Veteran fringe contender Jesse Ferguson has the distinction of having been in the ring with 13 world champions. Now at age 44 and with a two-and-a-half-year absence behind him, he has announced his intention to fight again.
WHB caught up with Jesse on Sunday afternoon and this is what he had to say.
WHB Jesse, you look great. How have you been doing?
Jesse Ferguson I’ve been fine. I’m in great shape; always training and just itching to get back in the ring to do the one thing I really love, which is boxing.
WHB It’s been two and a half years years – where have you been?
JF Before my layoff, I won five of my last seven fights, one against the number four ranked contender in the world (Obed Sullivan). I was on a roll, though I suffered a loss to Hasim Rahman. My manager called me about a fight on a week’s notice (Andrew Golota). I took the fight against a fighter – no against a puncher – in his prime. He ran from me the whole fight. I lost the decision and my boxing career seemed to disappear.
WHB Were you offered any more fights after that?
JF No, it was like I fell off the face of the earth! My promoter sent my contract back to me. My manager, who I was with for six years, who I never said no to a fight or a fighter, never any money complaints and so on, never returned my calls. I’ve been looking ever since.
I saw that Oliver McCall just got out of jail. They are already looking to book a fight for him. Put him the ring with me and I’ll make him wish he was back in prison!
That’s what is so wrong with boxing – the matchmakers reward bad notoriety with big paydays. In my mind, for some reason, I’m being blackballed.
WHB Blackballed seems like a strong word.
JF What else would you call it? I’ve boxed for many years; it’s a sport I love. I’ve never been arrested, never beat my wife, never did drugs, never did anything to discredit this sport, yet my phone’s not ringing. I guess my ringname was right on the money.
WHB Why’s that?
JF If they aren’t blackballing me, I guess everyone’s just afraid of the Boogieman (laughs)!
WHB Have you ever witnessed bias towards you first-hand?
JF Just the other day a friend put out feelers to Les Blanco. He is someone in a boxer known as the Black Rhino’s (Cliff Ettienne’s) camp. My name came up as a possible opponent and the response was “Jesse Ferguson? Nah, he’s too old”.
It’s funny how they can mask their fear of me by using that excuse. He just should have said that wrinkled old ass might just give my boxer a good old-fashioned ass whoopin’! I would have handled their honesty (laughs)!
WHB What would you say to those who say your age might be a factor?
JF Age is just a number. I’ve been living clean my whole life. Always training, my physical condition could put guys half my age to shame. When I pass the medical tests for boxing certificates I should be able to fight.
WHB Who would your dream opponent be?
JF I’ll fight anybody – the heavyweight division these days is wide open. There are no dominant fighters. I would welcome the chance to step in the ring with anyone. Nobody in the division is safe from me. The top heavyweights have all sparred with me. Not many would like to get in the ring and do it for real; they know how dangerous I can be. I can bang with any heavyweight. These young guys are just worried about protecting their record and their future paydays, not proving how good they really are. I say get in the ring with me and I’ll prove how good I am.
WHB What would you say to any promoters interested in using you for a fight?
JF Here I am, ready, willing and able to whip some ass. I’m hungry and just hoping someone gives me a chance to shine once again in a sport that I love. I am low risk for any promoter; I come trained and ready to fight. I play no headgames and I am willing to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. I want to prove to myself and everyone else I still got what it takes.
I fought former champions, current champions and future champions. I just want the chance to fight again. I will fight anywhere in the world. Hell, given the right opponent, I would go to his house and fight him in his living room (laughs)!
WHB Thanks for your time, champ, it’s been a pleasure.
JF You’re welcome; it has been a pleasure talking to you about my boxing career. Thank you.