JG: I was a
police officer in Scranton Pennsylvania and I just wanted to
have something extra on the street. There was a guy who worked
for the city who was a professional boxer. Him and I got
talking and he said to me "why dont you come down and take a few
boxing lessons?" I went down to the Irish Boxing Club and met
with Gene Reed and took some lessons. About 2 weeks later, I
had my first amateur fight. I had no idea what I was doing. I
just really enjoyed fighting, so I stuck with it.
DE: Having achieved various accolades at regional and
national level as an amateur, what were your goals when you
JG: I really didn't
have any goals when I turned pro. Honestly, I really didn't
even know what to expect. I signed with Goossen Tutor
Promotions right out of the amateurs. It was really nice to
have a company like them behind me because I was fortunate
not to have to deal with things like selling tickets, or
worrying about travel, making little money. I know guys who
fight on club shows for like $400. I was very blessed not
to have to deal with that part of the professional game
thanks to Goossen Tutor. I am very grateful to them for
signing me right from the start. I got to fight on
television which was awesome. I would fight on tv and go
back to the police department and all of the guys thought
that it was the coolest thing. It was really a fun time for
me getting to experience these things.
DE: Whenever you take a fight at short notice, what kind
of things do you try to work on within a short space of
JG: It is really
difficult to work on things within a short amount of time. If
it was that easy, then the top guys would just have a camp
for only a week or two. It takes a solid 8 week camp to
really get your craft down to where you want it. I am
always in the gym staying active, staying in some kind of
shape. But there is a huge difference in training just to
stay busy or training for a fight. It is two totally
different worlds. When I do get a call for a fight on short
notice, normally I just run a lot more often. You're really
not going to pick anything up boxing wise, so I just try to
get my cardio a little better for the fight.
DE: What are some of the shortest notice fights you've
JG: Well, I have no
manager and no promoter right now. I make all of my own
phone calls and try to get on shows, but it is very
difficult because if the promoter of the show doesn't have
you signed or has some type of financial gain with you, then
he doesn't want you on the show. Why would he spend money
for someone to fight and get a win if he isn't going to get
that money back and then some? So in this case, I get phone
calls from managers with mainly 3-4 days notice. I fought
in Hong Kong on 3 days notice against a guy named Lucas
Browne. I flew something like 22 hours, landed on a
Sunday, had the weigh-ins on Monday, and fought on Tuesday.
Last month, I fought Amir Mansour on 1 days notice. They
called me on a Wednesday, I flew there on a Thursday, and I
fought him on Friday night. That is the only reason why I
have picked up so many loses lately. I am coming off of 7
loses in a row now. The only 2 fight that I was able to
train for out of my last 7 was Steve Cunningham, where I
lost a 10 round decison, and my last fight with Oleg Maskaev
which I won but they gave him the decision. Both of those
fights I trained a solid 3 weeks for. I haven't had the
luxury on knowing 6-8 weeks out that I have a fight coming
DE: How would you rate your recent performance in the
tightly contested encounter with Oleg Maskaev? Did he still
have some of that power that once made him a force to be
JG: I was a sparring
partner about 5 years ago for Oleg in West Palm Beach, Fl.
for a fight that he had coming up. I knew then of his
power. So in my mind, I was going to be very cautious in
the first few rounds just to see how much power that he
still had. I was very surprised that he really didn't have
much power as he did 5 years ago. He never hurt me during
the fight with any punches. I was very happy with my
performance. I trained only 3 weeks for this fight and I
went 10 rounds with the former WBC Heavyweight champion of
the world. To me that says alot. He really didn't even hit
me much at all. It is now Thursday, May 30th and the fight
was just 4 nights ago. I am already back to work in the gym
and I am feeling great. He didn't do anything to me to make
me think that he has a chance to make any kind of impact now
in the heavyweight division.
DE: Would you say journeymen and
gatekeepers are under-appreciated in the sport?
