|Interview - Squeezed Out: Shaun George still getting shunned at 175
By Rob Tierney, BrickCityBoxing / Doghouse Boxing (May 27, 2009)
He finally made it or so it seemed. On May 16th in Las Vegas last year, Shaun George dropped former Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd in the ninth round of a non title fight enroute to winning a stunning technical knockout. Substantial offers were bound to start falling on the table. Still, one year after defeating Chris Byrd in front of a televised audience on ESPN, the Light Heavyweight division continues to shun Shaun George.
I caught up with the Brooklyn native on Memorial Day to hear his thoughts on why he is struggling to gain recognition and respect in his division. Here is what he had to say.
Rob Tierney: Good Afternoon Shaun, what have you been up to these days?
Shaun George: Not too much! I'm just working out, keeping in shape and taking care of my newborn son and family.
RT: Did you catch the Dawson vs Tarver fight a few weeks ago?
SG: Yes I did.
RT: What did you think of the fight?
SG: I thought it was a good fight. Antonio Tarver fought hard but came up short. However, I must say that I was not impressed with some of the things I was hearing from the commentators.
RT: What do you mean?
SG: I really didn't like how the commentators were cutting down the sport and as well as my division by claiming that there is no competition at Light Heavyweight when I am out here canvassing for a fight. They keep talking about Chad Dawson and how talented he is and how there is no one at his level in the division. Yet, there is a lot of talent in the division. Look at me!
RT: It appears that you were offended by these type of statements.
SG: Absolutely! Think about it, when you watch the NBA, you don't hear the commentators cutting down Kobe Bryant or Lebron James all the time. The commentators talk them up which helps their sport. You don't hear that in Boxing. The Dawson vs Tarver fight was a good example. I don't want to hear how Chad Dawson has no one to fight when all he has is great talent to fight.
RT: You mentioned how you felt that Tarver fought a good fight. What are your thoughts on Chad Dawson?
SG: Let me tell you something! I understand that there is a lot of politics in Boxing, but I am so ahead of him right now. The way that I have been working, he wouldn't be able to beat me. I don't want to hear about him having no one to fight.
RT: Shaun, you bring up an interesting point. I keep hearing a lot of names being tossed around the Light Heavyweight division in addition to Chad Dawson such as Glen Johnson as well as Roy Jones Jr. Still, it seems that no one is talking about signing to fight Shaun George. Do you think these guys may feel as if fighting an opponent such as yourself is too big of a risk at this time?
SG: Yeah... but that is what boxing is supposed to be about. The sport needs big fights. Boxing is becoming too much of a business right now. In every other sport, the best compete against the best. In fact, it isn't just Chad Dawson. For instance, you have Glen Johnson!
RT: What about Glen Johnson?
SG: Everyone keeps talking about Glen Johnson and how he is being avoided. Yet, I have been calling out Glen Johnson for years. I'm tired of hearing about how the obstacle is money. The way to make money in Boxing is to make big fights. There may be a lot of fighters ducking Glen Johnson but I don't feel bad for him because Glen Johnson is ducking me.
RT: The Dawson vs Tarver rematch was fought on the one year anniversary of your win over Chris Byrd. Do you think that the Byrd fight may have scared other fighters away?
SG: I really do! Before the Chris Byrd fight, it was hard to land a big fight. After I beat Byrd, it was even harder.
RT: Why do you think that it was even harder? Shouldn't it have been a stepping stone?
SG: When Antonio Tarver beat Eric Harding, he was given a title shot against Montell Griffin. When Chad Dawson beat Harding, he was given a title shot against Tomasz Adamek. When I beat Byrd, I got nothing. I wasn't even granted a good non title fight. No one has stepped up to fight me.
RT: Speaking of the Chris Byrd fight, I must say that it was an impressive performance. Before the fight, you were recognized for your speed and your effective jab. Did that fight establish you as a knock out artist? Will we see more KO's from Shaun George in the future? More KO's could improve your marketability.
SG: Yes, you will see more KO's from Shaun George in the future. I will be looking for the KO in every round of every fight. I promise to give the audience fan friendly fights. However, I need someone to fight.
RT: I noticed that you had a fight back in February. What happened there?
SG: I fought Jaffa Ballagou and knocked him out in the first round. Jaffa is a man who fought Daniel Judah as well as Ike Quartey and had 40 knockouts in 46 wins. I didn't know anything about him before I fought him but I came in shape and I went in there and took him out early.
RT: I know it is tough to say since everyone is steering clear of you, but what are your future plans in Boxing?
SG: I am looking at getting back in the ring in July. I'm still in shape and ready to go. I just need someone who wants to fight.
RT: What about other belt holders in the division such as Zsoldt Erdei or Hugo Garay? A win over one of them could put a belt strap in your display case and possible persuade other big names to fight you.
SG: Absolutely, I would love to fight either one of those guys. I'd even fight them on their home turf. There is also Adrian Diaconu. I would love to fight him too for the WBC belt. I am willing to fight anyone of them because I know that I would win.
RT: You seem pretty comfortable at Light Heavyweight. If no one steps up at 175 would you be willing to entertain fights in other divisions?
SG: Without question! I am very comfortable at Light Heavyweight. In fact, I am undefeated in the division. Yet, if no one is willing to fight me then I would be willing to fight someone at Cruiserweight. I would take a rematch with Matt Godfrey or even a Title fight with Tomasz Adamek. The only thing I wouldn't do is drop down to Super Middleweight because I simply cannot make the weight.
RT: Understandable! I don't think anyone would expect you to drop any more weight. Instead, it would make sense for someone to throw up an offer at 175 or 200 LBS.
SG: Rob, I just want everyone to know that I am not ducking anyone. I want all my fans to realize that I am not holding out for too much money. I am not over pricing myself or doing anything to overcomplicate things. I simply want a big fight and network recognition.
RT: Fair enough Shaun! I will close with one more question. You have accomplished a great deal as an amateur. You had a solid record and you won two New York State Golden Glove Championships. What would your ultimate goal be as a professional?
SG: I would love to be Light Heavyweight Champion of the World and make it into the Hall of Fame. However, in order to do that I need big fights. If you look at Roy Jones, Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson you will see that someobody gave them a chance. In order to achieve my long term goals I need to achieve my short term goals. I need big fights. I'm calling out everyone and letting them know I am ready to fight. I am ready for my chance.
RT: Well thanks again Shaun. Hopefully someone will step up and give you a fight. Thanks for your time today and good luck in the future.
SG: Thanks Rob, take care and have a good day!
Only time will tell if the top fighters at light heavyweight will step up and give Shaun George his chance. Hopefully for Shaun's sake, as well as for the sport of boxing, they will.
For more from Rob, you can also visit: BrickCityBoxing.com/
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2009