Joe Goossen takes break-ups in stride
Win or lose tonight against Adrien Broner, there’s a chance that John Molina Jr. may not retain trainer Joe Goossen. Then after a fight or two, they’ll probably get back together. You might scoff at the notion but look at their track record. If there’s one constant in this union, it’s that it’s been broken up for one reason or another and then put back together again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Goossen, a veteran of this hard and often unfair business that doesn’t really protect the trainers nearly as much as it does managers and promoters, takes this in stride.
“Listen, look…to be honest, I don’t think about that anymore. I don’t think I ever have. Of course I’m going to be John’s trainer. As long as he wants me, I’ll be John’s trainer. That’s a fact,” Goossen said on Sunday afternoon, a day or two before he left for Las Vegas.
But there has been this peculiar pattern in which Molina would leave Goossen after some of his strongest outings. Whether it was his upset victory over Hank Lundy a few years ago or his game effort against Lucas Matthysse last April, for some inexplicable reason, Molina would find himself at another gym, working with another trainer.
Goossen jokes, “Well, John likes to say we’re like Ross and Rachel from ‘Friends.’ But yeah, I guess but when you really like somebody…like I’ve had some of the same friends since literally Little League Baseball when I was 12, the same group of guys, I was friends with them, I’m friends with now. And we’ve had our squabbles and fights, yeah, we got angry at each other but you’re not going to lose your friends.
“And it’s the same with John; John is a friend of mine. I get along really, really well with him. I really do and it would be hard for me – with the exception of something cataclysmic – of ever not liking John Molina. So for me, on a personal level, I really have fun with John. I really enjoy being with him. So no matter what’s happened in the past, it’s not enough to make me dislike him.”
If you’ve ever seen this duo in the gym, it’s clear they enjoy each other’s company. They banter freely and trade jokes that are cringe-worthy but very appropriate for the setting in which they call their office. This makes their trial separations so mystifying. That said, maybe they were never meant to be that inseparable married couple but the on-and-off couple who simply can’t quit each other.
“It’s funny because I’m coming up on my 40th anniversary in September but, y’know, it’s hard to explain. I’ve had fighters, fighters come and go, sometimes on good terms, sometimes on bad terms. I would say 99.9 percent of the time, I’m agreeable to rejoin a working effort with fighters that have left before and I can only think of maybe one or two occasions where I flat-out refused to work with a fighter that may have come and gone on whatever terms, whether good or bad, that I haven’t accepted back,”recalled Goossen.
It’s a rite of passage for any trainer to be left by a fighter or stiffed by him. In fact, you could say you’re really not a full-fledged professional trainer until that’s happened to you at least once. Goossen is way past the stage of anger; perhaps it shook him when Michael Nunn left him but after Joel Casamayor, Lance Whitaker and others walked out the door, he learned to be philosophical about all of it.
“They make mistakes, then they come to realize that they should’ve looked at it differently and, OK, I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes and I understand other people have,” said Goossen, who just recently added the mercurial Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to this roster. “My dad said, ‘You gotta learn from your mistakes but, more importantly, you can learn from other peoples mistakes, not just your own.’ That being said, I’ve always been agreeable to take fighters back after they left for whatever reasons because I know things happen.
“It’s part of the game and you gotta understand that as a trainer.”
Looking ahead to their fight versus Broner, Goossen understands his charge will not out-slick “The Problem.”
“Look, there are things we’d call minutiae that you try to zero in on but for this particular fight using this punch, these type of steps, well, definitely that’s something that’s positive for us but I think you gotta let John Molina be John Molina. He’s a rough-and-tumble pressure fighter that hits very hard and I’m not going to try and turn him into something that he isn’t,” said Goossen. So yeah, there will be no shoulder-rolling from Molina.
And yeah, they have reviewed Broner’s loss to Marcos Maidana.
“I watched it when it happened,” said Goossen of the memorable bout that took place in Dec. of 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. “I mean, I didn’t forget what happened; did you? So yes, I’ve watched it. Yes, I took notes; the things that worked against [Broner], John and I both. John watched the fight; he knows what he’s gotta do and I’m sure Broner’s watched enough tape to say, ‘Hey, I know what I gotta do against this guy.'”
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