JG: I think that
journeymen and gatekeepers are necessary in boxing. Normally
us gatekeepers have either fought champions, or at least
have had some type of title. We go from fight to fight with
everything against us. We are always brought in as the
opponent and pretty much unless we knock the guy out, we
will never get the win. It doesn't matter how we looked in
the fight or how much we beat our opponent. Unless he is
asleep on the canvas, we will lose the fight! We are
definitely underpaid as well. You are always getting low
balled for fights. If I'm coming into a fight against a
former world champion in the main event on television, don't
you think that I should get paid pretty good? Well that is
never the case. I deserve to make a decent payday being
brought halfway around the world pretty much as a
sacraficial lamb. And then you only get called at the last
minute! Give me 6-8 solid weeks to train to fight your guy
and let's see what happens.
DE: Whenever you are brought in as "the opponent," does
it usually feel like the result will go against you no
matter what, unless you're able to force a stoppage?
JG: Absolutely! We
know that we are coming there to lose. You simply will not
get a fair chance to win a decision as an opponent. Especially
overseas. My fight with Oleg Maskaev was pretty close. I
thought that I definitely won, as did many of the people at
the fight and many sports writers. The referee was against
me right from the start. He was constantly telling me not
to do things that Oleg was doing to me the whole fight! So I
am pretty much fighting 2 different people in one fight. I
even said to the ref in the beginning of the 3rd round to
just let me fight. Watch the video. You can hear it very
clearly. He was harassing me. It was crazy. They wanted
Oleg to win the fight period by any means necessary. The
ref against me, the judges against me. One of the judges
had the fight scored 98-90. Is that even possible in a
competitive 10 round fight? I feel cheated out of the win.
I trained very hard and sacraficed a lot of time away from
my family just to have the fight stolen from me. It is not
fair. But, I continue to do it. I could stop at any time
but I choose to continue my boxing career.
I want to mention one more fight which is a perfect example
of being brought in as an opponent and having to pretty much
kill the guy to get the victory. On May 29, 2010, I fought
Johnathon Banks on A K2 promoted card in Germany. The fight
was for his NABF title and I was brought in as the opponent.
Johnathon is obviously promoted by K2 Promotions. We were
the main event on the card and obviously Johnathon was being
showcased. I beat him by 10 rounds to 2, maybe 9-3. at the
end of the night the judges gave us a draw. Before the
decision was announced at the end of the fight, it was
taking a long time to finally hear the decision. That is
never a good sign for you as the opponent. Johnathon and
his trainer said that they were going to give me the fight
that I deserved the win. Johnathon might be better than me
364 days out of the year, but on that one night I was
definitely the better man. I should have gotten that
decision. I earned it!
DE: No matter who you're in the ring with, you always
come forward. Do you pride yourself in doing your part to
ensure that your fights are crowd-pleasing?
JG: I do not, nor
have I ever taken any fight just for a payday. I am a
fighter and I love to fight. Even if I come into a fight on
short notice, You can be for sure that I will be there to
fight and leave all that I have inside of that squared
circle. This is entertainment and the fans want to see a
fight. They are not coming there to see someone take a knee
in the first round just to collect a payday. Even if I know
that I am not properly prepared for the fight, I will still
fight you until the end. If you watch my fights, most of
the time like the case in Russia against Oleg Maskaev, Oleg
won the fight on paper but I won with the crowd. After the
fight, I couldn't get into my dressing room because of the
amount of people wanting autographs and pictures. That is
how I judge my performance. If after the fight I have alot
of people waiting for me, then I know that the crowd was
pleased. The fans are what make the sport. If it wasn't
for them, then we would not have boxing. I am very grateful
to all of my fans.
DE: Over the years you have been a popular choice as a
test for guys that have been looking to step up to world
level. Why do you feel that the management of these boxers
tend to look your way?
JG: I really don't
know why I am a popular choice for these types of fighters.
I feel that they know that I come to fight each and
everytime that I step into the ring. They know that I am
really going to test their guy in every aspect of their game.
