Former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, Winky Wright (in camp with Dawson). teainer John Scully and promoter Gary Shaw sopke to the press during a conference call this week about Dawson’s PPV world title challenge against 46-year-old WBC champion Bernard Hopkins on October 15th in Los Angeles.
Here is a transcript:
Gary Shaw: The open workout was canceled by me because HBO did not communicate with us and let us know that Sergio Martinez was also holding an open workout yesterday in New York City. I felt that it was wrong for us to go against another fighter and Lou DiBella-who’s a friend of mine-and to have two open workouts on the same day. So just for clarification sake, that was done by myself. I’d like to turn to John Scully who is the head trainer for the fight on October 15th. I’d like him just to say a couple of words.
John Scully: What can I say? We’re here. We’re training hard, and Chad’s looking spectacular, and we’re fully expecting to win this fight.
Gary Shaw: Okay. Thank you. We also have Winky Wright in camp with Chad. Winky? You want to say a couple of words to the press.
Winky Wright: I’m happy to be here. I feel that Chad, he’s ready mentally as much as physically and we can’t wait for the fight.
Chad Dawson: I’m excited about the fight. As you all know, the fight went for years, and then we finally got it. I’m happy to be back with my former trainer, John Scully. I have my strength and conditioning trainer here, Axel Murillo. And Winky Wright’s on board as far as advising me and letting me know what needs to be done for this fight. So everything’s great and I continue to feel good. And I’m just excited and ready to claim my titles on October 15th.
Gary Shaw: Thank you, Chad. The other person that Chad talked about was Axel Murillo, who’s part of the team. And he’s the strength and conditioning coach out of Louisiana who’s been with Chad before in other fights. John Scully, as Chad said, has been with Chad early on in his career. He’s no stranger to Chad, nor is Chad a stranger to John. We thought about bringing Winky in. I have the greatest respect for Winky. I worked with Winky during my career, and I know how astute he is at watching a fight and helping a fighter and understanding what a fighter needs to win. So we brought Winky in, and I’m happy that Winky agreed to come in. So I’d like to turn it over now to the press to ask their questions, and I thank you all again for being on the call.
Chad, can you just talk about the decision to bring John on as the trainer? Why are you doing that?
Chad Dawson: My last fight I was with Emanual Steward. Emanual Steward’s a great trainer. I have nothing but respect for him. But I felt like in order for me to win this fight, I have to be the old me. I have to be that Chad Dawson that everybody used to see, the Chad Dawson I was early in my career a few years ago. So I made the decision to reconnect with John Scully, and to me, it was a great move. And I think it’s just what I needed.
Gary Shaw: Just as information, they are training in the Poconos at a training camp, and they have either three or four sparring partners in camp with them.
Chad Dawson: Good sparring partners too. Great sparring partners.
John, congratulations on being back with Chad. Can you, first of all, address which fights were you with Chad on? And also, why did you guys originally separate?
John Scully: I was with him when he fought Darnell Wilson, Carl Daniels, and Efrain Garcia. And actually, when we separated connections back then, it was more because of his situation with his promoter. It actually had nothing to do with us personally. We were training at a place in Connecticut, but his manager at the time-who he was in the process of separating from-paid the rent at the gym, and Chad used to stay at his house. So because he was parting ways with them, it left no place for us to work out together.
Can you talk about the reunion with him and how it is to be back with him? Has he changed? Is he better? How’s that going?
John Scully: Well obviously as a fighter, he’s better, he’s stronger. He’s a grown man now; he’s much more mature. But actually-and I’ve told several people this already-the first day that we worked together, I was curious to see how it would be in terms of me relating to him and him relating to me considering all the success he’s had since we last worked with each other. And literally from the first ten seconds of the first round on the pads, it felt exactly as it did back then. He’s very, very coachable. And it his credit, despite all the success he’s had and being near the top of the pound-for-pound list, he’s still very open to learning new things and trying new things. So it literally feels like we didn’t miss a beat in all those years.
