Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bernard's Discipline

Mackie Shilstone Rafael
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Famed fitness guru

If there is one man with insight into what makes both Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. tick as the days count down to their rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night (PPV, 9 ET, $49.95), it is famed sports performance management specialist Mackie Shilstone.
The New Orleans fitness guru has worked with a who's who of professional and amateur athletes, including,
recently, tennis star Serena Williams. In boxing circles, Shilstone made his name in 1985, when he engineered
light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks' move up to heavyweight, where he dethroned Larry Holmes to win the title in an upset. Spinks was the first light heavyweight champion to conquer the heavyweight division, and
Shilstone was a huge part of the reason Spinks was able to do it.
In 2003, Jones, then the light heavyweight champ, attempted to do the same thing by challenging John Ruiz for a heavyweight belt (although, granted, Ruiz is no Holmes). Jones won a clear unanimous decision. And who was the man responsible for molding Jones' body from a light heavyweight into a heavyweight? Shilstone.

"I've got to be honest: When I looked at the tapes, I said, 'How am I gonna beat [Ruiz]? How am I going to do this?'" Jones said. "Then I met Mackie Shilstone [and] he motivated me to train at another level."

When former middleweight champ Hopkins, at age 41, made the move up two divisions to light heavyweight to challenge champion Antonio Tarver in 2006, he pulled the upset by winning a lopsided decision. Bet you can
guess who was in the Hopkins camp turning him from a 160-pounder into a rock-solid 175-pounder. Yup, it was Shilstone.
"He gets in your head, he runs with you, he trains with you, he pushes you," Hopkins said after beating
Tarver. "A lot of fighters don't know the benefits of his [regimen] because we are told that the traditional
way is the only way -- anything else is taboo. Can you imagine how dangerous I would have been had I had
Mackie five years ago?"

So what's Shilstone's take on the Jones-Hopkins rematch, which comes 17 years after Jones outpointed Hopkins to win a vacant middleweight belt seemingly a lifetime ago?

"I know them better than anyone," Shilstone said. "I know what's inside them because when you see the
entourages go and it's just me and them training, I'm left with the human strengths, the human frailties.
Whether it be Roy or Bernard, I know what their psyche is, I monitor their heart rate, I'm the only person in
the world that's seen six weeks of beat by beat by beat of every beat of the heart. I've seen it go up, I've
seen it go down. I know what makes it go up emotionally, I know what makes it go down, and the world has never seen this.

"As the only person who has worked one-on-one with both Bernard and Roy, I truly appreciate the talents and dedication that each boxer brings to this event. It is almost as if Superman and Batman were to decide to
fight each other to see who is truly the greatest superhero. … Since both boxers are like family to me, I
cannot watch the fight. I know both men inside-out and know what each is capable of doing, especially after
working with me."

OK, so he's not going to watch, but since he knows them so well, who does Shilstone think will win?

"The world will tremble under the force of these two great champions. Age and won-loss records will be
meaningless gauges of the intensity of this encounter," Shilstone said. "The ring may not be big enough."