Interview With Heavyweight Prospect Dominick Guinn

ďAfter this fight in March, I am going to start calling Joe Mesiís name everyday. Címon Joe, Come fight me, wherever you are, come on out.Ē

21.01.04 - By Micah Yonkoski: If youíre like most, a casual boxing fan, then you might be led to believe the hype or lack thereof about the future of the heavyweight division. The so-called sports media repeatedly litters the airwaves with cracks on the decline of boxings glamour division, all the while not having a clue about what they speak.

Certainly the division has itís questions and flaws; Heavyweight king Lennox Lewis isnít getting any younger and his return is nothing more than rumor at this point, Evander Holyfield was just throttled again, but his return unfortunately isnít in question and Tysonís return to sanity and whatever form of combat he chooses is also nothing more than speculation, thank God.

However, the media and publications take no pains in imposing the notion that without the aforementioned, the division is dead and as goes the heavyweight division, so goes boxing. Nonsense!

Iím not going to get into the obvious idiocy of such statements, but rather begin to shine light on what is good in boxing and most importantly in the eyes of most, what is good in the heavyweight division.

A shining example of this is unbeaten Arkansas native Dominick Guinn whom many believe is the most complete prospect in the heavyweight division.

In the past year, Dominick has disposed of former heavyweight phenom Michael Grant and then stole the show during The Night of Young Heavyweights this past September with an impressive and brutal victory over the rugged Duncan Dokiwari. It was after that fight in which I was afforded my first real chance to speak with Guinn and I couldnít have walked away more impressed.

Being the sports biggest fan, I have followed Guinn through his impressive amateur career, which consisted of over 300 fights and two national championships. However, it was his out of the ring demeanor and likeability that really left an impression upon me.

At this point in time, with all that is going wrong in the sport, I think itís important to look to the future and support those that can and currently do represent something good in boxing. Dominick Guinn is a great example of that.

I donít intend to sway folks into believing that Guinn is the next Lewis, Tyson or Holyfield, but I will say that he has the skills, work ethic and personality that deserve the respect of the boxing world.

I hope you enjoy reading this interview, half as much as I enjoyed speaking with this young pugilist. I would like to thank Dominique Guinn for her help in setting up this interview.

MY: Whatís up Dominick, How are things going?

Guinn: Things are going great Micah.

MY: You have an HBO date set for March 27th in Arkansas, itís been speculated recently that Monte Barrett will be your opponent for that fight, can you confirm that itís a done deal?

Guinn: Yes it is. I think itís closed as they went on and took the fight with me and weíll do it as you said on the 27th of March.

MY: Youíll be sharing the card with fellow Arkansan Jermain Taylor; thankfully HBO rejected Derrell Coley as his opponent for that fight and now it sounds like Alex Bunema is the new opponent.

Guinn: Yeah, I knew that was going to happen, as HBO only wants good fights.

MY: What was your take on Monteís performance against Joe Mesi and do you think he probably exposed some of Mesiís real flaws?

Guinn: Yes, yes he did. The first six rounds, Monte came out and surprised me as I thought heíd come out looking better as he did nothing for the first six rounds, but picked it up the seventh round and took the fight from there on.

MY: What kind of fight do you envision between you and Monte?

Guinn: Itís gonna be a great fight. Monte and I, weíve sparred a bunch of times. I mean every time I go to New York thatís who we work with. Monte Barrett, Faruq Saleem, Malik Scott, TJ Wilson and a few other guys up there. So, we are familiar with each other

MY: I was in Buffalo for your fight with Duncan Dokiwari and was very impressed with the patience, toughness and skills that you showed, do you feel that you received more praise for that victory or your first big win over Michael Grant?

Guinn: I feel that I received more for the fight with Dokiwari as it was a much tougher fight.

MY: In your last fight with Derrick Banks, from most accounts you didnít look at your best and did just enough to win each round. I havenít seen the fight, but wondered what your self-assessment was after that fight?

