The Boxing Esq. Podcast, Ep. 31: David Duenez
The Ring is proud to present “The Boxing Esq. Podcast with Kurt Emhoff”. Emhoff, an attorney based in New York City, is a top boxing manager who has represented over ten world champions in his 20-plus years in the sport.
His guest on this podcast is the owner of the Leave It In The Ring podcast network David Duenez. They discussed the latest news in the boxing world including the Light Heavyweight title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde; the junior featherweight fights won by Brandon Figueroa and Stephen Fulton; the Ruiz-Joshua II negotiations and Dana White’s entry into the world of boxing.
Additionally, they spoke of David’s background in the sport and the formation of the Leave It In The Ring podcast network.
Below are a few excerpts from the interview:
On the Kovalev-Yarde fight:
“I got to eat some crow because even when the fight was being negotiated, I honestly was picking Anthony Yarde to pull it off. He’s a big strong kid. I liked the way he throws his combinations to the body and he paints back upstairs. I wasn’t really sure the mental state of Kovalev. I know Buddy McGirt is a great trainer, a really good trainer. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to him numerous times, either on the podcast or in person. But what I noticed with Buddy at times is that he’ll get a guy that’s going kind of spiraling down and he gets him back. You know, at a level where it’s kinda like a mirage sometimes. Right. He did a great job with Arturo Gatti. He had him boxing, but as soon as you got him back to the ropes, as soon as you got him back into that mud, they always reverted to their old self. So I wasn’t sure with Kovalev if that was gonna happen. Obviously Kovalev’s a completely different fighter from Gatti and he was able to use a lot of his experiences. His amateur background came into light. He was able to capitalize on Anthony Yarde’s inexperience in being in championship rounds.
I thought it was a gimmick when Yarde’s trainer said we do no sparring. I didn’t believe that. I was like, that can’t be true. Can’t be true. You just can’t prepare yourself, especially against the Krusher like that without any sparring. Without testing whether or not, you’re gonna if you have that second, third gear if it’s needed.
You know what I mean? And, and then you also want to be able to capitalize on the mistakes of your opponent. That’s what a train is supposed to do. You know, I’ve always compared the trainer as the coach in the watchtower at a football game, they’re the guys up in the top. They’re able to see the whole field. They’re able to see all the plays that are being played out. And then they’re the ones that call down to the field coach, which would be the fighter who’s in the ring and call in the mistakes and make these adjustments that need to be made. How do you do that if you don’t even know if your guy can make those adjustments on the fly when you don’t have no sparring. So I was really, really puzzled by that.”
On how he sees a potential Kovalev-Canelo fight going:
“I think it’s a very interesting fight. Is there a lot of wear and tear on Kovalev? Absolutely. We saw it, but again, Yarde is a big kid. Yarde, I bet if I remember correct, was coming forward and was able to push back Kovalev. So we saw Kovalev had to dig deep as well. Can Canelo do the same thing? It’s really hard to say and I think that’s why it makes it such an interesting fight. Canelo is the more talented guy right now in my opinion. He’s more fluent in what he’s been doing but very consistent in his counter-punching. He’s gotten better at coming forward at times it might have happened for some reason because of his knee, he has to do that. If he could win this fight, it’s going to be a hard earned fight against Kovalev. So I feel a lot of people are saying that he’s going to be the favorite. I’m not entirely sold with that yet. I know in Vegas that Canelo would be the favorite, but I dunno Kurt, to me right now it’s a 50-50 fight.
It really depends. Kovalev should be riding high off of this Yarde fight, because it was a young tough kid who could punch, who is athletic, just didn’t have the experience. Canelo doesn’t have that power to keep a big guy like Kovalev off. But he would definitely make a miss a lot and frustrate him. Enough where it can mentally break ’em down where Andre Ward was able to do that and make him quit at times and get really sloppy. But Ward is a big guy as well too. So to me there’s a lot of questions that could be answered if they fight. But I’m not going to be so quick in saying, oh, it’s a good fight for Canelo and it’s a very easy winnable one. I think it’s a winnable one, but I think it’s going to be hard fought for him.”
On the difference between Brandon and Omar Figueroa:
“I like Brandon. I like Brandon a lot. In terms of where their focus is at, Omar just, I think that’s always been the big question mark. Even before the fans started seeing it, everybody behind the scenes, everybody that I spoke to back before when Omar was being talked up a lot, were all saying the same thing. Like we’re not sure if this guy’s serious. He doesn’t show up to camp. He doesn’t want to spar. He doesn’t want to do this. He doesn’t want to train. It was hard to get to him to the gym. There was always something circling around him. With his brother. I’m not really hearing a whole lot of that. No, I’m hearing there’s more of a serious attitude about that. You see this in the gyms all the time. The guy with the most talent is the guy that you’re hard- pressed to get him in there. Now the guy that works hard and earns his skill level, and I’m not saying Brandon is like that, but I’m just saying that he may be the kid that you know, he’s earning it. He doesn’t want to get it automatically given to him. So he’s fighting for it. Well, Omar was a little different. Everybody was kind of jumping on that wagon a little too early, too soon.”
