Interview by Sam Geraci
Photo: Ed Mulholland
Tonight live on WealthTV, Donovan “The Bomb” George (23-2-1, 20 KOs) takes on Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec to determine the number one contender for IBF 168lb champion Carl Froch (29-2, 20 KOs). Before the fight, George took some time to discuss his recent TKO of Dionisio Miranda, his fight plan for Stevenson, his relationship with the legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward, his only loss to Edwin Rodriguez, the “family affair” that boxing is to him, and much more.
Donovan, this fight was originally scheduled for August 17th but Stevenson pulled out with an injury. As a result, you took on Dionisio Miranda in a “tune-up” that could have jeopardized Friday’s IBF eliminator if you were cut or injured. Why did you take that fight?
I trained so hard for Stevenson that there was no way I wasn’t going to fight if I had the opportunity. I’m a fighter; I want to fight.
What did you think of the Miranda fight?
The kid was extremely tough and he can crack. It took me a few rounds to get adjusted because I had been preparing for a southpaw and sparring southpaws since the Andy Lee camp. I knew that after a few rounds I’d figure him out and break him down and that’s what happened.
Did the extra time to prepare for Stevenson benefit you in anyway?
Absolutely. The extra time was huge. I ended up getting everything I wanted before the first fight was announced: I got more time to prepare; I got a tune-up on TV; I got to work with some world champions; and I got to go away for camp to Florida to work with top-notch guys like John David Jackson. It all worked out for me.
This fight is in Quebec, Stevenson’s hometown. How do you feel about that?
I’m not scared. Obviously, it’s an advantage to be in your hometown with all of your fans screaming, especially during all of the pre-fight hype, but once the bell rings it’s just gonna be the ref, Stevenson, and me. The fans aren’t gonna be the ones punching me in the face (laughs).
Was the location of the fight something that you were pressured into agreeing to?
Of course it was. A lot of fighters have dropped in the IBF rankings because they refuse to fight Stevenson in Canada. If the fight wasn’t in Canada, they would have gone to a purse bid and they would have won. I want to be world champ, so I’ll fight anywhere.
What does the Stevenson fight mean for your career?
This fight is my whole career balled-up into one big fight. This is what I’ve worked my entire life for. This is even a bigger fight for me than the HBO fight with Rodriguez because the winner is going to get that title shot against Carl Froch, and obviously, that’s what every fighter wants: to become a world champion.
In your last big step up in class against Rodriguez, you came up short. How has that experience helped you grow as a fighter?
In the Rodriguez fight we thought it was going to be a war. We thought we’d be in the middle of the ring and start trading; it wasn’t his plan. His plan was to box and fight smart, and he stuck to his plan and he did a great job. I should have started that fight like I did in the eighth round. I learned a valuable lesson that I am not a boxer; I am not pretty; I am not slick. If I go out there, I gotta fight. If I’d have fought like I did at the end the whole time, who knows what would have happened?
You were dominant in stopping Miranda in your comeback fight and many of us are looking forward to seeing how you will look this time against a top fighter. Most writers and fans are more interested in seeing how a fighter comes back after a loss than whether a fighter loses a fight.
That’s the way it should be. Today, if you lose a fight everyone jumps to saying that person shouldn’t be on TV or shouldn’t be here or there. You know, I could be 150-0 if I fought Bozos, and it would mean nothing. I want to be remembered as someone who fights the best guys. When I retire, I want people to say, “That guy Donovan George has got some big balls and came to fight every fight!”
With Stevenson, are you going to stick with who you are – a puncher, a brawler – and avoid trying to box too much?
My strengths are my conditioning and my punching power, especially the right hand. I am going to go back to what got me where I am. I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna try to beat him up. I’m gonna go to war. I’ve never been in a boring fight in my life, and I don’t think I ever will be. My game plan for the fight is to fight every minute of every round. Don’t try to be cute and don’t try to be fancy. That’s not who I am; I am a fighter.
What is Stevenson’s greatest strength?
Right now, it’s his confidence. He’s flying really high right now; everybody is afraid of him. Some really good fighters have turned him down. He’s got to feel really good about himself. As you know, a confident fighter is a dangerous fighter. I have to suck the confidence from him with my will and determination. I think I have what it takes to do it.