I do feel that I am a world class fighter. I mean I have
fought all over the world on some of the biggest fight cards
against the biggest opponents. And I am still getting calls
for fights overseas. I never thought in the beginning of my
career that I would be traveling like I am and being the
gatekeeper that I am. I have been truly blessed by God to
still be able to get these fight calls and still being able
to compete at this level and beating some of these guys. I
am still healthy, I am not beat up at all, I am pretty much
injury free minus a few aches and pains but overall, I am
still in pretty good shape and feel that I can still compete
for a few more years.
DE: You've shared the ring with a multitude of big names.
Who would you say has been: The biggest puncher? The most
technically sound? The most durable?
JG: Yes, it is true
that I have been in the ring with pretty much every world
champion over the past 5-7 years as a sparring partner,
while I have also have fought most of the top rated
contenders. I am coming off of 7 loses in a row. Most of
those fights were taken on very short notice, but I would
step into the ring with any fighter in the world. My last 7
opponents have a combined record of 115-11. Please tell me
what other heavyweight in the world is fighting opponents at
this level? 115-11! That's crazy. I would say that the
most technically sound fighter that I have ever fought was
Mariusz Wach from Poland. I fought him on 4 days notice and
was out of shape for that fight. He dropped me twice during
the fight but I was never hurt. I was TKO'd on my feet in
the 6th round. The ref jumped in and stopped the fight after
I took a big shot. Funny after he fights me that he fights
Klitschko for a Heavyweight championship. From me to
Klitschko? I guess I must have some pull. And, Wach tests
positive for PEDs in the Klitschko fight. He had to be on
them with me and he still couldn't knock me out. The
biggest puncher I would have to say would be Dennis Boystov
from Germany. This fight is on You Tube for anyone who
wants to see it. I think I was knocked down like 5 times
during the fight. He kept knocking me down but I never
stayed down. I kept getting up. I feel that I have tested
all of these guys.
DE: What have been some of your most enjoyable
experiences throughout your career?
JG: The first
thought that comes to my mind is being a sparring partner
for Wladimir Klitschko for his fight with Jean Mormeck. I
was only there for 10 days and sparred with him like 6-8
rounds at a time. I am not going to lie that I was
terrified to get into the ring with him. I don't think that
I did my best in that camp, but I really hope that I can get
back there again as a sparring partner.
Another one that
really sticks in my mind is winning the WBC Cabofe title
from Manuel Quezada in California. It was such an awesome
feeling to hear Jimmy Lennon Jr. say "And the new!" I was
jumping around the ring like a big kid.
Getting to meet some
of the best boxers and trainers in the sport today. Hall of
fame category of people. I never thought when starting my
career in boxing that I would have traveled to the places
that I have, meet the people that I have met. Boxing have
been so wonderful to me and my family. Memories that will
last a lifetime and things that I can sit down with my
grandchildren and talk about.
DE: How content are you with your boxing achievements?
JG: I am very
content with my achievements. I mean, for my story of being
a police officer, to quitting the police force, just to
fight full time. My family being there from the first time
that I ever put on a pair of boxing gloves, to traveling the
world with me and supporting me in my fights. My son, my
father, my wife, my mother, my sister. Every fight that I
have had, my family has had with me. They have been my
backbone during my career. I am very happy with my
DE: Bryant Jennings, Malik
Scott, and Deontay Wilder are obviously undefeated
heavyweights from the USA who have been generating a lot of
interest. From that list who do you think is the most likely
to go on and contest world titles?
