I was able to get a hold of legendary Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward and he was very kind to answer a few questions for BadSportsNews about the upcoming fight between his fighter Andy Lee and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., here’s what we talked about:
Andres: How are things in training camp with Andy Lee for his fight against Chavez, Jr?
Emanuel: Things are going just great.
Andres: How long have you guys been in the gym for?
Emanuel: Well right now it’s a training camp but really Andy never leaves training, he’s always in the gym to stay busy and to stay in shape, he doesn’t go away when he doesn’t have a fight on schedule and comes back to train only when he’s scheduled to fight, he’s always in the gym.
Andres: Do you see any difference in Andy on this camp compared to his previous fights?
Emanuel: Yes of course, you know, this is for a championship, he’s training much harder, with much more tougher boxers around him, he has very tough fighters that are training him regularly, there’s Brian Vera who is from Texas, Donovan George from Chicago, Adonis Stevenson, and Edwin Rodriguez, so it’s a very very tough training camp. There’s just so much experience in this gym that Andy Lee can learn from, many great fighters train in this gym.
Andres: Seems to be any of those guys could be fighting for titles someday.
Emanuel: Yeah, definitely, and they will, this kind of training will help them get there, it’s a very tough training camp.
Andres: What would you say it’s Andy’s best weapon?
Emanuel: Well, you know, he’s got a very effective right hand, he fights left handed, he’s a true left handed fighter and he’s one of those fighters that punches very well with both hands, his one of the best left handed fighters that I’ve ever trained, plus he’s got that left uppercut, and a right uppercut to the chin, he throws a great right uppercut but that left uppercut to the body is very dangerous. He has a very strong straight left which we saw in his fight against McEwan, he punches very hard with both hands.
Andres: Which Chavez do you expect for this fight, the one that boxed Peter Manfredo or the charging one that fought Marco Antonio Rubio?
Emanuel: The charging one.
Andres: From what I have seen in the past, it seems to me that he slacks off in training, do you think he’s more focused this time? You know since Andy Lee is definitely the toughest fighter he’ll face to date.
Emanuel: Well you know, this time he’s not fighting a guy who’s under control, for example when he fought Rubio, that’s a guy who was hand picked, he was probably about to retire anyway so he didn’t really challenge Chavez at any point during the fight. This time he’s fighting a guy who is not under control and who’s coming to knock him out, we’re not going in there trying to get a decision, and not because is in Texas, but we’re going in there looking for the knockout. He’s fighting a guy who’s three inches taller than him which he’s not used to, plus he’s a southpaw. I mean, Andy Lee is training with a lot of experience around him, he’s fought very tough fighters and he’s got an extensive amateur career since he was 7 years old, he just has so much more experience. In his last amateur fight he beat a Cuban which is a lot, Cuba has great amateur fighters, so every since his amateur days Andy Lee has been facing very tough opposition.
Andres: Would you say Chavez is in a much tougher situation than Lee?
Emanuel: I would say so, yes, Lee has been in very tough situations before and has come out ahead, for example the McEwan fight, he was sick when he got the fight, he couldn’t really move in the ring but he was still able to put things together and win the fight.
Andres: Do you have any concerns about Chavez Jr?
Emanuel: Well yeah, you know, he’s a much more improved fighter, his ring skills have improved, his punching power, I think Top Rank has done a phenomenal job developing him, I mean for a guy that didn’t have any amateur experience.
Emanuel: Yes, I trained Chavez for three fights, the rematch against Frankie Randall, the rematch with Meldrick Taylor, and the fight against Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, and Chavez, Sr didn’t have any amateur experience either, but we all know he was something else, and I can honestly say that he is the most popular fighter that I have ever trained. I mean the way his fans loved him was just incredible, I went to train him in Mexico and he would take me with him to a lot of places and his popularity was just unreal, and he’s a great guy too.
Andres: Do you know what kind of drug testing will be administered to the fighters after the fight?
Emanuel: I don’t know what kind but I sure as hell hope there’s something, specially with those rumors that have been spread around about Chavez.
Andres: Do you have any suspicions at all about him (Chavez) taking banned substances?
Emanuel: Well, I’m not gonna say I think he’s taking stuff, but let’s be honest, in his last fight just the fact that he was caught driving drunk two weeks prior to the fight, I mean I had never seen that before in all of my years in boxing, and then to perform the way he did, I was very impressed with his performance in that fight.
Andres: What I’ve been hearing is that the winner of this fight will get a shot at Sergio Martinez, what do you think about that?
Emanuel: Well first of all, Martinez is not the champion, so I don’t know why people say that the winner of this fight gets a “shot” at Martinez.
Andres: It would be more of Martinez getting a shot at the winner of this fight.
Emanuel: Yes, that’s the correct way to put it, the winner of this fight is the champion and he who is champion decides where he goes from there, and if he decides to give Martinez a shot then so be it. Martinez is not who should be calling the shots, just look at the crowds in his fights, he’s not popular at all, he’s not a big draw, the times when Andy Lee has fought in the undercard of a Martinez fight most of the crowd there is carried by Andy. The winner of this fight will be the world champion and he decides where he goes from there.
Andres: Do you have any predictions on the outcome for this fight?
Emanuel: I predict a knockout win for Andy Lee, around the 8th or 9th round.
Andres: Is there anything that you would like to say to the fans?
Emanuel: To expect a great fight, because it will be, this is a fight between two young guys in their prime, there’s only one loss in both records combined, and that loss Andy Lee avenged against Brian Vera. Andy Lee is very determined to win this fight, he’s training very hard in a very tough training camp with a lot of experience around him, I’m expecting a very even crowd, all of the Chavez, Jr fights have been his show, it’s always his crowd, this time it will be different, there will be a lot of Irish fans coming to this fight to support Andy Lee and it will be a great event.
This was my interview with the great Emanuel Steward and I have to say it was an honor to speak to him, I want to thank him for the time he provided me and hopefully we can do this again.
This Exlclusive interview was bought to you By Andres Alvarado follow him on Twitter