|Jesse Hart Interview - Philly's Next Super Star? Yes, per His Promoter Top Rank's Bob Arum
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 12, 2013)
Photo © Chris Robinson - HustleBoss.com
The day before Philly’s Jesse “Hard
Work” Hart was about to receive Philly’s “Briscoe Award” for
being the “Rookie of the Year”, he was in Las Vegas with his
promoter Top Rank’s Bob Arum for the Bradley-Marquez fight. They
put a broadcast thru the next day to the Award’s show. Arum told
Hart he wants him to be a super star! A Philly super star! This
writer informed Hart during a recent interview “you are not the
puncher your dad (Cyclone Hart) was, but a much better all around
boxer”. He smiled.
When it was announced in 2011 that
Hart, the Golden Gloves champion had made the Olympic team for the
2012 Olympics in London, the fans in Philly were congratulating him
knowing he belonged there. With a loss on a trip to Azerbayan for the
world championships Hart found himself returning to the US to meet
Terrell Gausha to “stay on the team”. The results were even to
the point of punches landed. Then 3 of the 5 judges ended the hopes
of Hart sending Gausha to the Olympics where he lost in his second
fight 16-15 to an opponent from India after defeating an opponent
Hart didn’t know if he would ever
lace up the gloves again with the end of a dream to make it to the
Olympics. He had the advantage of his father Eugene “Cyclone”
Hart, Fred Jenkins and Al Mitchell in his one year he spent at
Northern Michigan before the program ended and back to Jenkins upon
returning to Philly. “Fred would train me when I was in Philly.
When I went to tournaments my dad and Al would be in my corner,”
I saw Hart defeat Hanting
Zhang of the Chinese team in the 165 division 15-7 in a US - Chinese
team match in October 2010 in New York. Hart’s win gavehis team a
5-3 lead that would end up a 6-5 loser. While Mitchell was on the
side of Chinese coaching staff, Hart’s father was an assistant in
his corner. This didn’t stop Hart from winning big over his
opponent and the future looked brighter than ever.
Hart is well known in the Philly gyms
and has had a real fan following in both the amateur’s and the
professional’s. He has a very outgoing personality at 24 and
signed with D&D Management headed by Dave Price and Doc Nowicki.
They have 7 boxers together compiling a 44-1 record with 28
knockouts. Price is also a minister and Nowicki had other boxers
like Mike “MJ” Jones and Teon Kennedy with Jim Williams before
Jesse “Hard Work” Hart is a genetic
anomaly – standing 6:03 he towers over the super middleweight
division and packs dynamite in both hands. The 23 year-old pugilist
had a meteoric rise through the amateurs – winning several national
championships before signing with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. –
joining the punch for-pay-ranks. The apple didn’t fall too far
from the tree – it fell right under it as the younger Hart is a
one-man wrecking crew, wreaking havoc, leaving hapless bodies in the
ring reminiscent of dear old dad,” said George Hanson, Jr., - The
Harts father Eugene “Cyclone” Hart
and Fred Jenkins, Sr. handle the training. “Cyclone” was 30-9-1
(28), having started his career with 19 straight knockouts. In his
41 bout career he fought 37 of his fights in Philly. That’s what
you call a Philly fighter. Jenkins has run the boxing program for
many years out of the ABC Recreation Gym in North Philly. IBF
lightweight champion Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown and Olympic Gold
Medalist and world light middleweight champion David Reid were 2 of
his fighters. Today he has unbeaten heavyweight Bryant “By By”
Jennings, one of the top contenders.
“He (Hart) has the potential to be a
world champ. He’s still learning his trade and listening like he
does everything should work out for him,” said Fred Jenkins.
D& D signed Hart with Top Rank and
he made his debut in June of 2012 stopping Manuel Eastman in 0:33 of
the first round. This was on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard in Las
Vegas. Fellow Philly boxers Mike Jones and Teon Kennedy lost that
night but Hart brought home the victory. He made his Philly area
debut the following month at Bally’s in Atlantic City stopping
Steven Chadwick in 2:38 of the first round on a Peltz Boxing
In September Hart knocked out Lekan
Byfield in 0:48 of the first round at Harrah’s in Chester, on a
Joey Eye boxing card just outside of Philly. Byfield since has
defeated the previously unbeaten Isiah Seldon, then 7-0, and son of
former world heavyweight champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express”
Jesse & Dad, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart.