JG: You asked me a
few questions ago that when I am brought in as an opponent,
do I feel that I need to get a stoppage just to win the
fight? A prime example of this was Malik Scotts last fight
against Glazkov. Malik was being brought in as an opponent
on a Main Events card. The fight was a 10 round fight and
Malik easily beat the guy. 8 rounds to 2 maybe 7 to 3. This
fight was on national television all over the United States
and everyone had Malik easily winning the fight. When the
decision was announced, the fight was declared a draw. Such
a disgrace! It doesn't matter if you are an undefeated
fighter or a gatekeeper as myself, the fight can be taken
away from you very easily. The corruption in this sport is
so unfair! No one looked at the judges! No one held them
accountable for their scores. This boxing game is
But to answer your
question, out of the fighters above that you mentioned, I
think that Bryant Jennings and Malik Scott would most likely
have the best chances at contesting for a world title. Who
has Wilder fought?
DE: When you eventually hang up your gloves, do you
intend to remain in boxing?
JG: I would love to
get into commentating. I have seen the job that BJ Flores,
Paulie Malinaggi, Andre Ward, and a few other fighters have
done and they all have done such a great job. I know that I
would definitely do very well at this. I actually had the
honor to sit ringside and commentate for the last fight of
Hector Camacho Sr. It was at the Kissimmee Civic Center
here in Florida and I had such a great time. I don't have
the connections to make this happen, so if you know of
anyone who is looking for a sexy heavyweight to be a fun
commentator, please let me know!
DE: Do you have any boxing-related regrets?
JG: No, I don't have
any boxing related regrets. I mean I wish that I had
someone who really looked out for my best interests and
moved me along the right way. When I turned pro, I started
off pretty good but I then started to fight hard opponents
right away. It was great to have this experience, but I
wish that I could have gotten my wins up more and had more
time to mature as a professional rather then just bein
thrown right into the lion's den. I truly believe that if I
was moved the right way and had the right people behind me
that I could have been put in a much better positon to fight
for a world title and make more money. But it's all good.
I am very happy with my accomplishments having pretty much
managed my own career.
DE: Do you have any boxing idols from past or present
that you look up to and/or admire?
JG: I don't give the
typical answer that alot of fighters do. Ali, Tyson,
Patterson, Frazier, etc. I mean they are all great
champions and yes I look up to them for paving the way for
the rest of us, but I really like the underdogs. The guy
who fight his heart out when he isn't making the millions
and no matter what, always puts on a great show for the fans.
It's those guys who fight because they love it, not because
they have to. The guys who work during the day and train at
night because their passion is boxing. Guys like Emanuel
Agustus and Arturo Gatti. I really look up to anyone that
steps into the ring and leaves their heart and soul inside.
People in general, including all media and boxing writers
have no idea what it takes to step into the ring and
actually get punched in the face. They can talk all that
they want sitting behind their laptops, but until they ever
step into the ring to actually have a fight, you really
can't say much.
DE: What kind of interests do
you have outside of boxing?
JG: Outside of
boxing it is all about church and family! My wife is a
church pastor and myself and my kids are very involved with
our church also. I am involved with our church youth group
and help them out every Friday night. I pretty much serve
in church wherever there is a need. It is such an awesome
experience for me as a father to have my kids so involved in
church the way that they are. We are all truly blessed.
DE: A random fact about you that boxing fans probably
don't already know?
JG: I am married for
16 years to my beautiful wife who I have known since we were
10 years old. We met each other in church Sunday School
class and she immediately fell head over heels for me.
Seriously, we grew up together and we got married at 18
years old. We have two awesome kids. Our daughter Leaira
is 15 and our son Landon is 12. We also just had a new
addition tho the family. We just adopted a little 5 year old
girl named Angelia. She is such a blessing to our family
and the kids adore her. It has been a big adjustment, but
so far so good. We have been truly blessed to have her.
DE: Final words?
JG: First, I want to
thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for watching over me
throughout my career. It is only through him that I stay
healthy and I am still able to fight. It has been a very long
road form the start of my amateur career to now just having my
40th pro fight last week. My wife has been my backbone
throughout this journey. She still supports me and I would not
be able to do this without her. My trainer Walter Collazo and I
have been all over the world together. I love that guy. Minus
boxing, he is like a brother to me.