The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
|Man To Man: Jones vs. Michalczewski|
August 20, 1999
Man To Man: Jones vs. Michalczewski
By Francis Walker
After two years of talking and waiting, young fight writer Francis Walker attempts to bring the world's top-two light-heavyweights together. Hopefully, this Roy Jones ( 40-1, 33KOs) vs. Dariusz Michalczewski (40-0, 33KOs) piece will lead to a possible showdown between the in early 2000.
For those who followed the light-heavyweight novice of 175 pounds, Michalczewski's desire to fight Jones, the Undisputed World Light-Heavyweight Champion, has rapidly grown in Europe. While Michalczewski, the unrecognized World Boxing Organization titlist, continues to press the issue of meeting Jones, the "Pound-For-Pound" king has "bigger" plans....
Without further delay, here's Europe's favorite son......
Francis Walker: Dariusz Michalczewski, you have been calling out Roy Jones, Jr., well over two years now. What is the problem, how come you two have not been able to make an agreement to meet in the ring?
Michalczewski: "I believe big fights like that must be growing. They need their time to realize. But the time has come now and Jones must finally take on me. The whole boxing world wants to see a fight between Jones and me. In my mind early next year it is about time that the fight takes place. We should fight as long as we are both on a winning streak. I want to face Jones before April of next year. We finally have to find out who is the better of us."
FW: In terms of Television rights, does your contract prohibits you from fighting for another network, or Europe for that matter?
Michalczewski: "No. That's nonsense. I can box in the USA as well. That's not an obstacle. That's not the problem."
FW: Dariusz, you are by far, the number two man at 175 pounds. You're one of the most popular fighters in Europe including Prince Naseem Hamed, Chris Eubank and Joe Calzaghe. However, wouldn't a four or five bout campaign here on American soil expand your market value as a major player in the Light Heavyweight division and force the powers of boxing to make a Jones-Michalczewski fight?
Michalczewski: "Yes. If I get more money or at least the same money over there that I get here I would fight in the USA. I'm a professional. I'm fighting wherever I get paid the most. If they find sponsors who offer me enough money I'm gladly willing to fight in America. When I come to the US the reason is not only to fight in that country, but also to make a lot of money."
FW: How much would it cost to have you perform here against Jones or anyone for that matter?
Michalczewski: "First Jones has to reach a financial agreement. I will be able to cope with my purse. I don't talk to them or to Jones about it, but only to my management. I'm not going to negotiate my purses with the whole world. I have my certain financial contact persons that I talk to. I don't like to discuss the subject of money with everybody."
FW: You've defeated Virgil Hill, and you are currently preparing to face Montell Griffin, who is subbing in for David Telesco, who pulled out. Do you feel your best bet on forcing a unification showdown with Jones is to single-handedly beat each and every top ranked fighter at 175? Even the fighters Jones has already defeated?
Michalczewski: "Roy Jones is also fighting against my sparring partners. I had Richard Frazier as sparring partner in Hamburg a couple of years ago. [Richard Frazier challenged Roy Jones for the WBC and WBA Titles in 1998. After the broadcast HBO commentator Larry Merchant apologized to the spectators for the unworthy challenger they just had to witness] I prepared with him for the Rocky fight in 96, because he was a southpaw. So I don't see a problem when I fight former Jones opponents, when I'm doing sparring with his title challengers."
FW: Why did David Telesco pull out from fighting you?
Michalczewski: "I have no idea. I don't look through that. I'm fighting anyone who my promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl selects. I just continue to fight against the guys who are on top of the rankings. I fight against the best, whereas Jones fights my sparring partners."
FW: Why did you pick Montell Griffin?
Michalczewski: "I can't answer that question. For these kinds of questions I have my management that I pay to take care of it. I can't do everything."
FW: How much do you know of Griffin?
Michalczewski: "I've seen his fights - live and on video. Not only those against Jones, but a couple of other fights as well. He is a small and quick guy with quite a hard punch and he is pretty mobile."
