|Ronnie Shields: "If I didn't think Holyfield could do it then I wouldn't be with him"
INTERVIEW by Benny Henderson Jr - AKA "Big Dog" (Aug 18, 2006)
Tonight August 18th at the American Airline Center in Dallas, Texas the four time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield takes another shot at greatness in searching for a fifth world heavyweight title. The majority of the boxing world highly doubts his chances at winning yet another championship, but despite the negativity from the media and a percentage of the boxing fan-base one man is firmly standing behind Holyfield and believes that his pupil can and will regain the heavyweight title.
A former light welterweight contender throughout the eighties Ronnie Shields pounded out a respectful record of 26-6-1 (19) earning himself the NABF light welterweight strap, and after hanging up the gloves in 1988 the Texan took on the role as trainer and since that point has helped structure many fighters careers. His list of fighters under his tutelage at one time or another is a whose who of boxing, Jesus Chavez, Kassim Ouma, David Tua, Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker, John John Molina, Vernon Forrest,
Raul Marquez, Jesse James Lejia, and of course Evander Holyfield along with many others.
Shields has worked with Holyfield in the past and has now taken the reins once again to try to guide the forty-three year old fighter back to the top. In this exclusive interview Ronnie Shields speaks on Evander’s return and what the future may hold, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: What are your thoughts on Holyfield coming back and doing his thing?
Ronnie Shields: If I didn’t think he could do it then I wouldn’t be with him, Evander is a hard working guy, I mean he works very hard and he listens. We have been training hard and I am expecting big things from him, and I am 100% behind him and I know that he is going to do well. We are going to take it one fight at a time, we have goal and our goal is for him to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world one more time.
BH: What do you know about his opponent Jeremy Bates?
RS: I got tape of him, he is a good fighter, he is one of these guys that is coming to fight. So it is a tough fight for him but when you are Evander Holyfield you can’t sit back and fight anyone that is less than you, so he has to fight somebody, Jeremy is his opponent and that is the guy that we have to live with.
BH: What was a normal week of training for you guys in this camp?
RS: We sparred on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Mondays and Wednesdays we do pads and bag work and Friday’s we go into the gym and go over what we have done for the week.
BH: In your honest opinion how is Evander looked in this camp?
RS: He is doing good, its training, of course when you make mistakes you want to do it in training, and then you can always go back and correct all the mistakes. That’s what we are doing, not making mistakes. But our main focus is to have the right game plan for Jeremy Bates and to execute the game plan.
BH: Will people be surprised and see a totally different Holyfield than two years ago?
RS: I think some people will be surprised, but if you are a big Evander Holyfield fan then you will be like, I told ya’ll! (Laughs)
BH: Evander told me that all the negative press hasn’t affected his train of thought for this return, you’re with him on a day to day basis, has he been affected mentally with the press?
RS: It gives him a lot of drive, and I am glad the criticism is coming in before the fight because it is really making him work hard, but I am still seeing the same Evander Holyfield that I have always been around and I have been around him for a long time and I see the same drive, he is more determined than ever, there is one thing you need to understand people all his life has told him that he couldn’t do this or do that so he has been told that all his life, and he has always proved them wrong, he is in the business of proving people wrong. So I love it, I want them to keep on doing what they are doing, keep criticizing him because all it is doing is helping us, the person that is going to pay for that is Jeremy Bates.
BH: Anything in closing you feel like adding to this interview?
RS: He is going to be in perfect condition for this ten round fight and you know we are just going to go do what we always do, and if somehow some way we lose this fight, it doesn’t mean that Evander Holyfield wasn’t ready or to old, it just means that Jeremy Bates was the better fighter that night.
I would like to thank Ronnie Shields for his time and thoughts.
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