Hart and I had a running disagreement
because I would say “when are you going to fight someone with a
winning record?” He would reply “I don’t pick the opponents!”
“Brad Goodman of Top Rank picks them and I’m always trying to
get Jesse opponents with winning records,” said Nowicki. With
Hart’s win over 2-1-1 Byfield he remarked “how was that one over
a winning opponent?” In November it was back to Las Vegas stopping
Joshua Meyers who was making his debut in the third round.
I attended Hart’s fights
with Chadwick and Byfield and was concerned he was trying to chase
his father’s record of 19 straight knockouts at the beginning of
his career. The son is a more complete all around boxer but though a
good puncher, not as devastating as his father’s left hook. My
concern is he will start going for knockouts and forget about all the
God given tools he has.
Leave it up to J. Russell Peltz the
promoter for Hart’s next fight when he brought in Steven Tyner, who
had a losing record like 3 of the 4 previous Hart opponents but a
tough kid who was determined to hang in there. It would be Harts
Philly debut at the Temple University McGonigle Hall on Broad Street.
Hart dropped Tyner in the first round and it looked like it was all
over. Tyner picked himself up from the canvas and though taking a
beating lasted the 4 round distance losing 40-34, 40-35 twice on the
Hart seemed upset leaving the ring and
I remember saying as he passed by “it’s the best thing that could
have happened going the distance”. The reply in his face was not
one of agreement but disappointment. In a recent fight he got a
rematch with Tyner who came in on short notice and his stay in the
ring was even shorter being stopped at 1:22 of the first round after
3 knockdowns in August at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA.
It would be 4 months before Hart’s
next fight when he traveled to Radio City Music Hall, in NY under the
Donaire-Rigondeaux main event. His opponent was Marlon Farr, 2-2, of
FL, in his first scheduled 6. Hart stopped Farr in the third round.
In June it was back to Bally’s in Atlantic City stopping Thomas
Turner, 3-3, at 2:15 of the first round. In July he defeated Eddie
Hunter, 7-10-2 in 2 rounds at the Texas Station Casino, in Las Vegas.
Julio Garcia with a winning record was the original opponent.
Hart is now 10-0 (9), after stopping
Terrance Wilson at Bally’s in Atlantic City on September 28th in 1:59 of the first round. “We want to move Jesse to an 8 rounder
and would like his competition to move up. The problem is no one
locally and few nationally fighters want to fight him. We argue with
Top Rank all the time to get him someone tougher,” said Nowicki.
And you know J. Russell Peltz does not want him or any of his boxers
I was able to do a Q&A
with Hart at a press conference in Philly recently:
KEN HISSNER: From your professional
debut I have been bugging you about fighting opponents with winning
records. They may not be as tough but it looks good on your record.
Does Top Rank pick your opponents or does J. Russell Peltz when you
fight for him?
JESSE HART: Top Rank’s Brad Goodman
KEN HISSNER: You made the Olympic team
but lost in the world championships only to come back to the US and
again fight Terrell Gausha to a complete stand still on points. Then
3 of the 5 judges picked him. Were you devastated?
JESSE HART: I believe it was due to my
coach Al Mitchell at Northern Michigan helping out with the Chinese
team that the USA Boxing held it against me and all of his fighters.
KEN HISSNER: Gausha’s had 6 winning
fights against 4 with losing records. He decisioned Lekan Byfield
after you stopped Byfield in 0:48. The other Olympians are doing the
same. I want you to be different. As far as I am concerned you were
the best 165 pound amateur in the country. You’ve sparred with
professionals for years. I believe Top Rank has to step up the
competition. I don’t mean to push you too fast at 24 but you have
worlds of talent that the country and the world needs to see. How do
you feel about your progress?
