RC: Kofi, Boxingtalk.com was the first to report that former WBA Welterweight champion Jose Antonia Rivera 37-4-1(24) sustained an elbow injury, which forced him to pull out of his September 3rd Showtime televised bout with WBO Light Middleweight champion Daniel Santos 29-2-1(20). Rumor has it your willing to fill in, is that correct? "
Yes I just read it Boxingtalk.com that Rivera pulled out of the fight due to elbow injury, and I just want to let them (Team Santos) know that I am right here and ready if they need a suitable replacement. They don’t have to look too far, because I am right here."
RC: You defeated Santos by stopping him within 5 rounds back in May of ’99; do you think that he’d want to take this kind of risk on short notice? Or do you think he would jump at the chance to redeem himself?
KJ: It’s up to him, I mean everyone wants a shot at redemption once they loose to someone, and if he wants an opportunity to do so, I am here. But it’s hard to say if he would want to take the fight on short notice. He might because I’m giving him a chance to avenge his first loss as a professional. So if he wants to take the fight, then let’s get it on.
RC: On short notice like this are you yourself prepared to step in and fight for a world title?
KJ: I am in the gym; I am getting ready to fight on September 17th. If this goes through, then I will be happy to step in and fight a couple weeks early.
RC: Have you spoken to any of your handlers about the possibility of filling in for Rivera?
KJ: I just read it, and the offices are already closed in New York. I tried to call them but I didn’t get a hold of anyone yet. But I’m sure I’ll speak to them first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
RC: Kofi, you and I both know many times in boxing it takes more than two fighters willing to fight one another for a fight to actually happen.
KJ: Yeah that is really true, boxing is filled with politics RC: Well, it’s clear by the press release recently issued (Lou DiBella who is a managing partner of the ownership group of the Norwich Navigators minor league baseball team, has announced that August 18, has been declared "Only in America Night”) that your Promoter (DiBella) and Santos’ promoter (Don King) are somewhat Buddy Buddy as of late and I’m sure that they wont just be talking Baseball in Connecticut that night. With in mind, do you think there is a chance in you possibly getting a chance to fill in for the injured Rivera?
KJ: I feel god about it, I would like for Don (King) and Lou (DiBella) to be able to work something out. That would just be perfect, I would be more than willing to step in and take that title from him (Santos). I am ranked in the WBO, so that wouldn’t be a problem and I don’t see why Showtime wouldn’t accept me either, they know I am an exciting fighter. Also, they are not going to want to put him in there with just anybody, and I think I would be a perfect fit.
RC: Knowing how your last fight played out, do you think he’d actually go through with the fight if it can be done?
KJ: It is tough to say, I don’t think Santos would really want to see me. But then again I might be wrong because he is a champion and every champion needs to prove themselves. He is a very good champion, but when he faced me it was my night. I gave him his first loss, and if he wants to be considered a great champion he needs to prove that he is a great champion by beating a guy that not only beat him, but also a guy that knocked him out. Simply because that is what champions do.