Reopening the age-old question of what exactly happened to the “Shogun era,” Rua has enlisted Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach in preparation for his fight with little Nog and Roach didn’t have too many great things to say about Shogun’s boxing abilities. GracieMag has it:
“He didn’t know how to transfer his weight too well, and he wasn’t a very big puncher at first,” Roach said, reflecting on Rua’s first three sessions with him. “Once we got him pivoting and punching off the right foot, keeping his boxing stance, he punched really, really hard when he did it correctly.
“I don’t think he was ever taught how to do it correctly.”
It’s never a guarantee that “motivated Shogun” is going to show up for a fight, so I guess the least his team can do is work on his weaknesses. Shogun has been fighting for more than a decade now but he’s still only 31 and there’s certainly no reason he can’t improve, especially in the three months he has before he actually fights Nogueira.
Roach also plans to work with Shogun to improve his cardio issues but let it slip that a knee injury might be getting in the way of his camp:
“[Shogun] has a little problem with his knee,” Roach said. “I haven’t started working on his cardio yet, but he and my strength coach have gotten together … I think we have to take care of that first before we start getting into the cardio more.”
There’s always something with Shogun, but at least working on his boxing fundamentals seems like a good start for this camp. Little Nog is a Pan-Am bronze medalist in boxing and while that might not be the biggest accomplishment in the sport, it’s a lot more than most of the UFC roster has to say for themselves – if you recall the UFC marketing Marcus Davis as a “former professional boxer” and Chris Lytle as an “Indiana state champ.”
The notion seems to be that Shogun is taking a new direction in his training after 5 UFC losses and could turn his career back around, but it’s going to take a lot more than some boxing and cardio to bring him level with Jon Jones. Shogun and Nogueira’s last fight was a classic and the rematch is on June 15. Who takes it?