On the Joshua-Ruiz 2 negotiations and his reaction to the business side of the sport:
“Did you really think that it was going to go that easy though? Did you really think it was going to go that smooth? I mean, cause I remember when the fight happened after there was people giving me a lot of flack because I had a fit on social media like the rematch is not going to happen so smoothly. Trust me, once you have the belt, things change. And exactly that’s what happened. And I said, when you’ve got Al Haymon in your corner as well, things are gonna change a bit. Contracts are contracts in boxing, but what’s stated in there is completely different where we don’t really know what’s being put in those contracts. So I didn’t know what was being put in that contract of whether or not they had a fight on a certain date, whether or not they had a fight on UK soil, et cetera.
But I also said that in boxing . . . sometimes boxing contracts don’t even really matter. It could be broken, can be torn apart. Some promoters with a lot of money are willing to go to court and delay it as long as they can to get what they want, to outwait the other guy. So I wasn’t surprised by this, that there was going to be such a wait and it really wasn’t that long of a wait. Think about it, it wasn’t that long of a wait.
If I had my way, because nowadays everybody’s intrigued with reality TV shows, if I’m wrong, wouldn’t we all be glued to the TV? If these promoters and these managers put cameras on them and just let us watch every detail, every argument, every contract being drawn up so that we could have a glimpse of their world and what was happening. To me, it’s really interesting. I know that some people don’t want to hear the politics of it, but I sit back and I don’t get that upset. I don’t know why, but I’m not one of those that get so outraged of what one guy is doing or like hearing that Dana White wants to get into boxing or Jay Z was getting into boxing.
I’m not one of those that get so upset with it but I’m very intrigued by it. I’m very intrigued of how are they gonna you know, mesh with each other to make good fights happen. And as much as the kicking and screaming that we were witnessing, not just between the two fighters, but the fans as well. I got to tell you this, that it made it more interesting to want to witness this rematch now. Whereas I would’ve been okay cause I said that, you know what, if it doesn’t happen, I’m cool with it because there are so many other players in the division that will make a good round of boxing that I’m okay with it. But since there was bickering the way there was, I tell you what, I’m now very, very much interested in seeing this rematch.”
On Dana White coming into boxing:
“Well, I mean, he’s already dabbing in it. He’s doing stuff with Lou Dibella. He’s putting Lou’s Broadway Boxing on his UFC (Fight) Pass. I think some of the points that he brought up (in his interview with Chris Mannix) being that boxing’s fractured. It’s always been the entry to somebody with money to step into boxing because they understand that the structure is not there, it’s fractured. Al Haymon understood that. Al Haymon did a fantastic job of being invisible with a lot of power and building a brand. Building fighters I don’t think that was his main plan. His plan was to build a brand and to sell it as a TV package to networks. I’m not sure what Dana can do and I don’t even think Dana really knows at this point because I think he was being very realistic in that interview with Chris Mannix.
But with [Dana] saying this is what I would want to do, but I’m not even sure if it could work. I actually enjoyed that. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I enjoyed it because there was truth to what he was saying because everybody comes in with great ideas for boxing. We’ve seen this. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a power player come into the sport and say, “Well I can do this” because they all believe all that is needed is money. That’s not how it works.”
On his advice to folks who want to start a boxing podcast:
“God that’s a tough one. You know when podcasting started up and everybody was kind of new to it, I helped out a lot of shows to do their startup. A lot of them are not around anymore, but some are doing really well with their podcast shows and whatnot. I’ll tell you what, I think that a lot of these boxing podcasts that do come across or I have a lot of podcasters sending me their show to listen to and asking me my opinion. And a lot of times I don’t answer back. I don’t feel that’s right of me to criticize anybody’s show, even though some podcasters really piss me off, man. Some of the stuff that they say but I think what a lot of guys are doing wrong is that they’re trying to be the star of the sport. They’re speaking out of their terms in terms of putting themselves as if they’ve been there or they’ve done this.
I try not to do that at all. I try to keep it as unbiased as I can. Because we don’t really know. We can speculate and we can speak to different managers and promoters and whatnot. But, you know, really honestly, in the fight game, as you know Kurt is that the truth can, what you’re being told at the moment can be the truth, but in five minutes it can change immediately.
Look, just deliver whatever content you’re trying to get across and try to get as clear as you can and try to do as much research as you can before speaking on something and just keep it across the board as much as you can because, like I said in boxing, the truth could change in five minutes and it’s happened to everybody a lot of times.”