"First and foremost, I thought that the fight at 168 pounds was a bad move. It was hard for Chad to make 68. And I knew when the fight was signed at 68 pounds that Chad was going to be in for a rough night. I wouldn't have never took the fight at 168, but at 175, a lot different...It will be an entirely different outcome to the fight also. And I like Andre. Andre can fight. Andre Ward is a great fighter, but I know what I got in Chad Dawson. And not knocking the guy that trained Chad after me, but what I forgot, they don't know," stated world-class trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, who shared his thoughts on Chad Dawson's return to the light heavyweight division and much more during a recent visit on FightHype Radio. Check out what else he had to say!
FR: Congratulations on all of the recent success you have been having with your fighters. A lot of the young Mayweather Promotions guys are your guys. First things first, what is it like to finally be able to call Ishe Smith a world champion?
EMM: Well, I always knew that Ishe had it in him to be a world champion. That's why I always stuck with him when times were hard. I would always tell him, "Hey man, your time is gonna come. You will be a world champion."
FR: You also have Badou Jack and Luis Arias on top of Ishe Smith and Chad Dawson. How do you make time for all of these guys? Are you living in the gym or do they all come at the same time? How are you making it work?
EMM: We all work together. We are like a family and nobody thinks that they are better than anybody. When we went to Detroit, we went as a group and I told Ishe, "We didn't come to Detroit to fight for a world title because anybody can fight for a world title. We came to take the world title," and that's what we did.
FR: May 4th, a lot of your young guys will be right back in the mix on the undercard of Mayweather/Guerrero. What can we expect from your camp?
EMM: You know what? Floyd runs the show and he tells those guys when they are fighting. My job is to get them into the best condition mentally and physically and that's what I do, so we are gonna be ready for May 4th.
FR: It appeared Chad Dawson was all ready to rematch Jean Pascal and now, Pascal's going in another direction and will be fighting Lucian Bute. What went down with that situation, because it was all but done with Chad and then it was just a sudden switch?
EMM: Well, I had a talk with Chad and we understand that boxing is a business. It's no longer a sport and I just see it like this, Pascal and Bute have the same promoter, so in my train of thought, I think that the promoter is trying to cash out on either one of them because he knows that they are on borrowed time anyway.
FR: It appears no fighter is going to run Bernard Hopkins out of the game. What did you think of the performance that the 48-year-old man put on against Tavoris Cloud?
EMM: Well, me and Chad predicted it. How can you let the mummy beat you? Tavoris Cloud fights like "The Mummy!" He plods with his feet and tries to grab; come on, man. That's how he fights and he hasn't been taught anything.
FR: You are out there in the middle of Mayweather Country and you get to experience what that's like firsthand. If you can just try to break down what that's like to be in that kind of atmosphere when Floyd is there, or even when he's not there, and just being in that atmosphere out in Vegas and having those kind of names coming in and out of that gym?
EMM: First and foremost, we are all in Floyd's gym and when Floyd comes in that gym, the first thing he does is looks at me and gives me a wink to let me know everything is cool. He goes on about his business and I mean, you got the, no more HBO cameras, but now you got the Showtime cameras there and Floyd is the man, no doubt about it. He's got the richest contract in sports history, so he is proven to be the man. We give him his respect and we are having a ball being in there with him and experiencing it all.
FR: You guys have a lot of knowledge inside that gym. Do you guys feed off of each other and try to help each other out or is it separate where you work with your guys and they do their thing?
EMM: There is nothing separate; we are like a family. And if I can help guys like J'Leon Love like today, I always tell him if he is doing this wrong and I think he should do that. He always says, "Thank you, I'm going to do that." It's no secrets or jealousy in the gym. We are all one family and that's just how it is.
FR: Obviously Chad Dawson's fight [against Andre Ward] didn't go that well. If you had been working with Chad, is that a fight you would have taken at 168 pounds? Do you think the move down in weight was a bad idea and what do you think you would have had Chad do differently in that fight?
EMM: First and foremost, I thought that the fight at 168 pounds was a bad move. It was hard for Chad to make 68. And I knew when the fight was signed at 68 pounds that Chad was going to be in for a rough night. I wouldn't have never took the fight at 168, but at 175, a lot different.
FR: Really? So let's say Andre Ward moves up to 75 and fights Chad Dawson, stylistically, you think there are things that Chad would be able to take advantage of?
EMM: Without a doubt! It will be an entirely different outcome to the fight also. And I like Andre. Andre can fight. Andre Ward is a great fighter, but I know what I got in Chad Dawson. And not knocking the guy that trained Chad after me, but what I forgot, they don't know.
FR: First off I want to salute you for being a true teacher of the game!
EMM: Thank you! Thank you!
FR: Back in the day, nobody was even allowed to train a fighter unless they served an apprenticeship under an established trainer. You had Naazim Richardson, who is a disciple of Bouie Fisher, and Sugar Hill, who was mentored by Emanuel Steward. Who was your mentor, because a lot of trainers today don't have mentors?
EMM: You're absolutely right and I would never call myself a trainer. I think I'm a teacher, just like you pointed out. I teach the game and I've been taught by some of the best who have ever laced a pair of gloves up on a fighter, like Chickie Ferrara, who along with Angelo Dundee helped mold Muhammad Ali. The great Slim Jim Robinson, who guided Tim Witherspoon and Michael Rossman and myself to a world title. And last but not least, Panama Lewis. Though he's banned from boxing, he is still a great mind in the game.
FR: So is there somebody that you started out with, like an Eddie Futch or what school of boxing do you come from, because you are a true teacher of the game and that doesn't just happen?
EMM: I had a lot of guys that I would sit down and have dinner with, like an Eddie Futch, and we would sit down and start talking boxing. I eat and live and send my kids to school through boxing and all I did was ask questions. There is no harm in asking questions and that's what I did. Mr. Futch and even Emanuel, I would call Emanuel up and say, "Hey man, what would you think if I did this?" And Emanuel always stressed the same thing I stress and that is balance first and then a good jab second.
FR: When they first started talking about J'Leon fighting Gabe Rosado, the first thing I said is J'Leon should try to get trained by Eddie Mustafa. Is there any chance that we can see you in J'Leon's corner for this fight in May?
EMM: Well, he has his people, such as Roger Mayweather, and Roger is a great boxing mind; a great boxing mind and I gotta take my hat off to the guy because I like watching him. But you know, Roger has been a little bit under the weather lately. I'm not going to say he's sick, but he's got diabetes and that's kind of slowed him down a little bit. If they asked me to step in, I would step in and show him how to beat guys like Gabriel Rosado. And I just want to make an announcement if it hasn't already been made, but I am now training Mike Jones and I predict he is going to be our next welterweight champion. I have been with Mike now for a few weeks.
FR: Tall, rangy fighters like working with you.
EMM: Yeah, because I know how to use it. What they bring me, I take them to the next level. They got that good leverage; reminds me of my good friend Bob Foster, one of the greatest, if not the greatest light heavyweight champion of all time.
FR: Another announcement that I recently saw on your Facebook page is that you will be inducted into the New York boxing Hall of Fame.
EMM: Yeah, and you are right, and I'm very happy because everyone knows that I'm from New York and I got the call the other night while I was watching TV and they said that I was being inducted and it's an honor to be in that category in that class with Bob Arum, Jack Dempsey, Mark Breland, Buddy McGirt. I enjoy that. I think McGirt was a great fighter and he turned into a great teacher also. I'm glad and happy that I get a chance to visit with all of my family and we are gonna have a great time that night.