Liddell simply couldn't change his bad habits, says his trainer

Steve Cofield
April 21, 2009

Howard Davis Jr. thought he had diagnosed and solved all of Chuck Liddell's striking flaws. Those defensive problems had led to a pair of brutal knockouts and Liddell knew he needed a new voice, a striking guru to fix things. Davis Jr., one of the great Olympians in U.S. history, noticed that Liddell held his hands too low and was tipping his right hand by stepping forward with his right foot. They drilled it for eight weeks leading up to the Rua fight. It was all solved. Liddell looked great in practice but when it came time to execute, it all fell apart:

"As I was watching the fight, I saw his hands go lower and lower. His hands when right back [to where they had in the past]," Davis told Alex Donno from 790 The Ticket in Miami. "Sometimes a fighter just doesn't digest everything. They digest it in camp but when it comes to the fight they go right back to their comfort zone."

Listen to a disappointed Davis Jr. talk about what went wrong with Liddell (790 The Ticket):

Davis Jr. was also surprised it was a left hook from Mauricio Rua that finished "The Iceman":

"One of the things we worked on was moving to the right and blocking the left hook. I worked with him every single day and I threw left hooks at him and he blocked them."

Davis Jr. wouldn't say if he thought Liddell should retire. They did speak right after the fight but Davis said Liddell needs time to remove himself from immediate emotion following a loss. Davis Jr. thought it might be a good idea that Liddell drop to 185 pounds.

Thanks to Alex and Ronen with 790 The Ticket