Gary Shaw: Before you ask-I could tell you, with the team that’s in the camp, and Herman Woodard as advisor-I was up at the camp yesterday-I’ve never seen Chad in a better mood. I’ve never seen him happier. And I’ve never seen him sharper. I have to believe that this is the best training camp that he’s had, and he seems to be very comfortable with everybody in it.
By the way, Emanual Steward said that this was a great move by Chad that he went with you, but he did express some concerns about establishing a camp so late before the fight. And Chad, I wanted you, if you could address any of those concerns. Did things just pick up where they left off? Anybody who would say that this is kind of late in the game to switch trainers, how would you respond?
Chad Dawson: It’s never too late. Like Scully said, I’m open to learning. And one thing about me, I love to learn. I feel like if I’m not learning anything from a trainer, I feel like it’s time for me to go. So not knocking any of my past trainers or anything like that, but working with Scully-just thinking about working with Scully back in the day, that’s when I was the happiest. I was learning. I was stopping guys. I was knocking guys out. So I felt like in order for me to be myself again and go back to knocking guys out and showing guys what I’m made of, I had to go back to my old roots, and that was John Scully. And since we’ve been in camp, I’ve learned so much, and I’ve picked up so much. Like he said, it’s like we picked up right where we left off. And if you ask me, I regret ever parting with Scully. I regretted that for a long time. I got a chance to work with some great trainers, Floyd Sr, and Eddie Mustafa Mohammed and other guys like that. But this is where I feel more comfortable. I feel more comfortable with Scully.
Okay, Chad. And the last question is, can you-we wrote that you wanted to be closer to your family for this fight. Can you explain specifically? Was there a newborn? And how important was it for you to be home?
Chad Dawson: First and foremost, I did have a newborn, but I never ever stated or made any kind of comment that I wanted to stay close to home with the training camp. I never made that. When it was time for me to get into training camp, I was here in training camp. We’ve been up in the Poconos about five weeks now, and actually, me and Scully started working together while I was at home. So altogether, we’ve got about six weeks in already. We’ve got about six weeks of training in. It never had anything to do with me wanting to be closer to my family, with the kids every morning, but that’s not the case. I’m here to do a job. This is my life. And in order for my family to eat, this is what I’ve got to do. So I’m sacrificing. This is what I’ve e got to do.
Gary Shaw: That’s a total misconception. He never said he wanted to be home and train. That was never a discussion. The only discussion between myself and Herman Woodard and Chad was where we were going to set up a training camp. Once it was established that it was going to be in the Poconos, there was never a change. Chad has never left one day to go home. He hasn’t commuted. He’s been in that camp. So whoever spread that, that is totally, 100% wrong.
So basically, he wanted to go to the Poconos, and Emanuel didn’t want to travel there?
Gary Shaw: That’s correct. Emanuel didn’t want to come to the Poconos, and Chad did not want to go to Detroit. That’s the story. And the most important thing is that the fighter feels comfortable.
You said you wanted to become the old Chad Dawson. Can you kind of explain what you had become from the old Chad Dawson to the new Chad Dawson? You did explain that you wanted to be the old Chad Dawson who was knocking people out and stuff like that. But tell me what the other Chad Dawson had become?
Chad Dawson: A bored fighter.
A bored fighter?
Chad Dawson: I became bored. I got bored. I lost to Pascal, and that’s a fight I should have never lost. I felt like if I had Scully in my corner for that fight, that wouldn’t have happened. Just going back to recent fights, my performance, I feel like I started to slouch a little bit, get lazy. I think Scully is that trainer that has what it takes to bring the best out of me. And again, that’s why I’m back with Scully. I don’t care what the critics say. People say that I use trainers; I switch trainers from here to there. But at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for my career. And I’m doing what I’ve got to do for my career and for my family, and that’s me being back with John Scully. And on October 15th, people will get to see what I’m talking about. They’ll get to see the hungry Chad Dawson. You’ll see the fire in my eyes. You’ll see that I’m back, and I’m on top of my game.
Do you feel like your career has gone the way you wanted it to, or did you feel that it got derailed a little bit and got off track?