FW: Daruisz, you stand at an even 6' - 6' 1." Griffin is a small, but sturdy 5' 7." Have you ever fought anyone so small as a Light Heavyweight before?
Michalczewski: "Yes. I believe it was in my fifth fight as a professional. I fought against quite a couple of small guys. I can't say whether this suits me or not. Sometimes small opponents suit me, sometimes tall opponents. I can't say that in general small opponents suit me and tall opponents don't. But when you feel strong and you think that you are the best, you must be able to beat any kind of opponent - small ones and tall ones."
FW: Griffin, at one point, was considered one of boxing's best defensive fighters up until he fought Roy Jones in August 1997. Have you ever felt that way? Also, have you ever fought anyone with the defensive skills Griffin has?
Michalczewski: "Sure I did. Virgil Hill is one of them. The way he moves and the way he is counter boxing - there are few fighters like him. People were saying that Henry Maske was the best defensive fighter at Light Heavyweight, but Hill made him look silly and beat him. And after that I beat Hill. And Hill was much taller than Griffin is. If you are tall you have more possibilities, like fighting from a distance."
FW: Griffin has a style that makes fighters look bad, because he is so small and hard to hit cleanly. Are you concerned at all, as to whether you may not look good against Griffin, style wise with you being the taller fighter?
Michalczewski: "You always have to put up with that. Most important is you win. You cannot box beautiful all the time. You have to accept that sometimes you can win ugly. Main thing, you win."
FW: Since Griffin is a different fighter from many of the other combatants at 175, will you change your original training routine? What new things will you be working on, and how will you go about preparing yourself so that whatever Griffin does, you'll know how to react effectively?
Michalczewski: "Sure there are specific things that I work on. As always I will work a lot with my jab. The jab is very effective against small opponents. I'm also going to use uppercuts with both hands. I will also put pressure on him from the beginning. My trainer Fritz [Sdunek] and me are working since a couple of weeks. We will prepare a total of 12 weeks. I have certain sparring partners, who are as small and sturdy as Montell Griffin is. So I get used to his size."
FW: After Griffin, who is next? Telesco or Graciano Rocchigiani?
Michalczewski: "I can't say that. I'm planning from fight to fight. My great aim is to fight against Roy Jones. He must stop hiding. He talks about silly things like fighting at Heavyweight. But the whole world wants to see the fight between Jones and me. So it must take place someday. I don't think it should be a big problem to raise a sufficient high purse for both of us."
FW: How close are you toward signing a rematch with Rocchiginai or a first fight with Jones?
Michalczewski: "It's the job of my management to take care of that. Of course there is a lot of interest in a rematch between Rocky and me in Germany. But internationaly the most interesting fight is the one between Jones and me. There are only few of those possible big fights in boxing. It's Holyfield-Lewis, Oscar de la Hoya-Trindad and Michalczewski-Jones."
FW: Dariusz, you are now a World Champion for almost five years and you are a boxer for almost your whole life. How comes you are still motivated during your daily workout and sparring?
Michalczewski: "I enjoy it. What motivates me are my aims and the atmosphere of our gym. I contributed a lot to the development of the gym. I love to train here. A couple of weeks after my fights I already start to miss the gym and the other guys that are training here."
FW: "Lastly, you have 16 defenses of the World Boxing Organization Light Heavyweight championship. What is the focal-point of your focus now? Defeating every one of the top 175-pounders until you reach 20-25 defenses?"
Michalczewski: "No. I don't think I want to do that. I want to fight against Roy Jones and win the WBC Title - the only one I was never holding. After that comes a point where I will think about hanging up my gloves. Someday you must end it. I don't like to wait until other people tell me to retire. I want to set a limit for myself and when I reach the limit I will retire on my own. As long as I put on good performances nobody can approach me and tell me to finish. I have to make that decision alone."
Here's what Jones had to say......
FW: Again, congratulations upon becoming boxing's first Undisputed World Light-Heavyweight Champion in 14 years. As I've said three years ago.... World Championship unification is something that has eluded you. You could not leave the game without having that distinction. 175 pounds is a long way from 160.