Guinn: Well, going into the fight I was honestly trying to picky myself up because I knew it wasnít a big fight. Everyone was telling me itís not a big fight, but I had couldnít give this guy a chance to derail me from doing bigger things. I had the flu two weeks before the fight and lost some weight and it changed my sparring schedule and I probably should have pulled outta the fight. People thought I was going to pull out, but I couldnít because I knew I wouldnít have had another chance to fight again this year and I like to stay busy. So, I needed the fight anyway and I dropped him in the first round and then he held me and ran for the next nine rounds. I easily won the fight and got another ten rounds under my belt.

MY: I can understand the lack of motivation going into this fight especially coming of the Grant and Dokiwari fights.

Guinn: I can honestly say that I didnít think itíd be like that, but I wasnít up for that fight as I have been in previous fights such as Michael Grant and Dokiwari.

MY: Where do you feel you fit currently in the heavyweight division? Do you feel that you are still learning and not really in a rush to face the divisions best or do you feel that after your wins over Dokiwari and Grant along with your stellar amateur career that you belong in the ring with anyone?

Guinn: Iím in no rush. I feel like maybe two or three more fights before I can get in there with the best, but I feel Iím right there. I mean, Iím at the level that theyíre on, all I need to do is get another two or three tough fights under my belt and take some more good shots and I feel I can get in there with the best of Ďem.

MY: In the March issue of Ring Magazine, you were featured on the cover alongside fellow contenders Joe Mesi and Olympic Gold Medallist Audley Harrison, what is your take on Harrison and any of the other prospects such as Sammy Peter, Calvin Brock or even Juan Carlos Gomez whom also fought with you on that Buffalo card in September?

Guinn: Everyone one of those guys are considered prospects and theyíre all tough. It just becomes an issue of who is going to take the fights and who really wants to fight. Iím always willing and I feel I have to prove a point that I wanna be the best and I am the best. I am always going to take my time, but I will tell you that after this fight in March, I am going to start calling Joe Mesiís name everyday. Címon Joe, Come fight me, wherever you are-come on out. If you really wanna prove that you are the top the guy the beat me. I thought that was the intention when they put all six of us on that HBO card, I thought we were going to do a round robin and find out who is the best, but no one wants to fight.

MY: So you think that Mesi doesnít want any part of you?

Guinn: No, no he doesnít, little do people know, but I was the last person to beat Joe Mesi. They forget to mention that, but after the fight he said that he wasnít impressed with me and I guess then he wasnít impressed with that Left-Right-Left that I hit him with in í97. I didnít have to do much, I just boxed his head off for five rounds and he ate my jab, right hand and left hook for five rounds and ran and turned pro right after that. They did that because they knew they hadnít a chance of beating me to go to the Olympics.

MY: As the fighter, in my opinion that is the furthest along and most likely to make real waves in the heavyweight division, how do you feel when you hear or read about people saying that the sport is dying and the heavyweight division is in big trouble once Lennox, Mike and Evander go away?

Guinn: I just listen to it and I understand it because really there wasnít anybody doing anything. They were saying this before the Joe Mesi, myself and other fights came about. They still gotta give everyone a chance and weíll see.

MY: So, does that serve as motivation for you to rejuvenate the division?

Guinn: Yes, yes it definitely does because I love the criticism as it pushes me to work harder. I like when people say that they can beat me as Mesi had said that heíd beat me in five, I like that.

MY: Do you think that you and your fellow heavyweight prospects would be better off if Lennox did retire along with Evander and without the Tyson circus? Do you feel itíd create an opening in the spotlight for fighters such as yourself and let the people see our next generation of heavyweights?

Guinn: Yes it would, but we need to create our openings for ourselves by fighting the tough fights. The guys you mentioned have all proven themselves as I am trying to do and Iím in no rush, but if Lennox is still there when my times come then I wanna fight him.

