Bergeron makes move to trainer
Hyppolite returns to action Saturday
By Dave Spencer
Photo by Herby Whyne
It’s amazing how time flies in boxing sometimes. Considered the best Canadian heavyweight of his era, it’s been almost four years since Jean Francois Bergeron last stepped into the ring. Thankfully this isn’t another comeback story although there’s more than a handful of present day heavyweights that the 6’5” southpaw who finished his career with a 27-2 mark could give problems to if given the chance. These days on fight nights Bergeron finds himself inside the ring for one minute at a time, as a trainer, something we’re seeing more and more of in recent months, especially now that the exciting Schiller Hyppolite is getting more fights. Hyppolite returns this Saturday as part of a stacked card at the Holiday Inn in Pointe Claire Quebec. So far the light-heavyweight has impressed in compiling a 3-0 record and it is somebody we expect to see more of as he has joined the Eye of the Tiger promotional team. We asked Bergeron about the move to training and his fighter Hyppolite and if there are any urges to lace the gloves back on.
FightNews: So tell us a bit about you as a trainer and Schiller Hyppolite as a fighter, how did you hook up?
Bergeron: It was last year I started with him when he had a fight on the undercard of Bute and Magee and I’ve been working ever since. Unfortunately he didn’t have a contract with anybody and we had to pick up fights where we could find them. The good thing though it gave us time to work on technique and fundamentals. We’ve come so far in the last year and he’s been working so hard and it’s been really fun working with him and it’s going to be great to see where he goes now.
FightNews: Did you just fall into this or was being a trainer something you always wanted to do?
Bergeron: It interested me and I figured it might be something I might do later in my life and it just sort of happened when I went to play golf with Pierre Bouchard and Benoit Gaudet. I think that Stephane (Larouche) was training down in Florida and didn’t have time to train Benoit all that much and he was finding it hard. I said I would come by a few times a week to work with him, just to help him out until Stephane got back and it snowballed right after. I fell in love with being in the corner and working the boxing stuff in the gym and then doing it in the ring. The energy being in the corner, I really fell in love with it. That’s basically how it started.
FightNews: Most boxers who go back into the gym after retiring soon get notions about coming back. Did this ever enter your mind?
Bergeron: It probably enters my mind about once a month for about a day or two. It definitely did for a while, it’s very tough to give it up when it’s been your life for twenty-some years or more for some guys. It’s really tough to do it. Fortunately I had a plan B and that was getting a job as a fireman and that really helped me out. I didn’t have to be a boxer taking paychecks as a journeyman. I didn’t want to be that, I never wanted to be that and I didn’t have to because I had a plan B. With boxing there will always be a fire burning inside, it’s always there, thinking you can do it still. And you might be able to do it for one training, do dome sparring have some fun and think I still got it but after a while it gets tougher doing it day in and day out because I know that’s what I’d have to do it, and I know that I won’t be coming back in the ring.
FightNews: Isn’t that the beauty of being a boss, having somebody go out and have somebody else do thing for you (laughing)
Bergeron: You know what? I realized when I started working with Benoit that all the things I’ve learned over the past twenty years, I could use them, they’re not going to die in my head and fall asleep slowly. There’s also cases of things I couldn’t do as a fighter that I wish I could do and tell guys that are physically able to do it. It widens the horizon, I adapted my style as a boxer with what I had physically and my physical strengths, but some guys have strengths where I had weaknesses and I’m able to work with that and it’s amazing. You get to use your imagination and creativity.
FightNews: Interseting. What can you tell about your fighter Schiller who we’ll be seeing Saturday night?
Bergeron: He’s a physically gifted athlete. He used to play basketball. He’s really explosive, he has good boxing skills and he’s learning how to use them. He used to be, he was a tough guy. He’s got guts. I wouldn’t say it in front of an audience but he’s got balls. He’s got a brain and he’s slowly learning how to use all those things. He’s got all the pieces of the puzzle, he’s just learning how to put them altogether and he’s working so hard at it. I really think Schiller can go some place. He can go places. Now we’ve started working with Eye of the Tiger and we agreed on a promotional deal. He’s going to have some exposure and show his talent the best he can.
FightNews: So do we look forward to seeing you in more corners in the future?
Bergereon: Well so far I’m working with Schilller. I’m a fourth in Lucian’s corner so I’m leaving for Nottingham this Sunday. I’ve worked with Carl Handy, with Benoit (Gaudet) and with other guys too including amateurs. So you’ll definitely be seeing me in corners, it’s too much fun. It’s too tough to leave boxing. You get used to that rush of adrenaline, even though it’s not the same as a coach, it’s better than 90 percent of everything else in the world so it’s great.