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Remembering A Legend, R.I.P. Nazim Richardson

This year sucks. Yeah, I said it 2020 sucks.

Another gut-punch hit us today as Brother Nazim Richardson, one of the pillars of the Philadelphia boxing community as the man who first took his son’s, Rock and Tiger Allen, to the Happy Hollow Recreation Gym in Germantown, Richardson was a true boxing lifer.

A man, who had the sadly common story of most people involved in boxing, not fitting into societies norms and feeling like a social outcasts, to a degree as Richardson left home at 14-years-old, and sadly finding trouble along the way. The North Philly native, nearly was engulfed by the streets, but then would later go on to be the head man in charge of the Concrete Boxing Gym, which one might assume is an homage to his origins.

Richardson first came on my radar as the chief second to Bouie Fisher, Bernard Hopkins’ original trainer, as Hopkins was a middleweight knockout artist, so fearsome he was nicknamed “The Executioner” since he started fast in his bout, often would stop his foes, something younger fans might not believe when watching Bernard Hopkins fights. I first took notice when Richardson was in the background yelling “…it’s executioner time” at the top of his lungs as Hopkins dawned an executioner mask as Hopkins entered the arena playing up the theatrics.

Richardson would be with Hopkins all the way up until the Hopkins fought Joe Smith Jr., in which John David Jackson took over duties for Hopkins. Hopkins long considered one of the most technical fighters, was trained by Richardson in large part, and Richardson was one of the best corner soundbytes, as when Hopkins fought Cloud on HBO he famously said “…wipe his nose with a Joe Frazier left hook.” In short, Richardson spoke boxing, lived boxing, and mainly knew boxing.

Amongst his time training Hopkins the pair pulled off upset wins against Jean Pascal, Kelly Pavlik and Antonio Tarver, defeating father time in the process as well.

Richardson was also known for catching Antonio Margarito putting plaster in his wraps prior to his fight with Shane Mosley. Mosley would then go to brutally stop Margarito, this incident, put a major red-flag over and around Margarito’s career as Margarito’s power was never the same after this incident making some question the validity and honesty of his legacy.

Richardson trained Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Karl Dargan (who was Richardson’s nephew), Steve Cunningham and was brought on as an advisor for Sergio Martinez when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Richardson will long be thought of as a teacher of boxing, beyond on that one of the best storytellers of boxing.

To me he once confided a great story on power. I will parapharse it, but it stuck with me, and was powerful. Richardson told me, power wasn’t much in boxing. Richardson further, though not in these exact words, that a gorilla is in a cage at zoo, and a big old fat out of shape guy who isn’t nearly as strong as him has the key to the door for him to get out. The story ended where it started, power isn’t everything.

It always stuck with me since it was an NPR quality story, but true. Not unlike music, the thing that draws you in, might not be the thing to study for pure mastery.

Nazim Richardson is a legend, and one who will be missed

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle