Manny Steward Speaks on Kermit Cintron vs Jesse Feliciano
By Gabriel Montoya (Nov 25, 2007) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)        
In his first and only interview since Friday’s fight between IBF titlist Kermit Cintron and Jesse Feliciano, Cintron’s Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward spoke with’s Gabriel Montoya. Steward was candid as always as he broke down the fight and spoke on the injury to Cintron’s right hand.

Gabriel Montoya: Hi Manny. I missed you at the press conference.

Manny Steward: We weren’t at it so you didn’t miss us. I haven’t spoken to any other reporters yet. They called but I didn’t talk to them.

GM: Well, I’m honored and I thank you for talking to me.

Anytime, Gabriel.

GM: So I wanted to know how Kermit’s hand is. Is it broken?

No. No it isn’t broken. It’s bruised from what we can tell. There might be some damage to the tendon. The initial tests show it isn’t broken and that’s really all we know right now. We are waiting for [a more thorough exam]. The big thing we are waiting on from the doctor is how long we have to wait before training camp for the Williams fight. We’ll know more in a few days. Kermit hurt it on [Feliciano’s] forehead in the first round. The first punch he

GM: I noticed he came back to the corner and said something to you. And after that he stopped throwing the right hand as much.

Yeah. After the first round, Kermit came back and told me his hand was hurt. I thought, 'oh shit.' At that point I had a tough decision to make and I made a quick one to change our strategy, slow down and stay inside and let this kid tire himself out. In the later rounds we'd go to our legs and turn him and confuse him and go for the stoppage. I knew we might get behind on the cards and that the crowd might turn against us. But with a crazy kid like that coming forward all wired up and ready to take our best shots, I thought it was the best thing to do. Kermit might have burned himself out trying to move all night.

GM: Feliciano has some chin on him.

Yeah, well, there are two types of guys that can make you look bad. One is this type of guy who is all wired up and crazy, throwing a bunch of punches and bullying forward. He didn’t have any power on them but he just kept throwing. The other is the type that runs away and doesn’t want to engage. We had talked with a member of Floyd’s [Mayweather, jr.] camp. And they told me that if we don’t get him out fast it could be a long night.

GM: [Floyd Mayweather, jr.] uses Feliciano for sparring?

Yeah they use him for pressure. He was so wired up in that opening round he was ready to take Kermit’s best shots. So when he came back and said the hand was hurt, I knew we had to slow down and let him tire himself. If Kermit had tried to run around and box and move he might have tired himself out.

GM: I have to be honest with you, Kermit doesn’t fight the best inside but once he got the guy at distance, it was ridiculous. Pinpoint punching.

No I would agree. It’s that great hand to eye coordination. He doesn’t miss once he sees the target. I knew it wouldn’t be a crowd-pleasing fight and they might turn against us but the kid wasn’t hitting hard, just touching and touching. I figured we’d go to the legs and confuse him once he was good and tired. He’d be thinking ‘Hey, this isn’t the game we were playing before.’ And we’d stop him.

GM: You tried it in the sixth or seventh, going to the legs. Then Kermit went right back to going inside.

Man, you remember everything. It's true. The kid wasn't quite tired enough yet so Kermit went inside and let him tire himself some more. But once he was, Kermit finished him. He doesn’t waste punches once he lands and gets you going.

GM: No he doesn’t. He’s very relaxed in there. He isn’t tight and winging wasted shots. There are some people saying it was an early stoppage. With 14 unanswered punches, I don’t know what more they were hoping for.

No he was done. He was done. We knew before the fight the rules were different for this fight. They told us there was no standing eight. If the hands drop or the eyes roll back the fight is over. Other fights like that, the ref might step in and count eight but that wasn’t the case here. He was done. The corner didn’t complain, he didn’t complain. He was done.

GM: Even though it wasn’t the most impressive looking fight to the fans, it has to be impressive to you.

Oh yes. To have a fighter come back and say his hand is hurt and to have to change strategy like that, it was a gamble. I knew we would be behind but I trusted he could go for the knockout once [Feliciano] was tired.

GM: That was a helluva gamble.

It was. It was.

GM: Well, thank you, Manny. I hope everything works out for you guys.

Thank you, Gabriel. Anytime.

Gabriel at:
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