|Catching up with Emanuel Steward Part Two
INTERVIEW By Gabriel Montoya (Oct 24, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
When we left off, Manny Steward was in the midst of discussing the particulars aftermath of former Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor’s loss to current Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik. Read on to hear Manny’s thoughts on that as well as heavyweight legend Evander Holyfield continued campaign as well as the future of Kermit Cintron.
Emanuel Steward: You know, we’ve accepted the defeat. I underestimated Kelly. He did a great job as well as his trainer. He had a great focus. They did their homework. His punches were shorter. His defense was very good, picking
off punches. And then he showed the real, true grit of a champion getting up off the floor, made it back to his corner and came back the next round with the same fire and enthusiasm. He gave even more in the next round than he had in the last round. That’s this sport. It’s not like you can get tired and we call timeout and Jermain come out and get your second wind, someone else go in. Then after that you go back in. We couldn’t do that.
ES: We lost. I think we should go back in and the rematch will be another one of those classic fights that everyone will want to see. Both guys have their ups and downs. Kelly got Jermain hurt and Jermain had Kelly hurt. Kelly had the right relaxation, he took his time and he shot the right uppercut. Jermain should have thrown everything over the top and came back with the left hooks and mixed up his punches. But Jermain didn’t see the punches and continued to take big punches. We have no problems with the stoppage in the fight. I think Jermain deserves a rematch.
GM: Were you fine with the stoppage? You didn’t think it was premature?
GM: On TV, [referee] Smoger was in the way and I never got a clear view of Jermain’s face.
ES: That’s why I felt we were losing. I didn’t care what the scorecards said. I saw the way the fight was going.
ES: I saw the momentum was totally, totally going against us. I don’t think Smoger did anything wrong. I thought he did a great job.
GM: Yeah I thought he was good in the fight.
ES: He didn’t stop the fight when Pavlik was hurt. He was hurt but he never…had he been hit with one more clean punch it would have been different. The ref did an excellent job. And Jermain feels the same. No complaints about it. Just like to have a rematch, which you know he has the right to. And you know, try to win his title back.
GM: Would you go straight into a rematch or would you have a fight in between?
ES: The powers that be in boxing are saying they are moving towards not having an immediate rematch, okay?
ES: I think a rematch is a better fight, you know? It’s a good fight. One guy won the fight but he was seriously, seriously hurt himself real bad. I think the strongest thing is to get the rematch done and then they can move on with their lives after that. In the past, the great fights, they had the rematch right away. Jermain might not get motivated for a [an interim bout] he could lose. Kelly might have a letdown after this fight, he could lose. Jermain wins then we can have a third fight.
GM: I agree with that. It’s kind of like with Kermit [Cintron] and [Antonio] Margarito. That fight should happen and it’s not and it kind of hangs over the fighters head.
ES: Right. Look at what happened with Wlad and Brewster. No matter what Wladimir would do, they’d say he had no stamina, no chin. No mater what he had that stigma. Taylor will do anything to get his championship back. He could end up with two consecutive knockouts but he willing to take that chance. He said I want to find out and learn from my mistakes. Not just him but both of us have a lot more respect for Pavlik.
GM: Yeah. Jumping subjects now, did you get a chance to see Holyfield fight [against Sultan Ibragimov]?
ES: No I didn’t but I saw it in mind how it would go. I see fights a lot of times in my mind.
GM: Do you think he should stop fighting?
ES: Do I think he should quit?
GM: Yeah. Do you?
ES: It’s hard to say to a man to give up his dream. I think about Don King when he had Duran. Duran had lost to a guy named Kirkland Laing and Don let him go. Don couldn’t believe it when the guy went on win the damn [WBA] middleweight title [against Davey Moore]. I don’t like seeing a lot of these name fighters not able to beat guys they would have beaten in their prime still fighting.
ES: I’d like to see him walk away with his health. I think he is great fighter and an extremely amazing man though. I don’t think he will accomplish any more…his greatest accomplishments are all behind him. I don’t think there is anything more to accomplish. Winning six championships and all that.
GM: I agree with you. I think at this point he is kind of leveling off and we will only see the downward spiral from here on out. Don King told me that same story like three weeks ago and the difference to me is that Duran was much younger [Writer’s note: Duran was 32 when he beat Moore] than Holyfield is at this point, you know?
ES: Yeah you’re right. You’re right. That makes a difference.
GM: It does.
ES: I didn’t think about that when Don told me but it does make a big difference.
GM: Yeah, you know, Holy’s 45. You just … you don’t get better. Sad but true.
ES: George Foreman had a ten-year rest period. He never took a lot of punishment. Even when he lost to Ali he didn’t take a beating he just punched himself out really.
GM: Plus he had one punch knockout power, which Holyfield doesn’t have.
ES: You’re right. Good point. I never really looked at it that way, Gabriel. He had a pretty good defense. He was a hard puncher but was known for taking a lot of punches and then knocking you out. Those fights with Qawi, the fight with Dokes, the fights with Riddick Bowe, he has a history of great, dramatic fights. So more fights is just a warrior taking blows. George was not known for taking a lot of shots. With Evander, he was hit and punch back, hit and punch back. He had a few fights like the one with Alex Stewart [Writer’s note: Holyfield TKO’d Stewart in round 8] but that was not [the norm].
GM. Yeah there’s a big difference there. One more question about Cintron. I talked to Goossen and he told that negotiations have opened up with Williams. Is there any movement on that?
ES: Well, Kermit is training for Feliciano, as you know. I’ve talked to people that said they are trying to put it at the Home Depot [Center in Carson, Ca.] Nobody’s interested in that. Williams is not a draw. He doesn’t have an attraction anywhere. Margarito brought the crowd for that last fight. Cintron is not really a big star but his stock’s up now with three good knockouts that a lot of people came to see with Estrada, Suarez, and now Matthyse. He’s one of the guys that a lot of people want to see in the welterweight division. Everyone likes a homerun hitter. So we are trying to find a site that works for both sides. I was told that one of the casinos said that they would put up the money. That they would pay because like I said it’s a great fight and all of the casinos are big fight fans. If we don’t fight Paul then I can’t really say who we will fight just now. I’d like to fight Margarito. Kermit is one of the attractions in boxing because of the knockouts. He has one of the highest percentages in boxing next to Wlad and probably Pavlik. People like knockouts.
GM: Is it a specific casino that was interested?
ES: I’d rather not say. Call Goossen. He’d probably be able to tell you.
GM: Well, cool, Emanuel. Thanks again for talking time out to talk to me.
ES: Anytime Gabriel. I love talking with you.
PART ONE: Catching up with Emanuel Steward
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