The Boxing Esq. Podcast, Ep.54: Joe DeGuardia
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 10 world champions in his 20-plus years in the sport.
His guest on this episode is New York promoter Joe DeGuardia. They discussed how Joe got into the sport growing up in the Bronx through his dad and uncle who were pro boxers. They got into Joe’s amateur career and his winning the New York Golden Gloves in 1988. They then talked about Joe starting in the pro game as a manager and then turning to promotion and forming Star Boxing Promotions. They also got into the fighters he’s promoted over the years including, Antonio Tarver, Reggie Johnson, Montell Griffin and many others. They also spoke about his current roster of fighters including Joe Smith, Carlos Takam, Chris Algieri and Cletus Seldin.
Additionally, they spoke about Joe’s attempt at organizing the sport through the organization he founded the Boxing Promoters Association.
Below are a few excerpts from the interview:
On growing up in the Bronx in a boxing family:
“I grew up in the Bronx, New York in the Morris Park section. The neighborhood that I grew up in spent my whole youth, I guess up until, uh, all my life basically. I still do a lot in the Bronx and my businesses are done in the Bronx. My background comes from being on the streets in the Bronx and coming from a boxing family. And because of that, I gravitated right away as a kid to the boxing gym every day in my life. My dad and my uncle were both pro fighters. I got pictures when I was a baby, a year old, two years old with the little gloves on. So everything I remember is boxing. And then my father used to take me to the gyms when I was, you know, three and four or five, five years old, six years old. You know, my earliest memories are of boxing and boxing gyms.”
On working with Joe Smith and what’s next for him:
“Joe’s been a real rewarding experience for me. The game, there’s so many highs and lows in boxing, when you have a lot of different kinds of experiences and with Joe, I tell you what, when he knocked out Fonfara, I literally jumped out of my seat and I don’t know if I jumped that high in a long time. It was a great experience. Because when you got a guy who was a 20-1 underdog. It’s amazing, you know, same thing – almost, when Tarver knocked out Roy Jones, it’s like, Oh my God! It brings out the fan in you.
And it’s not that easy because let’s face it. You sit at thousands and thousands of boxing matches. I promoted hundreds and hundreds of fights, you know, shows and thousands of fighters and on cards and things like that. So, it’s nice and rewarding when you can pull out the thing that really makes you love the sport so much. And I had those experiences with Joe.
Obviously, when he knocked Bernard out of the ring, it was a real experience. And I love and respect Bernard and Hopkins and I have a real good relationship. But it was something else, it was really exciting and bittersweet because I know Bernard and all. But you know, it was rewarding. Especially I finally got Bernard back for what he did to Antonio Tarver. (Bernard was a) big (under)dog that night. Nobody really expected that one.
That’s a boxing game. It’s so exciting. And now, I’m hopeful that Joe, you know, I really would love to see Joe grab the Light Heavyweight Championship of the World. I know he really wants it. And, He’s been training. He had a nice, good win against Jesse Hart, right before the pandemic hit. And now we have Eleider Alvarez scheduled for August 22nd. They were supposed to fight July 16th. But, as often happens in this game, it got postponed because of Alvarez. I’ll say his, um, boxing injuries. I’m a little skeptical of it. But look, fortunately, it’s back on and it will be on August 22nd looking forward to it.”
On why he formed the Boxing Promoters Association in 2009:
“The market was, at the time, the promoters were getting banged up from every step of the way. From a regulatory standpoint and the other standpoints, and I think a lot of people were making decisions that didn’t really know what was really happening. And I said, Hey, you know, we gotta have a voice. You know, we’re the guys that know what’s going on here. And, I also felt that we could do a lot for the sport and I still believe that. And really we came together, we got a lot accomplished. But, like anything else, once you get the things accomplished, people say, okay, well, we got what we had to get. But there’s just so many other things that exist in our sport that I believe that working together benefits. And our interests, aren’t always going to be the same, but as an industry, there has to be some kind of focal point. And our industry doesn’t have that. So nobody really speaks on behalf of our industry or works on behalf of our industry. To me, that would be a good impetus to be able to get that to work.
Ultimately, my vision has been and is to pull in the other aspects of the industry, ultimately as well. There’s a promoter side, there’s a fighter’s side, there’s a management side, there’s a sanctioning body side. There’s a regulatory side. You know, all of these different facets of the game really should be working together. Again, even though our interests aren’t always going to be the same, you have to be able to work together in a lot of respects to be able to make the game better.”