Guinn on Mesi: “I’m praying for him and I don’t want him to go out like that”

17.06.04 – Interview by Carlos Kalinchuk: Until March 27th of this year, Guinn was considered by many to be one of the Heavyweight Divisions hottest prospects. He had been riding a string a victories against Michael Grant, Duncan Dokiwari and little known Derrick Banks. Unfortunately for Guinn, his undefeated string ran out when he floundered badly against Monte Barrett and suffered his first pro defeat.

Although, Guinn admittedly accepts that it was just not his night, he also points to the notion that he had too many distractions leading up to the fight. Considering it was his first pro fight in his at home state, (Arkansas) it seemed the adoration of the fans went straight to his head. “Man, once I got there, I didn’t expect it to be like it was…I felt like I was the World Champion and that I had all three or four belts.” He has also summarized his defeat by saying, “I have no excuses. I just had a bad night. Nothing else. I didn’t show up that night to fight and if I let some people in the press and my fans down then I’m sorry- but I’ll be back!” said Guinn.

Let’s not forget that until the Barrett fight, Guinn had shown a lot of promise and my guess is that he’ll resume his course and become a player in the Heavyweight Division before it’s all said and done; and he won’t have long to wait because on July 24th on the non-televised portion of HBO’s super fight card in Atlantic City featuring Arturo Gatti, Leonard Dorin fight Dominick Guinn 24-1 (17 KO’s) will be on the comeback trail in a tune up fight against veteran Phil “The Enforcer” Jackson 44-12 (38 KO’s) of Miami.

Since his defeat though, Guinn has been largely under the radar having dropped out of many of the top heavyweight rankings but he won’t have a chance to be under long as he’ll have to be ready come July. I caught up with him in Houston as he prepares for ring veteran Phil Jackson.

Guinn articulated that he’s excited to be getting back in the ring and once again begin his march to Championship contention. To Guinn’s credit, he’s a classy guy as he acknowledges his sub par performance against Barrett. Additionally we discussed the Klitchko’s, Joe Mesi, and a host of other topics. This is a good read.

Eastside Boxing: Obviously you’re preparing for a fight right now. Who do you have lined up?

Dominick Guinn: They say I’m fighting an old veteran name Phil Jackson. I’ve seen his record. He’s from Miami and he’s fought everybody so I know he’s going to try and take me out to deep water thinking maybe that, “I’m going to take him out and drown him.”

Eastside Boxing: What’s the date of your next fight?

Dominick Guinn: July 24th. I’m fighting on the Gatti versus Dorin and Bojado-Leija under card.

Eastside Boxing: That’s going to be a great show.

Dominick Guinn: Yeah. Yeah. I’m going back home. I consider the East Coast my home and I’m going back home to where I really got started. Last year at about that time when I fought Michael Grant and I’m excited to be going to Atlantic City and putting on a good show. If I’m first on the card or last on the card, I’m going to kick somebody’s ass!

Eastside Boxing: Who’s that guy you fought that was like that over a year ago in Houston? What was his name?

Dominick Guinn: Garing Lane!

Eastside Boxing: From my vantage point (and I don’t care what anyone says) that guy was not an easy fight! So he’s a lot like Lane huh?

Dominick Guinn: Man it’s always like that! Man that’s what I’ve been telling everybody! They have a “tune up” fight for me and usually those are harder than the named fighters. But like I said, I train for every fight like it’s a world championship fight. So I know it’s going to be another world championship type fight but I do want to go in there and take care of business.

Eastside Boxing: IF you get past this guy (everybody’s expecting you to) and I’m not going to minimize this fight…

Dominick Guinn: Just like they were expecting me to win in my last fight right (laughs)?

Eastside Boxing: Yeah, “just” like your last fight (laughs)!

Dominick Guinn: Yeah “just” like they were expecting me to in my last fight (smiles). Man I remember watching Friday Night Fights the night before my fight and a commentator said, “I have Dominick winning and knocking Monte Barrett out!” And I already had it in my mind that if I catch him with the right punches, I would knock him out but when he said that I said, “I’m going to knock this guy out!” I didn’t go in there underestimating Monte Barrett but I knew that if I went in there on a good night, I would’ve have knocked him out.

