Topic to Topic with William Joppy: Unfinished Business
Interview by Chris Robinson (November 9, 2004)
When speaking with William Joppy, the phrase ‘Unfinished Business’ was expressed on more than a few occasions, and that phrase seemed to set the tone of my interview with the former 2 time WBA Middleweight Champion. Joppy is a man who has been through a lot in his life, both in and out of the ring and he wants it to be known that his ride is far from over.
In this interview Joppy discusses such topics as his upcoming December 4th fight with Jermain Taylor, fighting in the city of Las Vegas, his boxing idol Sugar Ray Leonard, and his thoughts on current Middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. Also present was Joppy’s advisor JD Brown, who had a few thoughts of his own to share. So with that, I take you to William Joppy, topic to topic…
On his December 4th bout vs. Jermain Taylor...
“I’m going to be taking Jermain Taylor to school. It’s youth against wisdom. I think he’s biting off a little more than he can handle. The last three years I’ve been inactive. In 2002 I only fought once, in 2003 I only fought once and this is my only fight of 2004 but I’m still ready to go.”
On Howard Eastman, who is next in line to face Middleweight king Bernard Hopkins, and whom Joppy also defeated in November 2001…
“ He’s a good fighter but I’d knock him out if we fought again. I’d train hard this time because I know he brings something to the table. I trained for my fight against him but I just didn’t take him that seriously, I said to myself ‘Who’s Howard Eastman?’ I was coming off of the fight with Trinidad and I just wasn’t pumped up about it. If you watched the fight I wiped him out in the early rounds and he just came on in the later rounds. He came on pretty strong at the end but I just wasn’t there. If I fought him again I’d stop him! Eastman-Hopkins is a good fight but Bernard wins. Eastman is a good, strong fighter but all he tries to do is throw sneaky uppercuts. Bernard’s too smart for that. I don’t see a knockout but Bernard will win unanimously.”
On Bernard Hopkins…
“Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter, a very disciplined fighter. He never impressed me but he’s disciplined and he sticks to his game plan, stays focused in and out of the ring. That’s why he’s where he is today. He’s a good fighter but I think they should stop trying to compare Hopkins’ fights with Trinidad and De la Hoya to the great fights like Leonard-Hearns and Leonard-Hagler. Me vs. Taylor will be more like a Leonard-Hearns fight than those two fights were.”
On Sugar Ray Leonard’s classic fight with Thomas Hearns …
“In my eyes, Ray Leonard was the best fighter that ever did it. In this fight you have two guys who where young and fresh and they could both box and bang. I mean they were both in their primes, it was the best fight ever. They just displayed everything, inside fighting, outside boxing. There’s a reason why they called it ‘The Fight.’ It was a great fight.”
On Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler…
“Great fight, man. Here you have a guy like Leonard who stuck to his game plan and didn’t get distracted like me when I fought Trinidad. Leonard just boxed him and moved. A lot of people say that Hagler won that fight but I don’t know what they are looking at.”
On his friend and fellow fighter Jerry Ballard, who was murdered on August 3rd, 1999…
“I knew Jerry real well. He was a funny man. He could have been a comedian. He was a good buddy of mine, I miss him a lot. The way he left, it was pretty rough to take.”
Joppy’s advisor JD Brown commenting on why Joppy wasn’t as sharp as usual against Bernard Hopkins…
“One of the reasons why Joppy didn’t perform well against Bernard Hopkins, and a lot of people don’t know about it, is the fact he was accused of a crime he had nothing to do with.”
Joppy following Brown’s lead on the allegations…
“They said I broke a guy’s jaw, that I kidnapped him, put him in a truck and drove off. And it wasn’t even my case. The night I fought Bernard Hopkins I had two warrants out for my arrest and it wasn’t even my case. Things like that happen. You have your spring time and your fall time and that was just my fall time. I’ve now relocated to New Jersey and I just got my mind cleared up and that’s what I’ve been doing all year long, just getting my life together. I’ve just been trying to get back on track and get the negative people out of my life. I have unfinished business, and I plan on making it to the Hall of Fame.”
On his friend and fellow fighter, former Heavyweight Champion Hasim Rahman, who fights Kali Meehan Nov.13 on HBO PPV…
“When Rahman knocked Lewis out he was focused man, very focused. He was focused, trained hard and it was a great fight. I think he could have done it again in the rematch but he wasn’t as focused for the rematch. I was training with him up in Big Bear, and he wasn’t getting along with his trainer, which was disturbing to him. I can’t call his fight with Meehan, I can’t make a pick. Rahman should beat him as long as he stays focused. If Hasim Rahman stays focused he can beat most of the heavyweights out there. He has a long jab, he was using it well against David Tua but he got careless in that fight. He was also beating Oleg Maskaev, but he got careless. If he stays focused for the entire 12 rounds, he can go a long way.”
On fellow fighters he has trained with…
“I sparred Shane Mosley a lot. Shane is pretty fast. I also was sparring with Kofi Jantuah at the same time. Kofi’s my man. All three of us were in camp together. I also worked with Glen Johnson, it’s tough working with him." (Note: JD Brown added that Glen Johnson helped prepare Joppy for a lot of Joppy’s earlier fights and that Johnson is both a tough guy and one of the nicest guys in boxing).
On fighting at and going to Las Vegas…
“I love Vegas. I love the hype. I’ve fought in a lot of hotels there, like the Flamingo, The Mirage, Las Vegas Hilton, Caesars, Mandalay Bay, MGM, Silver Nugget. I’ve fought out of most of the hotels at Vegas.”
“You know how boxing is, a lot of people think I’m done but this is actually just the beginning. I’m just getting started. I’ve got a lot of things out of the way and I have some unfinished business. Just watch my comeback. I feel ready to go right now, I’m in great shape. Taylor has bitten off more than he can chew. You’ll see.”
A special thanks to Joppy’s advisor JD Brown for making this interview possible.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004