Chad Dawson: I wouldn’t say derailed, because things happen for a reason. And like I said, the Pascal fight I felt-I know deep down, I was on my way to a knockout victory before what happened. But at the end of the day, I think it was a blessing in disguise because I took my first loss. I took it like a man. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. And I just got another chance to show the world that I’m the best. And I got the fight I always wanted, and that’s the fight with Bernard Hopkins.
This question is directed first of all to Chad, and then also I wanted to ask a question of Winky Wright. But first to you Chad, you’re fighting a legend in Bernard Hopkins, a guy that knows a lot about boxing and is comfortable in the ring. How do you plan to solve his knowledge, to get past his acumen as a very experienced boxer?
Chad Dawson: Be younger, be stronger, be faster, use my legs. I have the better legs. I have the better all- around game, I think. Even with his experience, I’ve been in the ring with guys with experience. They said the same thing when I fought Tarver, “He has so much experience,” and I proved them wrong. So this is another opportunity for me to prove the critics, prove Bernard wrong, and just to shut everybody up and show everybody that I’m still the best light heavyweight in the world. And I’m not looking past Bernard. I know he’s a great fighter, and I know what he’s capable of in the ring. We got Winky Wright here, who’s been in the ring with Bernard. He knows all the dirty tricks, everything he’s going to try to pull, and he’s advising me on all of those things. And he’s keeping me aware and keeping me alert. So on that night, like I said, I just go to be the younger fighter and be the smart fighter that I am. Like back in the day with me and Scully, he used to always tell me that, “You got to be a master boxer.” And on October 15th, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be a master boxer. I’m going to perform.
At the same time, how can you avoid relaxing knowing that this guy is 45 years old, probably almost old enough to be your father. How can you relax and say, “I’m physically stronger. I’m faster,” and how can you avoid that?
Chad Dawson: Like I said, I’m here to prove everybody wrong. The critics have been doubting me for years. They’ve been throwing me off saying I’m not worthy of this, or I’m not worthy of that. But on October 15th, I will prove to everybody that I’m the best light heavyweight in the world still. And Bernard can’t touch me. He won’t touch me, and I’m going to prove that.
This question is for Winky Wright. Winky, what do you bring to the camp as a fighter?
Winky Wright: Well first of all, I’m just ecstatic that Gary and the team wanted to have me here. I just think that Chad is a very good fighter, a very good boxer. He’s tougher than a lot of people give him credit for. People want to doubt him like he’s a quitter, and I’ve never seen him quit in a fight. I’ve always seen him have a good heart, and he’s a tough kid. And I just came here to try to help him, to instill him to fight his fight-don’t let Bernard drag him into the dirty tactics and the different things.
Chad is a great boxer-quick hands, quick feet, youth. And Bernard is a very crafty, smart fighter, and people want to make it seem like he’s this great magician. He’s not. He’s just a hard worker, and he tries to get in your head and outsmart you.
I wondered, could you assess your performance-how you thought you did against Diaconu, because you were coming off of a pretty long layoff? You had changed trainers to Emanual at that point. And you won, basically, every round. But how did you feel in that fight, and think that you looked, going back to look at the fight afterwards?
Chad Dawson: If you ask me to grade myself, I would’ve given myself a C+, C-. Like you said, I came from a long layoff. It was a fight that I really didn’t want to take because I didn’t want to go back to Canada and get robbed again. Not that I got robbed in the Pascal fight, but I didn’t want to go back to Canada and have it be a situation where another head butt occurred and they went to the scorecard or anything like that. But I did take the fight, and I was only 70% in there. I wasn’t in great shape. I took the fight four weeks, and we started getting to work four weeks before the fight. So I won that fight just off of doing strength and conditioning work.
Diaconu is a great fighter. I think I proved to the world that I still can go out and outbox the best of them. Diaconu, everybody talked about his great amateur background and knockouts and how strong he is, but that night I neutralized all that.
When that fight was over with Diaconu, did you get a chance to either in your dressing room on the monitor, or did you come back to ringside, and did you watch and observe the Pascal-Hopkins fight? And if so, what were your impressions of that fight, the way Bernard fought.