Eastside Boxing: Do you feel it’s not good to get that type of input and watch those types of programs then on the eve of a fight?

Dominick Guinn: I listen to it but I don’t just let it go to my head like, “Okay I’ve GOT to knock this guy out because they said it!” No way. You always here that from a guy that knocks another guy out and say, “That guy ain’t nothing” and then he’s strong and he beats the shit out of you.

Eastside Boxing: Well I think Pacquiao would agree with that right?

Dominick Guinn: YEAH!

Eastside Boxing: (Most people thought) Juan Manuel Marquez was supposed to be a cake walk since Pacman beat the great Barrera but…

Dominick Guinn: Styles makes fights! There’s always somebody that can beat you and has your number. That’s boxing! I’m always going to stay grounded and know that and just because you beat everybody else, there’s always somebody out there that can beat you! They will beat you and they’ll train just as hard as you, and they’ll come to fight.

Eastside Boxing: Going back to the drawing board right?

Dominick Guinn: Yeah, I’m going back to the drawing board and coming back stronger.

Eastside Boxing: Before the fight, someone had commented to me that in an interview you did with me 3 weeks before the fight, you said that Main Events was doing an incredible job of keeping you focused and devoid of distractions leading up to the fight especially since you were fighting in your hometown. Did you learn that once you arrived in Arkansas that it was a different deal altogether?

Dominick Guinn: Oh yeah.

Eastside Boxing: It’s easy to say when you were in Houston right? That everything was being taken care of but once you got there how was that different?

Dominick Guinn: Man, once I got there, I didn’t expect it to be like it was. The Arkansans were…man I felt like I was the World Champion and that I had all three or four belts. I mean they really opened their arms to myself and Jermaine Taylor and I hate I didn’t show up that night to be able to let them know that, “hey” we’re on our way!

Eastside Boxing: When a fighter goes through his first loss, it can be a revelation of sorts where you see who your friends are; and who your friends aren’t. Has anything changed since the last fight with the people around you?

Dominick Guinn: Nothing really changed. I knew from being 28-29 years old, and I already knew who was with me and who was against me. So this loss didn’t really change anything. I had my coaches and my family and “some” of Main Events but probably NOT ALL of Main Events with me, or maybe all of Main Events is with me but I can tell who the people are that are with me and who’s against me. I’m just taking it one step at a time and when I step in there again I’ll be ready and I’ll prove myself AGAIN. I always felt that way anyway that I always had to prove myself, and they only judge you by your last fight anyway.

Eastside Boxing: Sometimes asking a fighter immediately after a fight for their reaction you’re not always able to articulate what you learned but (looking back) what can you say was the lesson that you learned in this last fight about yourself or about boxing?

Dominick Guinn: (Thinking) I really think fighting at home had something to do with it. I think fighting at home and the extra pressure on me and the pressure to make a big impression on my hometown…just to do everything right. When I walked out there, my mind was blank. I was just so into pleasing the crowd and I forgot everything I worked on (pretty much). I mean I know what I was supposed to do with the wide punches he was throwing and winging and I was supposed to be throwing my short left hook and right hands but I didn’t do any of that and I got caught up trying to please the crowd and I lost.

Eastside Boxing: It seemed that Ronnie was trying his best to tell you “put more pressure on him, put more pressure on him!” What was keeping you from doing what he was instructing you to do? That’s the thing I’m trying to understand. What was keeping you from generating the pressure and doing what you normally do and following your game plan?

Dominick Guinn: It was a few different things. I say one, like I said being at home and trying to please the crowd and it seemed like every time that I heard Ronnie say that in the corner, and I got out there and I got to going and got to hear them chanting, “Dominick, Dominick” my mind went blank. And usually when I get hit, it knocks me back and I say, “Okay, NOW I know what I’m supposed to do” which is double jab, left hand, and right hook. When I got caught in the seventh round, I was like, “Okay, well I’ll make it through this round, and then we’ll come back strong in the next round.” Then I came out strong and won the eighth round but I just felt it wasn’t my night.

