By: Matthew N. Becher
Don George is a former 168lb IBO Super Middleweight World champion who fights out of Chicago, Illinois. On October 16th, he will be moving up to the Light Heavyweight division to take on the hard hitting and undefeated Sean Monaghan at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, NY. Don was able to take a few minutes to speak with us on an array of topics, from his recent suspension, hand surgery and always taking on the toughest opponents he can.
Boxing Insider: This fight, in particular, has a feel of a very big fight for you. Why is this one so important?
Don George: As everyone in the boxing world knows I’m coming off of a very long layoff, I had a very serious hand surgery that kept me on the shelf for six months, I couldn’t even hold a pen. And obviously, my last fight got turned into a no contest because I tested positive for a banned substance. When people see the banned substance “thing”, their mind automatically goes to performance enhancing drugs and I’m on steroids, but if you ever seen me, I’m a skinny, twerpy little white guy. The last thing I’m on is steroids. I tested positive for a Tylenol 3, because I entered the fight with a broken hand, I was in a full arm cast until the day of the press conference, took it off, fought, then had surgery. So I tested positive for a pain killer. I just really want to get that bad taste out of my mouth and that people think that I’m a cheater, because I don’t like that reputation.
Boxing Insider: How long has the hand been bothering you?
Don George: It’s been a career thing for me. I broke my hand in my pro debut. I’ve had seven surgeries on it and I’ve been postponing the major surgery with all the hardware and the bone fusions because it would be such a long layoff, but I figured I’m suspended and I had twins, so I got to spend some time with my family and it was just the right time to get it. I was ready to go and fight about six months ago, my promoter was desperately trying to get me a fight at 168, but we just got let down and had some fall outs and typical boxing politics. So we got offered this fight, and we said lets fight.
Boxing Insider: With the hand surgery, does that change the style you have to fight now?
Don George: At this point it would be like teaching an old dog new tricks. I go right hand crazy, that’s why I break it. I’ll throw it, I’ll hit you in the elbow or the top of the head, anywhere. And that’s when it will go numb, and I’ll just keep throwing it. I go into every single fight, mentally knowing that my hand is going to break. Last fight, obviously it was broken going into the fight, I knew I was going to deal with pain for twelve rounds and it sucked, but I did the best I could. I’m never going to let a hand stop the fight, that is some pussy shit. I’m going to fight my ass off with one hand or no hands.
Boxing Insider: Your opponent Sean Monaghan has a huge, huge, huge New York based following. Do you see that as causing any type of problem or distraction, fighting him in Brooklyn, in his backyard?
Don George: Obviously it’s a nice comfort for him to have the fans, but it’s also a distraction for him. I’m entering this fight with zero to lose. I haven’t fought in a year, I’ve gone up in weight, I’m fighting him in his hometown, and he’s 25-0. I have nothing to lose, and he has everything to lose. So the pressure is on him, not me. For me it’s just a fight on a Friday night. For him, his family is going to be there, his wife, it’s an extraordinary amount of pressure. If they boo me they boo me. When I fought Adonis Stevenson in Montreal I have never been booed so loud in my life, and it was almost comical. I was laughing as I walked into the ring, they were booing me so loud. But I left the ring to a standing ovation. You never know. Me and Sean, our styles are going to make it a good fight. So they may not like me but they will respect me when the night is over.
Boxing Insider: With the inactivity, do you expect any ring rust? And how do you overcome that?
Don George: Usually all that goes away once you get hit with a good shot. Obviously Ray Charles could hit me with a punch, because I’m not a defensive wizard. So I’m probably going to get hit right away, and I’m going to wake up. This is going to be my 33rd pro fight. I’ve been around the block, I know how to fight. The fighting is the easy part. I just can’t wait to get in there and have some fun. I’m not worried about being rusty. I’ve been getting good sparring and training my ass off like I always do, so I’ll be prepared.
Boxing Insider: Sean Monaghan is undefeated. 25 guys have tried him and he’s beaten them all. What do you have to be the first guy to give him a loss?
Don George: He seems like a pretty well rounded, solid fighter. I’m not the kind of guy that going to speak negative about him. He’s handled himself very professional in interviews and going to do the same. All I can say is I do see that we’re going to match up very well and it’s going to be an exciting fight and it is in no way going the full ten rounds.
Boxing Insider: Like you mentioned, you fought Adonis, who is the lineal light heavyweight champion. If you can win on the 16th of October, do you expect a title shot sooner than later?
Don George: He’s ranked in all four major organizations pretty high, so I would like to snag that little ranking. Obviously 175 is not my ideal weight class, but when the opportunity knocks you have to take it. I’m planning on winning, and then get ranked, and then stay at 175. I’m not even 175 right now, I’m 174, I leave the gym at 170. I’ve been super middleweight my whole career, since I was 15-16 years old. I have no trouble making the weight, but when opportunity knocks, you gotta say fuck it. At least I’ll be able to eat the day of the weigh in…so that’s cool.