Chad Dawson: He fought into my fight. He picked his punches. He fought in spurts. It wasn’t an exciting fight. I felt like if Pascal didn’t get sucked into all the mind games that Bernard played and things like that, then he would’ve fought a better fight. But Bernard, he’s a master at that. He talked him out of his game plan. And everybody knows Pascal’s only a four-round fighter. He’s done after four rounds. So Bernard seen that when I first fought Pascal. So I thought it was a slow-paced fight. Neither of them threw a lot of punches, so that’s where I think this fight right here is going to play a big part for me is the punch output. I’ve got to try to throw at least 1000 punches that fight. We want at least 1000 punches, so that’s what we’re working on right now.
Did you watch that at ringside?
Chad Dawson: I watched a little bit of it. I think I saw two rounds at the ringside with Larry Merchant and Emanual Steward, so I got to see glimpses of it. So like I said-
But was the rest of it in the dressing room that you watched it?
Chad Dawson: Yeah, I watched the rest of it the dressing room. But like I said, it wasn’t an exciting fight.
Okay. Now with that victory, Bernard became at age 46 the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title. And I know that you’re very confident in the fight that you have coming up with Bernard, but what kind of respect do you give Bernard for what he has accomplished at his age-to not only become a champion, but to beat the guy who beat you?
Chad Dawson: I give him all the respect in the world. Like I said, I grew up watching Bernard Hopkins fight. I was always a fan of Bernard Hopkins. He’s a great fighter, and I think he inspired a lot of older fighters that want to keep fighting past their prime too. So now you’re starting to hear about 40-year-old guys, 42-year-old guys coming out and fighting young guys now. So I think he might have made boxing better in that aspect. Like I said, he’s a great fighter; I take nothing away from him. But I’m looking forward to beating him on October 15th, and doing the first fighter to … the old men.
One more thing for you then about that. Is it understandable to you why somebody would look at the matchup and say, “Well, Chad Dawson fought Pascal and lost to him. And then Pascal fought Bernard Hopkins twice-once with a draw,” I know a lot of people thought Bernard won, “And then another one was a victory for Hopkins, so therefore, Bernard of course will beat the guy that lost to Pascal?” Even though it doesn’t always work like that, but do you understand why that would make you, perhaps, the underdog in the fight?
Chad Dawson: Yes, I understand that very, very much so. Like … fight. I’m pretty sure everybody saw the first Pascal fight with me, and they thought I was on my way to knock Pascal out. He wouldn’t have made it out of the 11th round if the head butt hadn’t happened. But like I said, people can think what they want, but on October 15th, I’m telling you, there’s no way that Bernard Hopkins is going to beat me. No way. And I’m telling you this because I know so. I’ve got Scully here, and I’ve got my strength and conditioning trainer, Winky Wright’s on board. Just hearing the things-like after we train every day, we all sit down, we talk, and they tell me what they like, what they don’t like, and we go back and we work on those things. All my weaknesses, we’re working on those right now. All my strengths, they’re good, but my weaknesses are what’s going to come into play this fight. And that’s being more active, and that’s putting out a great punch output. And like I said, we want to throw at least 1000 punches, 12 punches this fight.
You’ve been emphasizing earlier that you said you got bored from some of your fights and some of your training and that you want to be more active, and you want to go back to being more of a knockout puncher, as you were earlier in your career. Does that mean that in this fight, you’re going to try early on to take the fight to Bernard Hopkins and come out very aggressively?
Chad Dawson: No, I’m not emphasizing that. I’m just emphasizing the fact that I just want to go out-I want to be the boxer that I am. At the same time, we’ve been working hard in the gym, and great sparring partners. I’m not the biggest puncher in boxing. I’m not a knockout artist or nothing like that, but I feel like I have the strength, and I can hurt Bernard. And Pascal hurt him, twice had him down, three times. I think it’s great for me. I think I could get him out of there. I’m saying I don’t go in there looking for the knockout, but it can happen.