Eastside Boxing: That’s happens to everybody but do you also feel that your opponent (Monte Barrett) should get some credit as well in that he was a lot tougher than you thought?

Dominick Guinn: No. No. No. I knew Monte was tough. We sparred plenty of times in New York. I knew it was going to be a great fight and I knew it was going to be a tough fight but I thought I was going to win. I thought I was going to win easy. I thought I was going to dominate with my jab and hurt him with my left hook and right hand. I thought it was going to be an easy fight to cruise through and shine for the Arkansans and HBO.

Eastside Boxing: Some people would say that they saw this coming. In your last non-TV fight that you had on Showtime her in Houston, you fought below your potential and the fans were getting on you. What would you say to the people who say, “We saw this coming!” or was this just like you said, “Just a bad night for you.”

Dominick Guinn: NO. I have no excuses. I just had a bad night. Nothing else. I didn’t show up that night to fight and if I let some people in the press and my fans down then I’m sorry-I’ll be back!

Eastside Boxing: Is there a chance you’ll fight back in Arkansas again?

Dominick Guinn: I really don’t want to. Like I told Main Events, if I do, I want it to be 24 fights from now.

Eastside Boxing: (Laughs).

Dominick Guinn: I’ll come back when I’m 48-1! I’ll go back then and I’ll be able to afford another loss (smiles). Let me make some money and win a couple of world titles.

Eastside Boxing: In your opinion, is Vitaly Klitchko the king of the Heavyweight Division?

Dominick Guinn: Yeah at this point I think he is. But there’s always somebody out there that can beat you and somebody will beat him. If I get the shot, I’m going to beat him! And I love to fight bigger men but whomever I can get in there with…I’m destined to be a world champion-and I will be. I’ll be back. It’s just one loss and it ain’t going to do nothing but be a bump in the road.

Eastside Boxing: I’m going to throw some names out there and if you can give me your feedback on them…


Eastside Boxing: (Laughs).

Dominick Guinn: I want to fight however I’ve got to fight to be world champion.

Eastside Boxing: Jameel McCline, what do you think about him?

Dominick Guinn: Man, everyone in the top ten are great fighters! But I know I can beat them. On my best day I know I can beat them. Now if I go in there fighting like I did against Monte Barrett, then “NO!” I won’t win a fight like that but I’m not going in there looking for another fight like that and I think just because I’m outside of Arkansas, that I’m going to have another great night again and every time I step in the ring, I will have another great night again.

Eastside Boxing: Is there anybody in the Heavyweight Division that you think is over-rated? And they don’t deserve the accolades they are getting right now?

Dominick Guinn: NO not really. Simply because…

Eastside Boxing: Not Joe Mesi?

Dominick Guinn: NO! Joe Mesi is a great fighter and I’m not taking anything away from any fighters out there. There’s only a few of us out there in this game. There’s a lot of boxers to fight but there’s only a few that are at the top and elite level. You don’t find a lot of people that are willing to step in the ring and fight and put their life on the line. So all the critics that we do have out there that are like, “boxing this” and, “Boxing that” and “they didn’t throw enough punches.” Tell them to get in there with us and work hard everyday. They won’t do that. I can’t discredit anybody that’s boxing. Everybody that steps in that ring is a champ to me.

Eastside Boxing: I know you mentioned the top ten, and I know you’re not picking out any names but is there anybody that you would particularly like to get in the ring with?

Dominick Guinn: I heard that Vladimir would like fight David Tua, Joe Mesi, or me before he steps in the ring against Lamon Brewster again. I’ll fight anybody. If HBO is ready for that fight, I’ll take that fight! Like I said whomever HBO or Main Events wants me to fight that will get me one step closer to becoming a champ. I don’t really fight anyone behind me but I’ll understand because I lost my last fight so I have to take a tune up fight. But like I said before this tune up fight I have coming up, might be harder than a World Championship fight but everything happens for a reason.

Eastside Boxing: Is Lamon Brewster better than everyone thought he was or was Vladimir shop worn and just a bunch of hype?