What is his biggest weakness?
He’s got the loss to Darnell Boone; he got caught. People say his chin is questionable, but I don’t know. I think he might have just got caught coming in. We’re gonna find out if he’s got a chin. I’m gonna hit him with the right hand on the chin, and if he’s still standing he’s got a good chin. Everything is going to come out in this fight. No secrets in the ring.
How do you think this fight is going to play out?
I’m gonna do my best to break him down and suck his confidence away. I think it’s going to be a very entertaining fight. When he hits me and I am still standing there in his face, he’s going to realize that I’m not afraid of him like all of the other guys he’s been fighting. I’m coming to win. I’m not just happy to be there. I’m coming to beat him, and I’m coming to knock him out.
Stevenson is working with Emmanuel Steward, and you did some sparring with Andy Lee, who is also trained by Steward. How is that dynamic going to work? Does it matter?
(Laughs) It’s interesting. It is a funny story that I was out there, and Emmanuel is a great guy and I learned a lot from him. When he was talking to me, I was like a sponge just listening to him. He is a Hall of Fame trainer, but like my dad says, “It’s not who’s in the corner; it’s who’s on the stool.” He could have four Emmanuel Stewards and it’s not gonna make a difference. It’s just gonna be me and Stevenson in the ring. Everyone already knows my strengths and my weaknesses, so I don’t think Steward can give him any insights on me. Manny is a great guy and I play in his softball league, but unfortunately I’m gonna have to beat up his fighter.
In addition to sparring with Lee, you also sparred with Andrzej Fonfara who pulled off a major victory over Glen Johnson and is now fighting for the 175lb IBO title. How has he helped and what is your relationship with Fonfara?
Sparring with Lee was great. He prepared me for Stevenson because they are both southpaws, and it’s really tough to find high-level southpaw work. Fonfara is nothing like Stevenson. He’s a tall, right-handed light heavyweight. Me and him have sparred over a thousand rounds together in the last eight years or whatever. We are friends who like to beat up each other, and we would both like to be world champions together.
Would you ever consider a fight with Fonfara in Chicago? Between the Chicago fans, his Polish fans, and your Greek fans that would be huge.
Not unless they’re gonna give us a million bucks (laughs). He’s my friend. We’ve been sparring and been friends since he came to America.
Can you elaborate on the unique relationship on how your family is part of your camp?
It really is a family affair with me. My dad is my trainer and we’ve been together since the beginning. It’s cool because I am with people I can trust. Boxing is a dangerous business, and there are a lot of snaky people that you can’t trust. I know that at the end of the day my dad has got my best interests. Even my mom helps me. She does a lot with my strength and conditioning. She is like a high level nurse and she organizes my routine for me. Everybody helps: my brother, my fiancé, and my little brother. I’ve got my whole family behind me for this one, so it’s a pretty good feeling.
We know your family has helped you in the ring, but how have they helped you get through and overcome your troubles outside of the ring?
They stuck by me one hundred percent through everything good and bad. With my mom and my dad I couldn’t ask for a better family. My fiancé has been great; she’s supportive of me in and out of the ring. Everything is just coming together for this fight, and we are ready to let it all hang out.
Do you feel this is your time right now?
It’s got to be my time. If this isn’t my time, I don’t know when it is. I’m twenty-seven and I’ve been pro for eight years. This is it.
Before we go, I want to ask who you like to watch fight? Who are you a fan of today?
People are always asking me that. I don’t really have a favorite fighter besides me (laughs). I watch all of the fights, but I don’t really have a favorite fighter that I must watch even though I watch them all. I guess it’s gonna sound like crap, but it might even be Carl Froch and I want to fight him (laughs). He’s entertaining; he fights; he’s kinda ugly out there; and he’s a power puncher. Unfortunately, there isn’t really one American fighter that I really like right now.
Donovan, thanks for the time. Anything you want to add?
I just want to thank everybody for all of the support and all of the great sparring. It’s been a great camp, and I can’t wait to go out there and kick some ass.
The October 12th Stevenson-George event is available live at WealthTV.com. WealthTV is available on Verizon FiOS TV (channels 169 and 669 in HD), AT&T U-Verse TV (channels 470 and 1470 in HD), along with over 100 cable systems across the country. Click here for more information.