Roy Jones: "It's all about opportunity you know? Sometimes when certain promoters have certain fighters you just can't make things happen. I'm just blessed to have caught all those fighters that had those other belts. With a good promoter in Cedric Kushner, Cedric enabled me to have the opportunity to fight these guys. You know if I get the opportunity to fight, you know I'm gonna do my thing."
FW: Regardless to what fans and writers said of your dedication to boxing through the years, I believe your victory against Reggie Johnson on June 5, solidified Roy Jones' place as an all-time, great.
FW: In Germany right now, there are two trash-talking light-heavyweights in Dariusz Michalczewski and Graciano Rocchigiani looking to pick a fight with you. What's that all about?
Jones: "They say they want a shot, but they are not really making an effort like they want it. Dariusz says this and says that. I told him: ' y'all give me $12 million and I'll go over there and beat Dariusz in Germany. I'll do it whenever they want it. however they want it; whenever they get ready. It does not take much to get Roy Jones to fight me."
FW: Not trying to be funny, but do you think you can beat both Michalczewski and Rocchigiani on the same night with one drink of water between bouts?
Jones: "More than likely I should be able to. With no problem. Michalczewaski would be harder. I would have to be in good shape. Rocchigiani just covers up. I can hit both of them at will. Michalczewski, I can hit him at will. No fighter alive can allow me to hit them at will and expect to do well. Rocchigiani, he just likes to cover-up and look for one shot hoping I punch myself out. That's not gonna happen."
FW: Another thing I would like to address is the situation with the sanctioning bodies. The WBC gave you between August and October to fight their interim champ in Rocchigiani. If not, you'd have to surrender the WBC title and $600,000?
Jones: "Not $600,000, but I would have to give up the title. I'm not gonna let anyone order me around. The fight against Rocky should be bad, because all Rocky does is cover-up! He really doesn't fight. You go over to Germany and they're going to rob. I'll be looking to do it, but over here in the United States."
FW: Another thing.... The WBA mandatory is interim champion, Richard Hall? I don't even know who he is.
Jones: "Right, how did he become interim champ? I know nothing about it. Like I told you before, I am very tired of the organizations and the sanctioning bodies. I'm not going to put up with it much longer. Either they let me do how I do it, or I'm just going to surrender the belts."
FW: The IBF has Antonio Tarver as their No. 1 man? Firstly, with him being a Don King fighter, I thought he was on the shelf. Second, who has a beat to earn a number one ranking?
Jones: "I don't know, I have no clue! How did the guy that just beat Frankie Liles get to be number one or a top-15 fighter?
FW: Is the sport crumbling?
Jones: "I know the sport is crumbling. I know the sport is crumbling, but it will comeback. Hopefully, the people like Senator McCain will step in, kicking in doors to try and find answers to why this stuff is going on. Somebody cares, somebody is trying to get something done about it. I hope it happens very soon."
FW: Is Don King the main culprit?
Jones: "It's not just one person, it's a group of people."
FW: It seemed as thought the sport was making a tremendous comeback, until the World Boxing Council ruled Ricky Frazier, a 40-year-old, New York City Police officer as their mandatory at 175.
Jones: "Lays down, doesn't fight!"
FW: That was nicest Roy Jones I saw since you won the WBC crown in November 1996 when you defeated Mike McCallum. Thanks always, and congratulations once again!
In addition: Jones has been talking about the possibility of fighting at heavyweight. Jones wants to move up to 188-190 to fight WBA/IBF champ, Evander Holyfield. Jones would do fairly well against Holyfield, providing "The Real Deal" does not have anymore fights left in him. Jones would also do well against small heavyweight from 5' 10" - 6' 2," 190-215 pounds. However, Jones does not have the firepower to keep Mike Tyson off of him for an entire 10-12 rounds without getting caught. Also, someone like Chris Byrd would be a dangerous fight for Jones because, 1) He's a southpaw. 2) Byrd is just as clever as Jones and 3) would be just as fast.
In order for Jones to compete as a heavyweight the risk must be worth the reward.
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