by some stroke of lightning that happens Jermain will have a great veteran trainer, who knows just as much as the fighter he represents, reminding him to focus on his “bad intentions.” Its like when I am driving and I have one of those backseat or shotgun drivers screaming at me about turn signals, cars that are too close, and invisible squirrels. Is it annoying? Absolutely but what if in one instance I do get distracted and am lucky enough to have somebody next to me yelling at me to swerve?

There is no doubt that having a good trainer, or even another fighter, in one’s corner is crucial. It just cannot be overstated enough. I am not claiming that Nazim Richardson, Fisher’s replacement, is a bad trainer by any means, but he is not one of those elite few trainers that I as a fan am aware of and that is why I am concerned. It is possible Richardson is just as good as if not better then Fisher, and it could be, Hopkins doesn’t need a trainer at all, but what if that isn’t true? What if Richardson misses something too?

In the past couple of years I have noticed an increasing trend of fighters importing great trainers as corner men and assistant trainers in a bout. In some instances other fighters do the honors in big fights. From Wladimir Klitschko and his brother, to Roman Karmazin employing Freddie Roach, to Sharmba Mitchell even in his losing effort with the help of Mcgirt, this is to put it frankly a very wise strategy. If a fighter is smart, and Hopkins undoubtedly is, then having three or four guys who know their boxing giving their expert opinion if it is needed, in the corner is prudent planning. Yes it might be disruptive if there is no clear head trainer, but if that is all discussed before hand, then imagine a corner of Roach, Goosen, and Birminghan concurring on what Hopkins should do and then telling him about it in between rounds?

It just sounds like if that is the case then Hopkins, or any fighter, would never have to worry about forgetting something or receiving bad advice in his corner. I mentioned James Toney earlier as a guy who knows just as much as Hopkins, and well even so Roach is still always in his corner. If a fighter wants to take away as many variables from the equation as possible then he keeps his corner men on the elite level.

Basically what I am saying is I hope that Bernard realizes this and gets as many top guys into that corner as possible. Hell let Oscar De La Hoya carry his spit bucket, and Joe Goosen massage his shoulders, if those guys can potentially give him advice that can win him the fight, or at the very least confirm his own plan of action, then he is more confident once the bell rings each round. He may still lose but it won’t be because he got crappy advice.

Even if Hopkins is unaffected by this, Jermain Taylor’s confidence level is probably growing knowing Fisher won’t be there. Pre fight psychology is a factor in fights and always has been, and it does not seem wise to let Taylor’s confidence grow.

I wish Hopkins the best in either case and I hope he is victorious because I admire his character.