Exclusive Interview With Kevin Johnson - "I Thought The Fight With David Haye Was On!"
by James Slater - With today's official press conference in London to announce David Haye's upcoming opponent for November 15th having ended up telling us virtually nothing and merely confusing the issue, this writer called up Kevin Johnson a few hours ago in an attempt to get some clarification. Very strongly rumoured to be Haye's next foe, Johnson instead, we are told by Haye's trainer/manager Adam Booth, asked for too much money and therefore the fight was off. Well, in attempting to get to the bottom of the whole thing, I was given a completely different version of events from the unbeaten Johnson.
Article posted on 17.09.2008
Unaware that the fight had even been scrapped, the 28-year-old informed me he was going to have to make some phone calls of his own now that I'd given him the news! Astounding. According to Johnson, the first he heard the fight was off was when I told him. Very upset and disappointed, "King Pin" told me he wanted/wants this fight bad and at no time did he ever ask for more money..
Here is the interview in full.
James Slater: I appreciate your time, Kevin. Can you clarify the situation with the David Haye fight? His side say you asked for too much money, your side say he got cold feet after seeing tapes of you in action. What do you have to say?
Kevin Johnson: Oh, this fight should be happening. With you telling me the fight's off, I'll be having to make some calls of my own right after I talk to you! I mean, I thought the fight was on, I was getting ready to go to training camp to get ready!. It wasn't about money, I wasn't getting a whole lot anyway. I mean me going over to the UK made it a case of me giving up the lion's share of the purse anyway.
J.S: So you'd still take the fight then?
K.J: The fight should be on, it's his end you have to ask, my end's done. My promoter, Joe DeGuardia, wasn't asking for much money and we wanted the fight. I think the guy called me out and started running his mouth before he really knew who I was. I knew he'd turn me down. I'm real upset, it would have been a great fight. It's good going in against a guy who thinks he's a killer. It's easy fighting a little woman like David Haye! He knows he cant beat me, he knows he can't knock me out, and he knew I was coming to England to win. No way was I gonna come over to England just for a decision!
J.S: We hear it may be J.D Chapman for Haye now...
K.J: Of course he's gonna fight J.D Chapman, 'cos that's an easy fight for him. J.D Chapman don't have anything on his resume like me. Neither does Haye.
J.S: I assume you have seen tapes of Haye, what do you think of him as a fighter?
K.J: I've never seen him , but I know there isn't one fighter out there who can beat me. Like I say, I want this fight bad, you're telling me this news now. He did ok as a cruiserweight but his chins is very suspect - that's well known.
J.S: There's no way then that you asked for more money?
K.J: No way. I know there's no point in messing with pennies when the winner of this fight would be a rich man anyway. The winner of this fight would have walked into a millionaire situation and a title shot. So it wasn't about money at all. I'm willing to go face-to-face with him on camera and say everything I'm saying to you now. I've given you my personal number, my home number, you call me any time and I'll tell it like it is. My whole world is boxing, I'm in the gym 24-7 and I know I'm gonna reach the top. It don't seem like Haye has the heart to look at the sport of boxing like I look at it. I want this fight bad. I'm on a roll, we might as well keep it going, you know? My world is boxing, I eat and - forgive my language - I shit boxing! You've never seen me tired in a fight, you've never seen me get staggered, you've never seen me get out-boxed. I'm the best kept secret in boxing!
J.S: If you don't get Haye, what next for you instead?
K.J: There's a lot on the table for me, but at the same time I'll be very upset if I don't get this fight. All Haye's talk about going straight after Wladimir Klitschko, that was just erratic talk, he was blowing smoke. I mean, I plan on destroying Klitschko one day, but at the same time, even though I hate the way he fights, he a nice person and he's achieved a lot. You can't just dismiss all what he's done like Haye is trying to.
J.S: In many eyes you are the best unbeaten American heavyweight. Do you feel pressure to become the world champion and bring a belt back to the U.S?
K.J: Shit! The 'hood was what brought me pressure when I was growing up. That was pressure each and every day. No, I don't feel no pressure today. I'm like a kid in candy store, going through these heavyweights one by one, getting my candy! Haye don't have my heart, he has money, think about it, he's with Golden Boy, but he isn't looking at boxing the same way I am.
J.S: In your last fight you stopped Bruce Seldon. Was that your best performance so far do you think?
K.J: It was the best performance in regards to the right hand. In my fight with Robert Hawkins I threw three right hands the whole fight - I won with just my jab. But in the Seldon fight I had to get a stoppage win. I'd have been crucified even more than I already have been if I didn't stop him.
J.S: Do the critics who say you can't punch hard annoy you?
K.J: Well, think about it; Ali and Holmes never got the credit until they were at the top. That's the way it is, you don't get the credit until you get to the top. So I'm not worried because I know I'll get there. And when I do I'd like to talk to all these critics who have been saying things about me. Let's see what they have to say then.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Kevin. Any final word on the Haye fight?
K.J: I wish I was in the U.K right now, that way I could clear up all this talk from Haye and his team. Turn the fight down? I've never turned down a fight in my life! If he fights me he'll be 21-2, no doubt.
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