Talkin’ Boxing with Roger Bloodworth
The veteran trainer Roger Bloodworth shares insights about working with two top ten heavyweight contenders David Tua and Tomasz Adamek, and some Golota memories…
BoxingInsider: Michael Grant’s trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad sounds very confident in his interviews that his man is big enough and desperate enough to salvage his career with an upset win over Adamek. Did the confidence of Muhammad concern you?
Roger Bloodworth: “He is a threat. Eddie’s Mustafa Muhammad has been around a long time, he knows the game and I fully expect him to come to the fight and give a great effort.”
BoxingInsider: How will Tomasz defeat Grant?
Roger Bloodworth: “By hitting him [smiles].”
BoxingInsider: You don’t see Tomasz being troubled by the height and reach of Grant?
Roger Bloodworth: “Well, that’s one of the reasons why we’re fighting him – to see if he does. Tomasz is a few fights away. I want to see how he works with an extremely tall guy, because the champions are extremely tall. If he fights one, this will be a great experience for him. It’s a learning step for him. I know Grant is gonna come in desperate and he’s a big guy. He’s dangerous, he can hit you and he can hurt you.”
BoxingInsider: Since starting working with Tomasz what has surprised you about him?
Roger Bloodworth: “I knew his work ethic was very good. I guess maybe his intelligence is the most surprising thing. Not that fighters aren’t intelligent – some are more intelligent. He learns very quickly. And he’s adapting really well. When you tell him something, he goes away and thinks about it, he comes back – he might do it in his own style – but he’s learning very quickly. This is an
BoxingInsider: How good is Tomasz Adamek to another guy you worked with – Andrew Golota? Is he that close to winning a world title – or is he even better?
Roger Bloodworth: “In some respects, he’s better. I think he might be a little tougher mentally. But he’s not as big. But on the other hand, he’s much quicker. He’s very quick.”
BoxingInsider: Did you know beforehand that Tomasz would handle Chris Arreola as easily as he appeared to?
Roger Bloodworth: “I knew that if he stuck to the fight plan that he would have a real good chance of beating him. The thing about that fight that surprised me was that fact that Arreola came in good shape for himself. The fight before he was 265-270, so he lost 20-25 pounds. He was in good shape, he went the whole distance. I thought that he would probably get tired after 4-5 rounds but
he didn’t, he hung right in there. It was a good fight.”
BoxingInsider: Great fight. It was almost a perfect performance. Did you see that as possible, or was it better than expected?
Roger Bloodworth: “No, I knew he could put on that type of performance. The question is can you do in the ring what you do in the gym? And I think Tomasz is one of those guys that fights better than he trains. Some guys train better than they fight [smiles]. They look good in the gym but when they get in the ring, they don’t perform. But he performed.”
BoxingInsider: Is Golota one of those guys that performed better in the gym?
Roger Bloodworth: “No, not really. Andrew was a hard trainer. And he had some problems that really no one can explain.”
BoxingInsider: Do you think Wladimir Klitschko, in his current form, is an all time great?
Roger Bloodworth: “I don’t know if you can say he’s all time great. You might say in his time he’s a great champion. For his time, he’s the man.”
BoxingInsider: What do you think of the general opinion that this is a weak heavyweight era?
Roger Bloodworth: “I think the general consensus is it’s a weak era because nobody has solidified the belts. The Klitschkos happen to be very good for this time because they’re very big men. Ali, Foreman, Louis were great fighters. There might not be any Ali or Frazier’s around now, if they were around now I’m not so sure that they would fight ’em.”
BoxingInsider: Arreola, Adamek, Chambers, Tua – aren’t they comparable to Chuvalo, Shavers, Norton?
Roger Bloodworth: If you check Tua’s record, even though he had managerial problems and gaps in his career, settled the lawsuits, he came back and destroyed the #6 contender Shane Cameron. He can still punch with both hands. I think Tua has a good chance to beat either one of them. I think he’s a hard fight for them, they have to punch down at him. I think that’s one of the problems with this era – Ali and those guys all fought each other. Now it’s, I think the public has a general perception the Klitschkos are picking and choosing their fights, to perpetuate their tenure in office, if you want to put it that way.”
BoxingInsider: What does David have to do to beat Monte Barrett on July 17?
Roger Bloodworth: “It really depends on what Monte Barrett brings into the ring. Whether he’s going to run or if he’s going to fight. If he runs, David has to cut the ring off when needed. If he comes to fight, he has to fight. It really depends on what Monte brings to the ring. David is not unskilled himself.”
BoxingInsider: The performance by David vs. Ike Ibeabuchi was an incredible fight.
Roger Bloodworth: “And my opinion – I think he fights better now than he did then. At that time he depended mostly on his left hook. I thought he won that fight although he lost by split decision. I thought he pulled it out last couple rounds. He hurt Ibeabuchi but couldn’t put him down.”
BoxingInsider: Of all of David’s performances, what were his finest, best performances?
Roger Bloodworth: “When we came back after two years of no fights and destroyed the kid from New Zealand (Cameron). And then the fight afterwards (W12 Friday Ahunanya in March) – I wanted somebody that could take him the distance. So we got somebody that had never been knocked out. And he performed well, he didn’t get tired. There were no lapses. He hurt the guy with combinations of punches in the fourth round, after that the guy was in there to survive. But his greatest performance, you have to look at – everybody loves one punch knockouts, like John Ruiz. Ruiz came to fight – he got knocked out. Hasim Rahman came to fight – he got knocked out. There’s a whole lot of really exciting knockouts that he had. I guess you’d have to pick one of those. A lot of people aren’t aware of this but I don’t think he’s far away from the record for first round knockouts which I think is held by Mike Tyson right now. I think he’s pretty close. Will he make it, I don’t know. Because the competition is going to start getting tougher. We’re not going for that record – we’re going to get him in contention to fight.
BoxingInsider: Why do you think Andrew Golota was unable to fulfill his awesome potential? To become champion.
Roger Bloodworth: “I’m a boxing trainer, not a psychiatrist. I don’t feel qualified to answer that but there was something in his personality that allowed him to make mistakes at the wrong time.”
BoxingInsider: How good was he at his best?
Roger Bloodworth: “He was very good. Physically he was as good as any heavyweight at that time. But he would just have mental lapses. He would have guys beat and then he’d find a way to lose.”