By Ben Jacobs
Nobody could say Dan Goossen’s stable of fighters don’t give value for money. John Molina Jr, Chris Arreola and Josesito López are all examples of exciting boxers who give everything in the ring and leave fans wanting to see them again. Add to that list Thomas Williams Jr who fights Gabriel Campillo on August 1 on a Goossen Promotions card in Washington. BoxingScene was able to talk to Goossen about his stable of fighters and a couple of other topics in a telephone conversation.
What are your thoughts on the Thomas Williams Jr fight against Gabriel Campillo? How big of a step up is it for Williams?
I think it’s that next step up that he has to do to get to where he wants to get to. He can show that he belongs.
If he beats Campillo, do you feel he’ll be close to a world title shot, particularly as this is now an IBF eliminator?
Let’s put it this way, we’ll find out how close he is with his performance on the 1st of August. I think that’s key. In the Cornelius White fight he showed he has the ability to come back from being knocked down, so that’s a good sign, a good learning experience. He came back strong and aggressive and ended up stopping Cornelius. In his fight after that with Enrique Ornelas, he took a guy that doesn’t get stopped and although Ornelas might be on the other side of his career, he stopped someone that doesn’t get stopped. So those were two back to back good performances that get him to that next level.
How much credit do you give to his trainer George Peterson who has shown he can take a guy from zero fights to world champion status?
George has this special gift that is to do more than just train these young men as fighters. He trains them mentally. They all seem to grasp it, understand it and get empowered by it. Thomas has shown great improvement as we used to see with Paul. I attribute both of their successes so far as their willingness to listen to George and be guided by him.
I think it’s a lost art with trainers. There are very few trainers now that have that ability, George is one of the few. My brother Joe, not just because he’s my brother, is very astute at that also, but I can’t name you too many more that start young men out from their first fight. Virgil did with Andre [Ward]. But trainers that have done it multiple times, there are very few. It’s a big fight for George and Thomas to find out where the ‘Top Dogg’ is because not too many people manhandle Gabriel Campillo.
John Molina Jr announced himself on the world stage with his performance against Lucas Matthysse. Are you looking to get him into a big fight again next?
I’ve always known John, that work ethic and dedication to overcome everything. It was unfortunate that he got a bad rap in his fight against Antonio DeMarco. He got a bad rap in that and I’m very glad to see him overcome that in succeeding fights he had with Dannie Williams, who is a good puncher, and Mickey Bey. Against [Andrey] Kilmov he showed his chin is as strong as ever. With all due respect to Terence Crawford and his performance (against Yuriorkis Gamboa), it was nothing like Matthysse-Molina, that was intense from the first round until it was stopped in the eleventh round. These are the types of fighters that you want to see have success and make money because they’re the ones that give it everything they’ve got. It’s really a flashback to the yesteryear fighters which made boxing one of the most popular sports of any.
How is Chris Arreola doing?
Chris had elbow surgery last week to take out some bone chips, had it cleaned out. He’ll be better than ever. It’s been a pain in the butt for many years to him, I know it bothered him quite often in training. The key is that he finally got it done. He put up a great fight with Stiverne, he’ll get his shot again and we’ll keep pushing. His rating on ESPN that night was tremendous. We’ll take it a step at a time, we’ll look to get him back and hopefully to another world title shot.
Josesito López has had some tough fights but seems to be getting back into a groove. How do you see things for him in the next couple of fights?
Josesito is another one of those “give it your all” type fighters who I expect to get that next opportunity and have the ‘Riverside Rocky’ get his dream of a world championship. He’s fought a lot of solid guys and we know with Maidana it could have gone either way, I think the size had a lot to do with it. But Josesito is getting to that point where he feels comfortable at 147lbs. He was coming down from the Álvarez fight where he weighed 153lbs. I truly thought we had that Maidana fight won. He’s a guy that can beat any 147lbs fighter at any given time. I thought he won the Jessie Vargas fight but it was a split decision that I believe should have gone his way. After that he virtually retired Victor Ortíz.
I saw Andre Dirrell was added to the August 1 card, will you be promoting him now?
I had a great relationship with Andre and his brother years ago. We used to promote his fights so it’s great to have him on the card, so we’ll just go from there.
What are your views on PPV’s which are a topic of discussion at the moment. Are they overpriced in the US?
There’s nothing wrong with PPV, I think what’s happened is that it’s been priced across the board all the same. I don’t think that works when you work with an HBO or Showtime, if you don’t have a top level fighter on their network it’s reflected in the licence fee. Nothing against Bob’s Pacquiao fight with Algieri, but I certainly hope he prices it properly and lets the fans have the opportunity to purchase it because it’s going to be a tough sell.
What did you make of the estimated 80 thousand crowd at Wembley Stadium to see Carl Froch’s rematch against George Groves?
I’m pleased for Carl and Eddie. The British fans have always been special, great followers of their superstar fighters, so they appreciate and know they’ll get their money’s worth with a guy like Carl, so it was good. I just want to get see him in with Ward though, that’s the fight I want to see get done.
Could that rematch ever happen?