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Ronnie Shields: 'Pacquiao is just too fast and too strong for him'
Geoffrey Ciani , 2/4/2011 1:59:15 PM


Ronnie Shields appeared on episode 110 of 'On the Ropes Boxing Radio'

(Interviewed by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This week’s 110th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with highly regarded boxing trainer Ronnie Shields, who recently led Chris Arreola to a first round knockout victory against Joey Abell. Shields spoke about Arreola, and also talked about other fighters he is currently training, including Kermit Cintron, Erislandy Lara, and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Here is some of what he had to say:

His views on Chris Arreola’s first round knockout victory against Joey Abell:

“Well I thought he did a great job considering we only had three weeks to get him ready for this fight. Chris is a really, really good guy and I’ve always known he was a good guy. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to work with him, because I know Chris is a very good young man. So there was no problem. He came down with his other trainer, Henry Ramirez. Henry and I, we sat together and we put a game plan together and Chris followed it.”

His views regarding an ideal fighting weight for Arreola:

“I really have no idea because this is my first time training with him. The thing about it when he first came down, the first thing I told him was we’re not going to be concerned about what the weight is. So I think he was very happy about that because everybody is always getting on him about weight, so I wanted to make it clear to him that I didn’t care how much he weighed. The most important thing was that we get in the gym and we train, and we trained hard. Whatever he weighed I was going to be fine with that. He said, ‘Okay, that’s fine’. He worked hard. He also worked with my conditioning coach Brian Caldwell, and Brian did a great job with Chris as far as his conditioning was concerned. As you see, he dropped weight and not one time did I tell him he had to check weight or whatever. I said, ‘Whatever you weigh on that scale, that’s what it’s going to be’. It surprised him that it was 249 pounds, but you know what? He was in great shape. In the next fight I think we’ll have a longer time, maybe six weeks. I think he’s going to be even lower. I don’t want to predict a weight for him because I don’t want him to have to try and set a goal that he can’t reach. So all we’re going to do is keep working hard, but I think within six weeks Arreola can be between 235 and 240.”

On what areas of Arreola’s game he feels he can help improve the most in training:

“Just looking at Chris, I’ve been watching Chris since he was an amateur. I told a lot of people before when he went up to heavyweight, I said, ‘This guy is going to be heavyweight champion’. He’s fast, he’s strong, he has that height, he has the power, I mean he has everything it takes to be heavyweight champion of the world, but then that didn’t happen. So I looked at him and I knew a lot of people were giving up on him. I called Al Haymon myself and I talked to Al and said, ‘Look, I’d like to give it a try with Chris.’ He said, ‘Well, I would like that too, but I got to talk to his trainer and him and let’s see if we can work something out’. It took about three months, but then I think after his last performance he realized he needed another voice, so he decided to come on down to Texas and give it a good try. Hey, he and I clicked very good and it worked out. I just feel that Chris Arreola can be one of the top heavyweights in the world. He just needs to be disciplined. I don’t put pressure on him. I say, ‘If you don’t want to come to the gym and train, if you don’t show up one day then I’m not here the next day. That means it’s all over and you can go back to California’. I said, ‘If you’re going to train, then I’m here to teach. If you want to learn, this is the place, the gym is the place to learn at’. He said, ‘I got no problems with that’ and he didn’t. He didn’t miss one day of training. He worked hard and did everything that we asked him to do. I think if he continues with that attitude, I really truly believe in my heart that pretty soon Chris Arreola is going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

On how far he can potentially see Arreola going in today’s heavyweight division:

“Well I really and truly believe that Arreola can beat a guy like David Haye, and I think he can beat Wladimir Klitschko also. Right now if they offered him a fight with Vitali again, I don’t think that would be the best route to go because he already lost to him and I don’t think his confidence would be there. But I think with him going and fighting one of the other guys and winning the heavyweight championship, then I think the playing field would be level, I think his attitude would be different, and I think he would be at least 60% better than he was the last time he fought Vitali.”