MY: Boxing is now and has always been my passion and it kills me when the only coverage it gets from the mainstream media is when negative issues are involved such as the many events with Tyson or the recent raiding of Bob Arumís offices, what do you think are boxings biggest problems that should be addressed to help get the sport out from under the dark cloud of controversy?

Guinn: I think the sport really needs to start promoting the good guys. They need to start putting the name of the good guys out and let them get some interviews and it can keep the so-called bad guys that give the sport a negative image out of the spotlight.

MY: Without question you have a solid team behind you and alongside Ronnie Shields there is former champion Mark Breland? How did that begin W/ Breland and what kind of influence has Mark had upon you as a growing fighter?

Guinn: Well, the relationship with Mark began as a result of USA boxing and weíd do monthly amateur fights at Foxwoods and theyíd bring some of the amateur stars of the past and Mark Breland was one of them. I got a chance to meet him and at the Goodwill Games I was talking with Shelly Finkel and he introduced me again with Mark and asked what I thought about him training me and I said that I would love it. Thatís one thin with a boxer, I can listen to someone that has been there and done it and I listen and learn. Iím sure any boxer will tell ya the same thing as opposed to listening to someone that hasnít done it. I mean, how am I suppose to listen to someone like Max Kellerman whoís never been in a ring in his life? How is he going to tell me what I should do in the seventh round when I have been dropped and itís time to get up and fight? I love both Mark and Ronnie Shields and we have a good thing going. If there is one thing that Iíve learned growing up is being loyal and Iím gonna remain loyal to Main Events and my two coaches.

MY: Rumor has it that you and Mark had some nice sparring sessions and that youíve been heard to say that he hit you the hardest that youíve been hit to this point? Care to speak on that and run through what itís like to be in the ring with the greatest amateur fighter of all time?

Guinn: (Laughs) See, the thing about it is, Mark is real slick. On that day that you are talking about, Mark brought his stuff to train with Anthony Hanshaw because Anthony was talking about some stuff and how he needs to get hit before he can get started. Mark then told Tony that in the pros if you get hit one time that could be the fight. Tony was like ďyeah, whateverĒ well, the next day when Mark came to the gym and had his stuff out and asked Toney to get in the ring and spar, Tony started talking about how he forgot his mouthpiece and left all his sparring stuff, so, Mark is like okay whatever, címon Domí you can get in and I was like okay and we got in there. I knew that Mark a good right hand and he was trying to time me and step in with that right hand like he used to do in the pros and one time I caught him when he stepped in with the jab and I sent him right on his ass. Well, I think that pissed him off because he was like, ďokayĒ and then got up and stepped in and threw that right after he set it up with some kind of left and I seen it coming and luckily I began to step back and he caught me as I stepped back. The shot landed right on my forehead and I was like ďOOOOOĒ and I told Mark that if I wouldnít have stepped back then he woulda landed perfectly with all his power on it because the only thing that saved me was the fact that I stepped back and if I didnít, it coulda been good night Irene.

That was the one time we sparred and I wonít get back in the ring with him again, heís a slick old veteran and learned that shot from Tommy Hearns because that is exactly what Tommy hit him with, that same shot, but luckily I stepped back.

MY: In closing, is there anything that you would like to say to your fans or would like to say to anyone out there that has yet to see you fight?

Guinn: Sure, I would like to say to any fans of mine that I really appreciate your support and hope that you continue watching me and support me throughout my career. Also, I would like to thank those that criticize me because that motivates me to train harder and prove them wrong. However, I would like to say to everyone out there to please not let the black eyes of the sport prevent you from watching boxing because there are so many good guys that love the sport and are trying to turn things around and that is what Iím here for, itís what I am going to try and do.

MY: Dominick I thank you very much for allowing me this interview, you are a great guy and I wish you the very best in the future and hope you continue on this path.

Guinn: Thanks a lot Micah anytime.

photo (c) Carlos Kalinchuk

Article posted on 21.01.2004

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