Dominick Guinn: Vladimir might have had a bad night and Brewster may have had a good night. He took Vladimir’s best shot and he just came back. That just might show you that (like Roy Jones said) “Vladimir may be a six round fighter.” And they’re looking for all these excuses that someone drugged him up…

Eastside Boxing: And then there was the Joe Souza conspiracy that his camp conjured up…

Dominick Guinn: Right! Yeah man. It’s like; “You’re a world championship fighter so you would have tasted anything if they had put something in your water!”

Eastside Boxing: First it went to being conspired against by Souza and the Vaseline that clogged his pores and

Dominick Guinn: As much as we sweat! Were his pores clogged in training?

Eastside Boxing: Yeah or you can look at the first four rounds and see that he was sweating and how could the light lather of Vaseline on his sides and back and calves to keep him from getting rope burns hurt him in the fight?

Dominick Guinn: Yeah. They weren’t. And he was hurting him and then when you see that you’ve given him your best and he just gets back up now it’s time to fight and then it got hard! “Yeah and then it was your pores that wouldn’t let you win the fight! Now you’re tired. Now your pores won’t let you sweat!” It’s always like that. When you crack somebody and they just get back up and you can’t get them out of there then you just box them. That’s what I do.

Eastside Boxing: (Laughs) People have said a lot about the heavyweight division and this is an odd question on the surface but do you find yourself cheering for Vitaly Klitchko since the Heavyweight Division and a lot of boxing is determined by the success of the heavyweight division?

Dominick Guinn: No. I don’t care who wins. If Vladimir wins or his brother or if Lamon Brewster wins I don’t care because I feel I can beat anybody on my best day so I don’t care who wins. I was happy to see Lamon Brewster win because of his struggles with his trainer dying…

Eastside Boxing: That was a good story and I don’t think enough people made a mention of that.

Dominick Guinn: I felt how he felt and so every time we step in the ring I’m risking my life but I don’t care because I’m doing it all for my kids. I don’t care. If I do become a world champion that’s good but I do want to make enough money to where my kids are happy and I could have been dead years ago and I could have been shot or an accident or by getting locked up so every time I get in the ring, I’m putting my life on the line so I understood him and I was happy to see him overcome getting hurt in the third or fourth round and coming back and knocking him out.

Eastside Boxing: He showed some toughness and a lot of heart!

Dominick Guinn: Yeah and think HBO really liked that! Hopefully they did. But they talk about you good in one fight and the next fight, “he’s a damn bum!” But that’s what they’ll say (laughs).

Eastside Boxing: (Laughs). Any chance that we may see you in the ring against Mike Tyson? I know he’s a little old and worn but is there any chance of that happening?

Dominick Guinn: I don’t know! IF Mike wins the World Championship-yeah! But if he doesn’t have something that will help me get there or a belt then no. I mean I look up to Mike Tyson and all the goals he’s achieved but “No” I wouldn’t want to fight him just to fight him. Like Lennox Lewis, he accomplished a lot and I looked up to him and I used to watch him fight-I wouldn’t want to fight him because I would go in there to passive and I would think of the things they used to do instead of what they’re capable of now.

Eastside Boxing: Do you ever think of the divide and how when Lennox Lewis really reigned and how the smaller guys (and I don’t know if everyone is looking at it like this like I am) like you and guys of similar size or smaller who’ve had a lot of success in the division…guys like you, Toney, Brewster, Jones and Byrd. In other words, do you see the smaller horses catching up in the race of the big men? It just seemed like it was a big mans game for a while…

Dominick Guinn: I’ve always been with the smaller guy. The smaller guy has the better stamina, movement, combinations, and footwork. If you watch a lot of the big guys, you see that their balance is off. In fact, I haven’t seen a big guy (6’4 and above) yet besides Jameel McCline that doesn’t get tired in the latter rounds and is able to put on a really good 10 round show. Lennox put on a few really good 10 round shows because he had a good jab. But all the other guys, they gas out. And it’s always going to be with the smaller guys the guys that are 6’2-6’3 and down that are going to be coming in there ready to fight that have the heart. A lot of the big guys don’t have a lot of heart. I know when they hit me and I just come back with something, they’re ready to quit.

Eastside Boxing: This kind of success dispels the argument then that since the smaller guys have been successful in the division that there should be a super-heavyweight class then right?

