By Sean Crose
Promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing is an interesting individual, even by the colorful standards of contemporary boxing. A true blue Bronx native, himself descended from a line of boxers, DeGuardia grew up a “gym rat.” He’s been a Golden Gloves champion and a district attorney for the City of New York. Now he’s one of the most unique figures in the fight game, with an eclectic ensemble of fighters in his stable.
At the moment, DeGuardia has a big week ahead of him, as his fighter, Chris Algieri, tries to get on the comeback trail after a loss to Manny Pacquiao. For Algieri will be facing the blistering Amir Khan at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn in a bout that will be aired live this Friday night, courtesy of SpikeTV and PBC.
DeGuardia took time out of his schedule to speak with Boxing Insider.
BoxingInsider.com: Chris Algieri is back in the ring this Friday. How does he look?
Joe DeGurdia: He looks spectacular.
BoxingInsider.com: He’s now with trainer John David Jackson, who led Sergey Kovalev to victory over Bernard Hopkins. Did that fight have anything to do with your decision to hire John?
Joe DeGurdia: No, no. I knew John David Jackson for a while. We were looking for a good fit for Chris and he’s a good fit.
BoxingInsider.com: It’s a bit surprising that Algieri is facing someone as formidable as Amir Khan instead of having a tuneup.
Joe DeGurdia: Look, you’re talking about a guy who wants to fight at the top level. He’s not young, and he has a future ahead of him outside of boxing. The idealist stays there.
BoxingInsider.com: Algieri seems to enjoy being the underdog.
Joe DeGurdia: He does.
BoxingInsider.com: It’s surprising how well he appears to have taken the loss to Pacquiao.
Joe DeGurdia: He’s a little more mature. I think in the beginning it was very difficult.
BoxingInsider.com: Algieri will be fighting Khan as part of PBC. What was it like working with the people behind it?
Joe DeGurdia: As far as Chris is concerned (about the Khan match), it’s a fight. I’ll deal with these people. We have mutual respect for one another.
BoxingInsider.com: How about your fighter Demetrius Andrade? People are eager to see him again.
Joe DeGurdia: He’s an extremely talented fighter. There’s some unfortunate decisions that he made. We’re working on a few different things.
BoxingInsider.com: What other fighters do you promote that we should be keeping an eye on?
Joe DeGurdia: I have a whole host of guys. Cletus Seldin, he’s an exciting fighter. He reminds me of the old days. Any time a guy can end a fight with one punch, it’s exciting.
I like to build them up locally. We have Joe Smith. He’s actually thrilling to watch. Joshua Clottey, we’re going to get him another big opportunity. Yuniesky Gonzalez, we’re about to make a big announcement for him. I’m still high on Emmanuel Taylor.
BoxingInsider.com: What do you make of the fallout from the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?
Joe Degurdia: The fight did not turn out to be the fireworks people had hoped for from a fight perspective. There’s a lot of talk about the shoulder and things like that.Nobody expected a war from this fight. It’s fortunate that it came off rather than it not coming off.
I’m a realist. You’re not going for the future (with a fight like May-Pac), you’re going for the present. That’s a drawback. But, all and all, the event turned out to be good for the sport. It’s a real testament to the power of the sport.
BoxingInsider.com: So, tell us about Joe DeGuardia.
Joe Degurdia: I grew up in a boxing family. I basically lived my life in the boxing game. I started boxing competitively at nine. I had tons of offers to turn pro. When I won the Golden Gloves, I was in my second year of law school.
I wasn’t really interested in the business aspect. I was a gym rat. I was in the gym every day. I didn’t get on the Olympic team, which is what I really wanted.
A couple of fighters asked me for help…I ended up going the promotional (route after a stint as a manager). I divested of all my management. It was a tough decision, sure. I came from a boxing background. I used to manage and train fighters. My thought process was always more with the fighters.
You never know what’s going to happen. You’re only as good as your last fight.