On when fans can expect Kermit Cintron to make a return to squared circle:

“Well, hopefully in May. I just got a call not too long ago from his manager Josh Dugan saying we’re going to prepare for Kermit to go in May. We don’t have an opponent named yet, but hopefully in the next few weeks they will name one. Kermit is excited to get down there. He’s going to come down here in a couple of weeks. He wants to start preparing and make it a good long camp so we can go over things. As soon as they name an opponent, then we can start watching tape and see who that’s going to be. Hopefully it’s Paul Williams. I think a lot of people really want to see the rematch of this thing because everybody can see Kermit was winning the fight easily. It wasn’t like it was a hard fight because in a lot of people’s eyes, not just my eyes, Kermit won all four rounds. It is what its, and hopefully we can get the rematch.”

On whether he was surprised when Paul Williams was stopped in his rematch with Sergio Martinez:

“Not at all. Everybody in the gym, when they first signed that fight, I said Sergio Martinez is going to knock him out and the reason I said that was because Kermit Cintron hurt Paul Williams in that fourth round and that’s when the grabbing and the flinging out of the ring happened. I knew it was going to be another round or two before Kermit Cintron was going to knock him out, but I know that Sergio Martinez is just as strong as Kermit Cintron, so I said Sergio Martinez was going to catch him and it was going to be an early fight and that’s exactly what happened.”

On whether he would like to see Erislandy Lara get more rounds since his last four fights have been first round knockouts:

“I’m not even worried about rounds anymore because the kid trains so hard. It doesn’t matter who he fights right now. We’ve called out everybody in the division and nobody wants to fight him. We’re just going to keep him busy, and I mean look, if you can do twelve rounds in the gym then you can do twelve rounds in a fight. It’s harder in the gym than it is in the fight because of all the things you have to go through, especially with the big gloves on, and how hot it is in the gym, and then with all of the other stuff that he’s doing to prepare for the fight. Look, when I first got Lara he was just a pure boxer. He didn’t really want to put pressure on anybody. I turned that around just a little bit. I said, ‘Look man, you have good punching power. Let’s step it up a little bit! Let’s start taking it to these guys!’ because he’s a good puncher. He’s not fighting right now guys that are rated in the top ten in the world because they won’t fight him, so in order to keep him busy we’re just picking opponents and some of these opponents are going the distance with all of these guys. He’s stepping up and making a statement to all of them.”

On working with Guillermo Rigondeaux and his upcoming fight against Willie Casey on March 19:

“Well you know I still haven’t seen a tape of Willie Casey yet. They got them coming to me in the mail pretty soon. As a matter of fact, Guillermo right now is in Ireland for a press conference. He’ll be back Thursday or Friday and we’ll be back in training. Look, this kid probably is one of the most decorated amateurs ever with two Gold Medals that he won in the Olympics. I tell him like everyone tells him, ‘Look, this is not the amateurs anymore. This is the pros’. So he said, ‘Look I’m 30 years old, put me in with anybody in the world’. That’s why he fought for the WBA interim title in his seventh fight. Now he’s going to Ireland and fighting Willie Casey, a guy that’s similar to him as far not a whole lot of fights but has won a championship over in Europe. So he wants to test his skills against Guillermo. I know he’s a southpaw just like Guillermo, and also he’s supposed to be this big strong guy that knocks everybody out and puts pressure on people. So I’m going to sit down and watch the tape and come up with a game plan. I’m sure of one thing, Guillermo Rigondeaux is going to knock this guy out.”

His views on a potential fight between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao following Bradley’s victory over Devon Alexander:

“Never, I don’t think so. I don’t think it would draw any interest, I really don’t. Timothy Bradley is a great young man, and a really, really good kid, but in a style match-up Pacquiao would eat him alive. Pacquiao is just too fast and too strong for him. Maybe five years ago it would have been a good fight, but not now. I just don’t see it right now.”