JESSE HART: My team is doing a good
job. Bob Arum wants me to be a super star.
KEN HISSNER: In the beginning of your
career did you feel any pressure on trying to beat your father’s 19
straight knockouts at the beginning of his career?
JESSE HART: Yes I did. I’m glad the
pressure is off now with one decision win.
KEN HISSNER: I know you have had your
father, Fred Jenkins and Al Mitchell in your corner. Has Fred and
your father now settled in as who is in your corner along with Danny
JESSE HART: Yes. Danny is my strength
and condition coach along with wrapping my hands and does a great
KEN HISSNER: I understand you are
training at the gym I am “barred” from. I don’t want to give
him any free publicity so I won’t mention the name. Are you going
to settle in there?
JESSE HART: I train at Fred Jenkins
ABC gym in North Philly.
KEN HISSNER: Philly’s Charles “The
Hatchet” Brewer was the USBA Champ in 1995 and the IBF super
middleweight champ back in 1997 defending his title 3 times before
losing back to back split decisions to Germany’s Sven Ottke who
retired unbeaten. What overseas experiences have you had besides the
world championships in 2010 if any?
JESSE HART: Azerbaijan, Italy, China
and Great Britain. I just turned down going to China on the Pacquiao
card and fight December 7th at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic
City against Tyrell Hendrix. (10-2-2)
KEN HISSNER: Who are some of the
professional boxers you have sparred with over the years?
JESSE HART: There are almost too many
to say but Kassim Ouma, Yusaf Mack, Dhafir Smith, Demitrius Hopkins
and Gabe Rosado to name a few.
KEN HISSNER: When I first saw you on YouTube in a gym setting you struck me as a personality that reminded me of a
young Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali without too much of the boasting!
I realize there was only one Ali but you seem to do yours in a real
fun way with that personality of yours. Was this your personality
Video Description: Philadelphia's Jesse Hart inside the Mayweather Boxing Club
Video © Chris Robinson / HustleBoss.com
JESSE HART: Yes. I had 3 brothers and
3 sisters to follow.
KEN HISSNER: You spent one year at
Northern Michigan University before the program shut down. How was
your experience there under head coach Al Mitchell?
JESSE HART: Wonderful. Not only
teaching boxing but by doing good in school in order to be allowed to
KEN HISSNER: What boxers growing up
were some of your favorites?
JESSE HART: My favorite was Roy Jones,
Jr.! Tthen others like Mike Tyson (who he met in Vegas), Henry
Armstrong, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Willie Pep and of course
KEN HISSNER: Where do you hope to be a
year from now in your career?
JESSE HART: That’s up to Top Rank.
KEN HISSNER: You made a bold move
signing with Dave Price and Doc Nowicki who signed you up with Top
Rank as your promoter. I gather you have known J Russell Peltz who
works with Top Rank on your fights in the east over the years with
your father being promoted by him in numerous fights. How’s your
relationship with Mr. Peltz as you refer to him?
JESSE HART: He got my dad known around
the world which helped me when I turned professional.
KEN HISSNER: From watching you in the
amateurs and in the professional ranks I believe you have all the
tools to be a world champion. Keep your head on tight and out of
trouble and it’s yours down the line. In addition you have a
personality that the fans around the world will love when they get to
see you as the fans in Philly have over the years. How have you
handled your success so far as a professional?
JESSE HART: Great! I’m down to
earth. I feel in sports I’m better than anybody. I work hard and
strive to be the best.
KEN HISSNER: You recently received the
“Rookie of the Year” award at the Briscoe Awards but were in Las
Vegas for Bradley-Marquez fight. Bob Arum had the two of you aired
in by satellite. Your dad was there to get the award. How did you
feel about receiving this award?
JESSE HART: Great. It’s an honor
getting an award in Philly.
KEN HISSNER: I know you are a strong
believer in our creator. What part does God play in your life inside
and outside of the ring?
JESSE HART: The biggest part. Without
God I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now.
KEN HISSNER: Thanks for taking the
time to do this interview.
JESSE HART: I enjoyed doing it Ken.
Ken Hissner responds to all his emails at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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