What do you see as his weaknesses, especially at this age? We all know how crafty a fighter that he is, but do you think that he’s still capable of fighting three minutes, a full three minutes of every round?
Chad Dawson: No. We know Bernard-one thing about John Scully, he’s a boxing fanatic. He knows every fighter. He knows their strengths. He knows their weaknesses. And come October 15th, we’re going to know everything. We already know everything about him. We know that he’s not going to throw a lot of punches, maybe 20 punches a round, 30 punches a round. And our main objective is to just if he throws 30, we want to throw 80 or 90. So that’s what we’re going to do.
And also, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of fights recently where there’s very controversial officiating that has gone on, and situations that get a little sticky-like the Mayweather-Ortiz fight and the …-Morris fight and a lot of other fights on that. How do you view that as a fighter, knowing you’re going to be in the ring in a major fight against a veteran guy like Hopkins, and something could happen and everybody could see something happened, and maybe the official won’t react to it?
Chad Dawson: It’s not my job to worry about that right now. I’m just worried about going out there and doing my job. Hopefully, the officiating will be great, hopefully. If not, I’ve got to take it into my own hands. I can’t cry to the refs. That’s what happens a lot. Ortiz was looking at the referee crying. And you can’t look at the ref; you got to worry about the guy in front of you. And that’s what I’m going to be doing.
I’m going to worry about Bernard. I’m not worried about the officiating. When we go to the scorecards, hopefully the officiating will see the right scores, and hopefully they’ll score the right rounds. And hopefully they won’t be liars or-how should I say-a Bernard Hopkins fan. Hopefully they’re neutral. Like I said, at the end of the day, I’m just going out to fight. I’m doing my job.
Last thing, do you have a prediction for the fight?
Chad Dawson: No, I don’t have a prediction. I don’t do predictions, but Chad Dawson-12-round unanimous decision.
I wanted to ask Winky, as somebody who has been in the ring with Bernard, I have a theory that Bernard seems to with the way he goes about his business, and not a big punch output. But with all these twists and turns and all the tricks and everything that he does that he kind of lulls his opponents to sleep in a sense, and maybe gets them out of their rhythm of what they want to do. I think that’s his plan. As somebody who has been in there with him, do you agree with that? And how do you talk to Chad about something like that so he doesn’t fall into that same trap.
Winky Wright: I definitely agree with that. And you know, I spoke with Chad about that. You can’t let somebody lure you into their game plan. Fight your fight, and don’t let Bernard try to slow the tempo down to his speed, and then he’ll try to shoot a lot of punches, then slow you back down. So he’s definitely good at that.
But like Chad said, we can’t go in this fight just thinking all about what Bernard’s going to do. We’ve got to go think about what we’re coming to do. And what we’re coming to do is establish that Chad Dawson is a great heavyweight, and he’s got speed, power, quickness, movement. So that’s what we’re coming to do.
We’re coming to show what Chad can do. And Bernard’s going to have to try to defend what we’re going to do. And then once he tries to defend what we’re going to do, then we can counter off of that because we’ve got the ability to do different things, not just box or dance around. But we can also fight inside. We also can slug. So whatever it takes to win, that’s what we’re coming to do.
What’s a typical day of training like for you?
Chad Dawson: Well …. We’re up at seven in the morning doing our running work, usually about four or five miles, resting until about two or three o’clock, and then we’re in the gym doing our sparring, bag work, strength condition work. So we’re getting great work out here, and we’ve got great sparring partners. ….
Winky, when you fought Bernard, do you think there would have been a different outcome if you wouldn’t have suffered that cut? How do you think that fight would have ended up?
Winky Wright: I definitely think it would have been a different fight. Like I said, I take nothing away from Bernard; you fight different people differently. And after my fight, he came back, and he’s been looking very good in his fights. But if I definitely wouldn’t have gotten that cut, I definitely think it would have been a different outcome. I still to this day think I beat him, but it is what it is. It ain’t the first time I got a bad decision, and it won’t be the last. So I take my hat off to Bernard for keeping his career moving and looking impressive while he’s doing it.