When Guillermo Jones traveled over to Russia to face Denis Lebedev this past May the 17th, he went in having the odds stacked against him. He was 41 years old, he was in his opponents back yard, he had been listed by some book makers as an 8-1 underdog and he had not fought in 18 months. Against it all, Guillermo Jones went on to defeat Denis Lebedev, badly damaging his eye, and forcing his opponent to his knee to be counted out. After pulling off this kind of upset, you would think the battle would be over, but after some controversy regarding Jones's blood test, it appears this fight is just beginning.
During the 196th edition of "On The Ropes" I had a chance to speak with Legendary Promoter Don King to discuss the recent news that Jones' blood test from the Lebedev bout had come up positive for a banned substance, a result that threatens to change the bout into a no contest. Don shared his thoughts on what he feels really went on over in Russia and issued a statement on what he plans to do to fight the accusations being made against his fighter. King also talked about the other controversy in regards to the scoring and the doctors decision to let the fight continue. Here is what Don King had say in this Exclusive interview
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 to see it come out. But this is what I feared would happen when I was there and they were refusing to give us 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.
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 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 then 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 said nothing because he wasn't there to be, well, both fighters are supposed to be there immediately to take the test and have samples for their respected doctors and organizations 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 down on the card, even though he clearly winning in most peoples eyes, he beats up Lebedev and leaves him 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 will be 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 everybody 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 not go to the extent that we jeopardize 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 after we got out of there, 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 confessions 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 have to 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 ain’t 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 over a month 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 go out and fight this man all the way down to the end. To the fighter himself, no one could question that, the fighter himself took the knee and said I cant go any further. That in itself answers the question, nobody did 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 have a situation where the fighter himself says he cant go no 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’ve done the proper thing. There’s nothing wrong with a rematch to make sure if you can beat him once, you can beat him twice, if you can’t, then you know one of the greatest challenges in history was Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier going 3 times before the greatest rose to the occasion. So there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s the quality of competition. But to play this game where it’s either my way or the highway, 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 147 pounds, six foot three, he's fought all the way up to being a 200 pound cruiser weight champion. I’m just curious 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 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 147 to 200 pounds and now I’m getting ready to go to the Klitschko’s with him.
Jenna J: Final question for you Don before I let you off the line. You are now 81 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 if 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 continuing 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 symbol of freedom and liberty.
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