Philly’s Jesse Hart No. 1 WBO Super Middleweight Contender Awaiting His Turn at Title Fight!
By: Ken Hissner
The No. 1 WBO Super Middleweight contender Jesse “Hard Work” Hart, 21-0 (17), comes from a boxing blood line following in his father Eugene “Cyclone” Harts, 30-9-1 (28) legacy in Philadelphia! The elder Hart won his first nineteen bouts by knockout! In his twenty-second fight he fought Denny Moyer and both fell out of the ring and ruled a No Contest in 6 rounds. Moyer was knocked down in the first round.
When the son of the “Cyclone” turned professional in June of 2012 the concern of this writer was he would try to top that knockout record of his father instead of using all of his boxing skills. His knockout streak was stopped after his fourth fight fortunately. In a rematch he stopped that opponent. He has worked his way to rankings in the WBA No. 10, IBF No. 5 and WBC No. 13 besides the top ranking in the WBO a title held by Mexico’s Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez, 30-0 (24), who won the title in April of 2016 winning all twelve rounds over champion Arthur Abraham, 44-4 in Las Vegas, NV.
Southpaw Ramirez has not defended his title going on a year. He recently suffered a hand injury and was to fight on the Pacquaio-Horn card per Top Rank Promotions who represents both Ramirez and Hart. Ramirez didn’t fight in the US until 2013. His last eight bouts have been in the US except for one in China winning the NABF title over Australian Junior Talipeau in 2014. Winning the North American Boxing Federation title against an Australian in China? Go figure!
Hart won the 2011 Golden Gloves title qualifying him for the 2012 Olympic Team. He went to Europe and lost in quarter finals. So upon his return in the Boxing Trials he won his first four matches before meeting Terrell Gausha whom he lost to in the 2009 GG finals by DQ in the 3rd round. The bout in the 2012 Trials ended 10-10, 34-34 count back with Gausha getting the 3-2 vote from the officials. Gausha would win his first bout in the 2012 Olympics in London before losing his next bout against a boxer from India. It is this writers opinion at 6:03 Hart would have been a better choice of the voters to represent the USA team. Gausha is out of Cleveland, OH, and 16-0 (9) as a professional.
In the Trials Hart defeated four boxers who are all now professionals. First Chris Pearson, 14-1 (10), of Trotwood, OH, d’Mitrius Ballard, 15-0 (11), of Temple Hills, MD, Antonine Douglas, 19-1-1 (13), Burke, VA, and Luis Arias, 16-0 (8), Milwaukee, WI, who holds the USBA middleweight title. That is quite a line-up of boxers Hart had defeated to get to the finals.
Hart was 85-11 as an amateur wining the US Nationals and as before mentioned the National Golden Gloves titles in 2011. He is 27 and has fought in his hometown three times. He only had two fights in 2016 due to a hand injury. In his last fight he stopped Andrew Hernandez, 16-4-1, winning the vacant NABF super middleweight title and defending his USBA title. Hernandez had a six fight winning streak stopped including a win over Russian Arif Magomedov, 17-0. That title he won in May of 2015 stopping Mike Jimenez, 17-0, in Las Vegas, NV. He defended the title in September of 2015 defeating the son of Hall of Fame boxer Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Aaron Pryor, Jr., 19-8-1, by stoppage in Las Vegas. Hart has fought in Las Vegas seven times. He has fought in Atlantic City, NJ, six times,
Hart was signed to a manager’s contract in July of 2014 with Dave Price and promotional contract with “Doc” Nowicki and Top Rank. They also have Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster, 22-1 (11), of Glassboro, NJ. His record was 38-2 in the amateurs losing to Hart twice.
Through Dave Price and Doc Nowicki this writer was able to get Hart to answer the following questions:
KEN HISSNER: I’ve known you for some time. The first time I saw you box is when you defeated Derrick Webster in an amateur tournament in Philly. I also saw you in New York win against a team from China. I believe your father and Fred Jenkins, Sr. train you now. Didn’t Chip Hart train you for a time in the amateurs?
JESSE HART: Yes my brother did train me for some time. I then went to Northern Michigan where I trained with Al Mitchell at the Olympic Development Center.
KEN HISSNER: I knew you spent time at the Northern Michigan University under Philadelphia’s Al Mitchell. How was it living away from home?
JESSE HART: Living away from was good in the sense it was like being in camp full time. I didn’t have the distraction of the street life and all it brings.
KEN HISSNER: I believe you divide your training between two gyms in Philly, the ABC Rec Center and Joe Hand’s Gym. Do you go away to a training camp for a bout and if yes where?
JESSE HART: Yes I train between ABC with Fred Jenkins and at Joe Hand’s with Danny Davis. Both trainers bring a uniqueness to their approach. Fred is an old school technician and disciplined boxing trainer but Danny brings his own style of modern pad work, strength work and he is an excellent wrapper of hands. I generally hold my camps at home but I have had camps where I physically left my home and stayed off site, trained at Joe Hand’s or ABC and then returned with my team to a selected location.
KEN HISSNER: What were your feelings when you fought Terrell Gausha in the Olympic Trials to a 10-10 decision and were not chosen for the 2012 USA Olympic team?
JESSE HART: It wasn’t that I wasn’t chosen or selected to represent the USA Team. I beat everyone in the double elimination Olympic Box-Off. That means I had to beat everybody and then fight the winner of the loser’s bracket and then beat him again. I did just that but after qualifying in the first of three tournaments overseas I was told that for the first time ever the USA Boxing would conduct something called the Re-Load. Basically then combined the national tournament with another box-off and I lost a tie breaker to Terrell. He then qualified in a second qualifier but keep in mind the top four in the division had already moved on. That left a bitter taste in my mouth but it doesn’t break you it makes you stronger
KEN HISSNER: I know you had a hand injury operated on. How is that hand at this time?
JESSE HART: My hand is 100%. I have a great surgeon who did a great job and I have fought since then with no problems.
KEN HISSNER: You are ranked No. 1 in the WBO. Have you seen the WBO champion Ramirez and if yes what is your opinion of him?
JESSE HART: Ramirez is a good fighter maybe even very good but he hasn’t fought the likes of Jesse Hart. I love that fight for Top rank, my fans and my team. That’s when the world will see that I am a bonafide super star.
KEN HISSNER: Do you have a time table when you want to fight for the WBO title if not now?
JESSE HART: I wanted to fight Ramirez in January of 2017. My management team contacted me and told me it should happen and I was hurt it didn’t but not really surprised. Ramirez wants to hold onto that title as long as he can.
KEN HISSNER: In your last seven fights only Dashon Johnson has gone the distance with you in Philly. There was talk of a rematch. Is that still in the works?
JESSE HART: Dashon Johnson was a good tough opponent and it goes to show you that when people fight Jesse Hart they train like they never done before. He came to fight, fought and lost. He gave it all against the champ and came up short. This Isn’t Rocky or the movie creed. You have to earn your shots at the champ. I don’t know maybe if his real name was Mayweather or Ward we could build another fight around that.
KEN HISSNER: WBC champion Badou Jack after drawing with IBF champion James DeGale vacated his title to move up to light heavyweight. Did you see the fight and if you did being ranked No. 5 in the IBF would you like to fight DeGale for his title?
JESSE HART: I would love to fight DeGale. Man I really wanted to fight Jack but he moved up. Anyone at 168lbs can get it and once I run through this super middleweight division who knows.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.
JESSE HART: I would like to thank all the fans, Bob Arum, Top Rank, my management team Doc Nowicki and Dave Price and Team Hart: Cyclone, Fred Jenkins, Danny Davis, Hundew McDonald and slick Rick.