Exclusive Interview: Joe Mesi

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Joe Mesi

GL: How's everything Joe? "Things are going well for me. Obviously you're aware of the news that the medical advisory board advises against me fighting, but Team Mesi is still fighting on. They can't stop me in the ring and I don't think they're going to be able to stop me out of the ring either."

GL: Will you appeal their ruling or will you look to fight out of the country immediately?

Joe Mesi: "We have options. We can fight abroad. We can try to go to Federal court and we have beefed up our legal Team. We felt a bit overpowered at the hearing. They had more Doctor's, they had more attorney's and they had their collective minds made up before we even got there. We are coming with more attorney's, we are coming with more doctor's and we are going to fight this hard. We're going to try to get another hearing without going to Federal court or going behind anyone's back to go to Europe. We just want a fair hearing and it looks like that may happen."

GL: What have you learned about your injury since the Jirov fight that has you and father confident that fighting again wouldn't be a serious risk to your health?

JM: "The doctor's that I've met with, none of them have told me that I'm going to be in danger. We have done research and realize that this is a common injury in boxing. They don't realize it because it's not seen often. The commission wants you to get tested before the fight and that's fine and dandy, but you have to get tested after the fight too and that's one of the problems with this sport. These are serious injuries and we're not trying to minimize it.

"The bottom line is some fighters should fight on with this injury and some fighters shouldn't. With mine, I can. My injury is the size of the head of a pin and I've taken the preacautions, I've taken a year off from my career to recover, I've seen the neuroligists and I'm not susceptible to this injury and I can fight on, and that's what they have to realize."

GL: How do you deal with the criticism with people saying that you shouldn't fight again? You're father shouldn't allow you to fight again and things of that sort?

JM: "My father shouldn't take any criticism. This is my decision and my father is just there to support me. He asks me everyday what I want to do and I want to fight on. This is my dream. I've worked ten long hard years to become the top contender in the world and I've come a lot farther than anyone thought I could.

"My dream is to become the heavyweight champion of the world and the medical advisory board says there's so many other things I could do, I could promote, I could get into TV commentating and these are things that I do plan on doing, but I'm not done. I've got more fight in me and I'm not a beaten fighter. I don't speak like one, I don't look like one and I think there are a lot of other people that they should be concentrating that really shouldn't be fighting instead of me."

GL: Your dream is to become heavyweight champion and it gets snatched from your table while your an undefeated number one contender. How disappointing was that and how did you deal with that at first?

JM: "It was very disappointing. The best was yet to come. I worked for ten years to get to that point and I was stopped at someone else's expense. I would have rather lost in the ring that have this happen."

GL: Have the people of Buffalo, your hometown fans, been very supportive throughout all this?

JM: "They're all wonderful. Over 90% of them want me back in the ring and the other few percent that don't are mostly concerned women. But right now I've had my first love taken away from me and I'm going to get it back. I want everyone to know two things for sure. First, I'm totally healthy and second, I can and will become the heavyweight champion.

GL: Should you get cleared to fight in America, would you look to pick up where you left off and face a top ten guy? Or would you look to get your feet wet with a tune-up or two?

JM: "No way I would pick up where I left off. I still have a contract with HBO and I owe them one fight. I do believe that they do permit me to take one, or two even, on ESPN to get my feet wet. For a long time I wasn't even able to train under suspension so I will have to tune-up so to speak for one or two fights. But right after that we're going to be looking for anyone in the top ten and beyond."

GL: Do you have any idea of when you might return to the ring?

JM: "We've had several offers and we have several ideas, but we can't go over their head and start making plans. I'm very optimisitc that I'll fight again but in the back of my mind I'm already prepared for the worst. I don't want to go against them. I respect the commission, they're trying to protect the fighters and they're doing their jobs but they've got to understand that some fighters deserve to fight on."

GL: Should you achieve you goal of becoming heavyweight champ, do you think the injury will shorten your boxing career at all?

JM: "I don't think so. Explained to me, this injury is like a cut. It heals up and goes away. Those cells are then gone and that's what this injury is. If you suffered a hemotoma the size of your hand in a car accident than no matter what you shouldn't box again. On a scale from 1-100 my injury was a .5 and that's what I've been told by several doctors. This is not even an injury man. But I don't want people to think I'm saying I don't care what anyone says I'm going into the ring. I would never do that. I researched this, I care about myself you know what I mean?

GL: Yep. Life should be more important than boxing.

JM: And that's obvious. I researched this and I'm not going to go behind anyone's back or try to go over the commisision's head, or go to Europe until a final decision has been made by the commission.

GL: At the end of the day the commission may see things your way since they cleared Marco Antonio Barrera several times while he had a metal plate in his head following brain surgery.

JM: "We brought that to their attention and they said, 'yeah, but his didn't come from boxing or they don't know what happened. The advisory report said that I'm susceptible to this because I'm predisposed to it. How can you say that I've been predisposed when I've never suffered this injury before in 29 professional fights, 82 amateur fights, I've sparred 50,000 rounds in the last ten years and I've never suffered this before, so how can I be predisposed to this? It could happen to me again, but it wouldn't be from those injuries. I'm at the same risk level as my opponents."

GL: How far are you willing to appeal the commission's final decision?

JM: "We may have to go Federal court but we're waiting for a second hearing, so first thing's first."


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