Dominick Guinn: If they do change that and they create a Super Heavyweight Division then are they going to go up on the money?! If they go up on the money then, you’re going to have the 220lb 6′ 3 guys trying to go up to the Super Heavyweight division going up if it’s going to be like that but if they’re going to leave the money the same, then, “hey” make a two heavyweight division. But if not…

Eastside Boxing: That’s an interesting point. I hadn’t really thought about that. That’s 100% true.

Dominick Guinn: At this point that the people that have made arguments for another heavyweight division is rather dispelled since we’ve had so many successful smaller guys in the division.

Eastside Boxing: Looking forward, are you going to have another fight besides the one in July before the years up?

Dominick Guinn: Hopefully two fights but with the way things might go, I might fight at the end of October but I would love to fight now and at the end of September and then again in the fall. I love to fight. It has nothing to do with money. I’m young and I’m ready to fight. I want to say this, I want to be done with this by the time I’m 35-36 years old. I want to go out like Lennox Lewis (a Champ).

Eastside Boxing: And your brains in your head right?

Dominick Guinn: Yeah. Where I can play with my kids and invest my money right and start my own thing.

Eastside Boxing: Larry Holmes did that.

Dominick Guinn: I met him. Everlast shipped me down to Orlando Florida back in January and I’d like to thank Everlast for taking myself and Mark Breland down there to sign autographs with Larry Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard. Larry Holmes told me a lot that I forgot. That I didn’t take in the ring with me. He was like, “Keep your jab going and nobody will beat you.” So I’m sorry Larry because I didn’t remember and keep it in the back of my mind but I’ll be back.

Eastside Boxing: With a Hall of Famer like that…you have to listen to him when he speaks.

Dominick Guinn: I did but so much was going on but I forgot about it. But I’m going to Pennsylvania with Mark Breland after this fight. He invited both of us to come out and hang with him after this fight. He invited us anytime we’re on the East Coast to come up so that’s what we’re doing after this fight.

Eastside Boxing: Can you share with us what you’re doing different as far as strength and muscle training since your last fight?

Dominick Guinn: I’m getting back to lifting weights. I felt when I did that, that I was going in like a beast and I felt I could knock you out when I did that so I’ve gotten back to that. I didn’t have that with me for a few months going into my last fight but I’ve gotten strong and actually I need to get down and I need to keep my upper up though. I’ve been lifting for two months.

Eastside Boxing: Your working with Brian Caldwell right?

Dominick Guinn: Yeah.

Eastside Boxing: Anything you wanted to comment about that I didn’t ask you?

Dominick Guinn: Yes about a month or so ago, I heard that Mesi had a neurological exam that showed something that may keep him from fighting again. I’m praying for him and I don’t want him to go out like that. I hope he can come back and we’ll be able to fight and hopefully everything will heal up. If it’s meant for him to come back in this game then…everything happens for a reason. I’m pretty sure if he’s not going to be able to come back that he’s stable financially.

Eastside Boxing: Do you feel with all the bullshit aside that there’s a brotherhood in boxing?

Dominick Guinn: Oh yeah! You know this is just boxing. It’s a game but it’s a business. Like basketball or football but some people might hate each other but it’s like Monte Barrett and I. Before the fight we were joked and after the fight we joked. He beat me and he know he won the fight that night. I think the next night I would have beaten him but this stuff happens.

Eastside Boxing: Any chance that you’ll fight him again?

Dominick Guinn: I think so.

Eastside Boxing: NO one likes to not have the chance to avenge a loss right?

Dominick Guinn: Yes. I really think that I’m going to get a chance because I know they were mentioning him and Vitaly fighting and the way shit happens, he might beat Vitaly and I might end up getting the rematch and I might take the belt from him. If he does become Champion then I think I’ll take it from him. I mean shit happens.

Eastside Boxing: That’s in your perfect world (laughs). Any closing comments?

Dominick Guinn: I’ll be back. Bet your money on me!

Eastside Boxing: As always it’s a pleasure man and good luck on your career.

Dominick Guinn: You’re welcome and thank you.

Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk
Contributing Writer & Photographer

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