Boxing: Nazim Richardson
May, 4, 2012
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com
LAS VEGAS -- Canelo Alvarez is listed as a 9-to-1 favorite over Shane Mosley in Las Vegas this weekend. Come Monday, Nazim Richardson hopes everyone remembers that.
Richardson, Mosley's trainer since late 2008, is standing firmly behind his 40-year-old fighter heading into Saturday's 154-pound title fight against Alvarez. Mosley is 0-2-1 in his past three fights, and some believe he's filling the role of a big-name victim to be added to the young Alvarez's résumé.
Should his fighter play spoiler to that scenario, Richardson doesn't want to hear any backtracking or claims that maybe the 21-year-old Alvarez wasn't quite ready.
"When Shane Mosley blows him out the water, please don't reduce Canelo and say he was never ready or he never fought anybody," Richardson said. "You guys are saying this is the next thing coming."
Richardson is already headed into the fight somewhat frustrated by the perception he believes boxing fans and media have of Mosley. For the record, the head trainer had his concerns about sending Mosley into the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in 2010 and 2011, but it had everything to do with a few undisclosed injuries his fighter had and nothing to do with his boxing ability.
The two shy away from discussing the lower back pain Mosley felt leading up to the fight against Mayweather and the Achilles injury he suffered prior to the Pacquiao fight. The last thing either wants is to appear to be making excuses.
Richardson says it's been difficult, though, for his man to receive so much criticism based on two fights in which Mosley wasn't 100 percent and fought two world-class fighters.
"I was just upset with the media and the public," Richardson said. "I equate it like this: If my ball team lost to the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Lakers, would they say they shouldn't be on the court no more? Because you lost to the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Lakers?
"They're two of the last guys to win the championship. What do you mean we shouldn't be on the court? We're still a viable team."
Mosley claims he is now the healthiest he has been in years, and went so far as to say his speed is better now than it was two years ago when he fought Mayweather.
He'll need to be at his best -- certainly better than what we've seen of late -- to get by what Richardson calls, "a young monster" in Alvarez. If Mosley is successful, the trainer said his fighter had better get proper credit.
"These [younger fighters] grew up on Shane Mosley, so when they fight him, they rise to another level," Richardson said. "I'm expecting that of Alvarez. He's going to do things in this fight we've never seen him do."