Q&A: Roger Bloodworth

Photo: Mike Glabisz
Photo: Mike Glabisz

By Przemek Garczarczyk

Roger Bloodworth, the man who stood in Andrew Golota corner when the Polish heavyweight lost inexplicably to Riddick Bowe and Michael Grant must love Poles. Just the day after Christmas, he joined the team of another Polish fighter but this time the one with completely different resume–former WBC light heavyweight champion, and current “Ring Magazine” cruiserweight champion with a big appetite for a heavyweight crown–32-year old Tomasz Adamek. This is what the one of the most respected man in business had to say about this decision.

You had just one training session with Adamek. First impression?

Faster than I thought, and stronger. I knew he loved to hit people with combinations and thinks in the ring – you could see this even before we had a 2 hour session at Zyggi Rozalski, his manager’s gym in Jersey City. I was following his career from the day one, the moment Adamek start fighting in the States. There’s no trainer in the world that would not like to work with the guy that’s so cerebral in the ring and knows his basics so well. Having balls of steel and a granite chin helps too.

Were there any problems with communication like a language barrier?

None at all–he just asks me if something is not clear enough. There’s 1,000 ways of explaining things and of course boxing language is a very universal one. He speaks English a lot better than he wants you to believe. Anyway, the idea is to understand each other without even talking. We will get there in couple of weeks.

You followed his career from the beginning. Could you remember one fight when you thought: it will be nice to be in this guy’s corner?

I will surprise you–the one when he lost to Chad Dawson. Nothing went his way. I did not know then about his health problems, but he was still trying to win, he was sticking to the plan. Most of the fighters would just quit, spend the last couple of rounds thinking about the coming paycheck. Not him though! Adamek put Chad on his ass, and won the last three rounds. It just shows the character of the guy. It was his best fight.

As a heavyweight, people are saying that he has not enough power and because of his offensive style, gets hit too much. Will you start working on that?

We’ve already started. He wants to go forward, pressure the guy on the side – I would be stupid trying to change that, because this is what he wants. It will not be a tough job to change a little bit in his defensive stance, because he is very perceptive in the ring, catches suggestions very quickly. I love generals in the ring, not a grunt charging blindly into fire. His power? We did some pads, and just let me tell you, from the guy who has worked with David Tua – he’s got enough to put heavies down. And it makes no difference if you knock somebody with one punch or two to three punches. Down is down. Boxers who count on one punch, just wait for it, are easy to prepare for. He is not. Evander Holyfield made a career of that.

You worked with a gallery of great boxers: Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Fernando Vargas, Joel Casamayor, Jeff Lacy and lately David Tua. Which experiences do you want to use most with Adamek?

Evander hit you so many times; you wanted just go home and cry. Adamek maybe hits even harder and he could beat this type of fighter. I always believed that you are great when your basics are great. Jabs, combinations, footwork, thinking and analyzing what’s going on in the ring–this is how you become a champion.

Did you see the Golota-Adamek fight?

Yes, on the internet. I felt bad for Andrew, who I still consider one of my buddies, we stay in contact. Fight was over in the first round when Adamek got him with his very quick right. Afterward Andrew was only reacting to what Adamek wanted to do. He was quicker and more precise.

There’s an opinion that you cannot find more different fighters from the same country than Adamek and Golota.

I’m not sure about this but I know what you asking–the mental side of them. Nobody knows what went in Andrew’s head when he was losing his first fight to Riddick Bowe or even more inexplicably Michael Grant fight. Certainly I don’t. In the ring you are who you are in real life, you cannot just transform yourself to a different person. He had all of the tools to be the best: size, skills, technique, you name it. I was in Madison Square Garden when they robbed him declaring a draw with Chris Byrd, and then when he fought John Ruiz. He should be a world champion.

Will Adamek get the title?

Why not? Just one heavyweight fight behind him, two or three more and he will be ready. First we have to beat Jason Estrada on February 6 at the Prudential Center. Jason is an un-orthodox fighter in this division, keeps you busy every second of every round. You have to take initiative from him as quickly as possible. I heard also about possible Chris Arreola fight later next year. Good choice for many reasons. He is maybe better than top five, so you know that when you beat him, the next one is for title. Second he was exposed in Klitschko fight as a man without the plan, very predictable fighter. This will not work versus Adamek.

What about David Tua and your commitment to him?

They will not fight; they are on a completely different path when it comes to getting the heavyweight title. David Tua’s time is right now, Adamek still has some time to develop. We have so many title –everybody could be happy. There will be no conflict of interest here.

You will work with Tomasz Adamek’s first trainer Andrzej Gmitruk. Any thoughts?

I don’t see any problems. Not for me, anyway. Adamek is in a crucial stage of his career, needs a team around him that’s completely devoted to him. In boxing there’s no place for personal splendors, fighter will and always should be first. They are getting hit. We are only watching.

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