His views on Pacquiao’s upcoming fight against Shane Mosley:

“Actually, I think that’s a good match-up. I really do. Styles make fights. Shane didn’t look the best against Mayweather because Mayweather is a counterpuncher. Shane needs somebody that’s going to throw punches back at him in order for him to make his style work. And you know what? Pacquiao throws a lot of punches so that’s going to play into Shane Mosley’s hands. Look, I don’t think it’s going to be a total wipeout like a lot of people are thinking. I do think Pacquiao is going to win the fight but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as a lot of people think.”

His views on Evander Holyfield’s last bout and the fact that he continues fighting at age 48:

“Well I didn’t see the fight. I refused to buy it. I was tempted, but I just didn’t. Evander’s going to go down as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time in boxing. My last fight with him was when Evander fought Ibragimov and in that fight I saw that he couldn’t do it anymore. He couldn’t pull the trigger. He had no problems going the distance with anybody, but he just couldn’t pull the trigger in that fight. So after that fight I told him that was it for me that I thought he should retire, and if he didn’t then I was bowing out. He understood my position about that. We’re still friends today. I talked to him right before his last fight, but he said he wanted to continue. I have no reservations about him continuing or not. I just told him my thoughts and he appreciated my comments. Like I said, we still talk all the time. From what I hear he didn’t look good at all in the fight. People were telling me he got hurt in the third round right after the headbutt and he said he couldn’t see. I don’t know. Evander’s always been a warrior, but I think his warrior days are over. I think he needs to give it up. It’s as simple as that. He’s going to continue to fight until I believe he will get hurt, and I think that’s going to be a sad day. But as long as these boxing commissions give him a license, you can’t stop him. Some people don’t know when it’s time to say enough is enough. When I look at Roy Jones it’s the same thing. As long as they keep giving them licenses their both going to continue to go. I look at Bernard Hopkions and although he had a great fight with Pascal, you know what? It’s the same thing. There is always somebody out there that they can beat. Like he’s fight Brian Nielson next, Holyfield. More than likely he is going to beat an older guy like a Brian Nielson. So in his mind he’s going to be like, ‘I won again so now I can get another fight’. If that keeps happening, he’s going to keep fighting until he meets one of these young guys that’s bigger, stronger, faster, and is going to really hurt him, a guy that doesn’t care that he’s Evander Holyfield. I’m just sorry that he’s going to meet one of these killers out there that’s going to really, really try to make a name for himself and he’s going to get hurt. As his friend I tried. I tried my best to tell him that he should quit, but he’s a grown man and that’s something that I or no one else can tell him.”

His views on Tomasz Adamek’s chances against Wladimir Klitschko:

“Well you know what? I really like Tomasz, and Tomasz is a really, really great guy but I just don’t see him winning this fight, and the reason I don’t is because Wladimir has a great jab and he has punching power to go with that. Wladimir doesn’t have the best chin in boxing, but the thing about it is he’s good enough to where Tomasz will never be able to touch him. This guy’s not afraid to throw punches and he’s really hard to hit. You really have to have that style. You can’t have a running style to beat this guy. You have to be aggressive with him and Tomasz doesn’t have the power to be aggressive with him. Right now, I think he needs to fight other guys. I know he’s fighting Kevin McBride in his next fight. Kevin McBride, I trained him for a little bit way back when he first started fighting. He couldn’t fight then and he can’t fight now, so he’ll get by McBride but he may get stopped by a Klitschko.”

On other fighters he’s currently working about that he wanted to fill the fans in on:

“I have some really, really god young exciting fighters coming up. I have a couple of twins that I’m working with, Jermell and Jermall Charlo. Jermell is 14-0 with 9 knockouts and Jermall is 7-0 with 4 knockouts. Be on the lookout for these guys. They’re twins. They’re 154 pounds and they are going to make a statement within the next year or two.”

***




For those interested in listening to the Ronnie Shields interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and sixteen minutes into the program.

***

This article also appears on East Side Boxing

Contact the author at geoff@eatthemushroom.com .


About the author: Geoffrey Salvatore Ciani shall someday name his first-born son “Santino” because he fancies the name “Santino Ciani”.

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