LAS VEGAS, Nevada, May 6 – Naazim Richardson says he sees no reason why underdog Shane Mosley shouldn't be able to turn back the clock one more time and dethrone pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
"People tend to forget and tend to overlook the high boxing IQ Shane has," Richardson said. "He has seen everything there is to see in boxing."
Richardson trains four-time world champion Mosley who will take on eight-division world champ Pacquiao for the Filipino’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
A lot has been made about Mosley’s age, 39, for this fight. Richardson says as boxers get older they have to adapt and apply the fundamentals of the sport rather than rely too much on their natural talent. Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) understands this.
"Boxers take one of two things out of the ring: punishment or experience," Richardson said. "Guys like Shane have all that natural ability.
"But if you haven’t learned your craft then as you get older you will have trouble.
"Shane is in that transition now. He can’t be the Sugar Shane Mosley he was when he was 25."
Richardson is a devout Muslim who has trained numerous world champions, including former world champion Bernard Hopkins.
Richardson teammed up with Mosley for two of his most notable fights, a victory over Antonio Margarito in 2009 and a loss to Floyd Mayweather last year.
It was the win over Margarito at Staples Center arena in January 2009 that got the boxing world talking about Richardson after he caught Margarito trying to use a plaster-like substance in his handwraps prior to the fight.
It is not the first time says Richardson that has found problems with another boxer’s handwraps.
"I discovered something in (Felix) Trinidad’s handwraps in New York a couple of years ago.
"That comes from my background. I train a lot of my family members so I am watchful and protectful of my boxers."
Richardson left home at 14 while growing up in Philadelphia. He also spent time in jail.
Boxing got him off the streets, gave him a sense of purpose and earned him respect.
It was after the stroke he suffered four years ago, that Richardson started working with Mosley. The two have created a strong bond ever since.
Oddly enough their first dispute was over how Richardson was going to tape Mosley’s hands.
"I felt like Shane Mosley and I could do well together when we had our first fight," Richardson said. "Me and Shane had a dispute early on. It was when I tried to tape his hands. He didn’t want too much tape and I told him ‘young man, you are not going into the ring with that little gauze on your hands’.
"Some guys just want to win no matter what it is. Shane is like that. We ended up coming to a compromise."
No much phases Richardson these days, even when they spell his name wrong (one a instead of two in Naazim) on his training camp polo shirt for this fight.
Mosley is expected to earn a $3.95 million purse compared to $6 million for Pacquiao.
"It is not about Shane trying to be like Pacquiao," Richardson said. "I am not asking him to match Pacquiao’s speed.
"He doesn’t have to be Manny Pacquiao to win. He has to be Sugar Shane Mosley and if he is the best Sugar Shane Mosley then Pacquiao is in trouble."