Radio host Jenna J talks to Promoter Don King regarding the Guillermo Jones vs Denis Lebedev fight and subsequent controversy.
Jenna J: Don, it’s a pleasure having you come on the show. My first question for you -There’s been a lot of controversy coming of late in regards to Guillermo Jones, they want to reverse the decision, there’s some stuff going on about the drug testing that happened over there, saying he tested positive for a banned substance.
What are your views on everything that’s going on over in Russia?
Don King: Well, it’s all lies. We had it checked over here with our sample and it came back negative, but this is no more than I thought they would do. From the very beginning this is what we said, but we will answer that because it was a shock to me that it came out, but this is what I feared would happen. When I was there they refused to give me samples and the WBA did say that they had to give samples to the doctor we had there, and he took it to whatever the institution is in America. What I suspected did take place, and I will have a formal statement later.
Jenna J: What happened exactly, after the fight, in terms of the testing and all that. I read there was some controversy in terms of collecting it, and stuff like that.
Can you tell me exactly what went on?
Don King: The suspicions that I had they bared fruit. Lebedev didn’t even take the test, the official for the fight, the supervisor, he said the whole thing was null and void because we were there and Guillermo Jones took every test that was there, he stayed there for several hours. In the meantime, Lebedev had been let go to the hospital, to get treated for whatever he had, brain damage or be blind, which I thought was it would be the proper thing to do. But Lebedev did not stop and do the urine test before he left. So then in order to try and equate that, they went about four hours later when he’s all drugged up on medicines, that they had been injecting in him, to try and make certain that he don’t have a really, really bad accident. They say he took a urine test but that don’t mean nothing, because the WBA supervisor says nothing because he wasn’t there to be. Both fighters are supposed to be there immediately to take the test and have samples for their respected doctors and organisations and whoever it is, who’s gonna do it. None of that happened, the only one that was there was us, and that means me and Guillermo Jones. They never showed up with Lebedev at all, in fact, we don’t even know if he was ever even tested. It was a situation where it was a stacked deck kind of situation – if you know what I mean. None of that is unfamiliar, we understand it, that’s why I was prepared to be able to do all the right things that were necessary to prevent all of these would be allegations and accusations.
Jenna J: Don, you mentioned that it was a stacked deck, Guillermo Jones was clearly winning in most peoples eyes, he beats up Lebedev, he destroys the guy with one of the most grotesque injury’s we’ve seen. Now there’s a chance they could take away this win from him.
What do you see for Guillermo Jones future if they go through with reversing the decision?
Don King: They are not gonna take it away. This is one of the biggest scandals that there has ever been in the history of the sport because I don’t back down. I feel that everyone is entitled to fair play, justice has to prevail. This man was being a man, yet what you just said; every scorecard had the other man beating him. I’m just letting you know exactly what you’re up against. From the confessions of the doctor, the doctor said afterwards, a fight contest should go to the extent that we jeopardise, knowingly, the blindness of a fighter or that kind of problematic thing, because you are in the hurt business. This guy couldn’t see from the sixth round on and I thought the fight should have been stopped.
Without me knowing anything about it, about a week or two or three, the doctor made the statement that if he ‘stopped the fight he would have been a dead man’, and all of these things come out to something to that effect, it was gonna be retribution to him, whichever way he saw it. This was the confession of the doctor, he kept going to the ring and looking at the mans eye, but he’s saying a stranger of some sort, knowingly, he wasn’t gonna say who it was, threatened him and telling him not stop the fight. So all these type of things come out as we go along in the process, but this only urges me more to say we gotta have a sample for everything we do. So it’s not left in the hands of the would be perpetrator and maybe there would never be, but if it don’t be then we aint got no problem with it, so lets have more than one opinion.
We had our opinion here, from America, and America found it negative. We sent that into the WBA months ago, so now, five months later they come up with something is wrong! It does not hold water; I’m really saddened by it.
Jenna J: Don, do you think this type of situation coming up is going to discourage other fighters from going over to foreign countries, in fear that this may happen to them too?
Don King: Well, that’s another story, we will deal with the thing that’s immediately at hand, and that’s the highway robbery and trying to infringe upon this mans fantastic stamina and ability and ‘never say die’ attitude to to go out and fight this man and go all the way down to the end, to the fighter himself, fighter himself took the knee and said I can’t go any further. That in itself answers the question, nobody done anything, the referee didn’t do anything, to stop the fight, the doctor couldn’t do anything to stop the fight according to his testimony.
So, here we are in a situation where the fighter himself says he can’t go on any further, and instead of them looking at the glorious victory they are trying to get a return match straight away, that’s what they wanted. They could of done that if they done the proper thing to get the rematch. I have to be sure that if you can beat him once, then you can beat him twice. But in this here, it’s either my way or the highway and that’s not acceptable.
Jenna J: Don, you actually have one of the more unique fighters that boxing’s ever seen. Guillermo Jones, he started at one hundred and forty seven pounds, six foot three, he’s fought all the way up to be a cruiser weight champion. I just wonder what are your thoughts there on what you have as a fighter?
Don King: I think he’s a hell of a fighter, a fabulous, fabulous fighter, the guy demonstrates life, you get knocked down you get back up, you dust yourself down and get back into the game. Guillermo Jones is an epitome of that, he has the intestinal fortitude and the will to win, which he exemplifies magnificently. So just like you said, he’s come from one hundred and forty seven to two hundred pounds.
Jenna J: Final question for you Don before I let you off the line. You are now eighty one years old, you’ve been in the promotional business a very long time. What keeps you going at this point and what keeps you going in the future?
Don King: Well, people, people in this great glorious country called America. I believe in this country and I believe that it’s time that we started treating people alike and start working together, black and white alike, working together works and this is what my motivation is. The doors will open for me through my blessings through God with all people of all races and religions. I want to be able to reach back and give back to the community, to let them know that they take God with them and that they receive and accept his blessings and his guidance then they can do it too, they can be who they wanna be. This is the greatest country in the world, and you demonstrate that by bringing people together and continue to perform in spite of, not because of.
Boxing is life personified, you put on your clothes and you go out there in the foot race of life, and you deal with it, you get knocked down, you get back up, you dust yourself off and you get back into it. Your problem stands right in front of you, so you cannot procrastinate, you can’t run away from it, you’ve got to be able to deal with it, and that’s what we have in life.
I’m delighted to be able to talk to you and at the same time we’ve got to talk to the public, at large, about the greatness of this nation and what we have to do to live up to the challenge of liberty and justice for all, truth and to be self-evident that all men are created equal. We want to knock down the rest of that stuff and emblazon the world with the symbol of freedom and liberty.
Jenna J is the host of “On the Ropes” Radio.
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