While I was covering the fights last week at Michael's Eighth Avenue an idea dawned on me while sitting ringside watching a particular up and coming Crusierweight by the name of Dangerous Dana Dunston. I thought to myself that you the readers would find it interesting to hear what a young pro such as Dana thought just starting out in the fight game instead of hearing from one of the big names I have interviewed as of late. Will I could not have picked a better fighter than Dana to do this type of interview. Dana and I sat in my home office and talked candidly about boxing a sport that we both love very much. Dana as you will read is a very articulate, outspoken and someone who has a true desire to see himself and his community move forward in a positive manner. How can you not like someone that feels that way? You can't!
Interview by: Brad Berkwitt Dana Dunston Bio: Dana is a native of Buffalo, New York and currently resides in my hometown of the last 9 years, Woodbridge, VA. He turned pro on June 26, 1999 and currently has a record of 4-0 (3KO'S). Dana is trained by Asim Hanif and if that name sounds familiar it should. Asim was the United States Kick Boxing Association Lightweight Champion from 1996 until he retired from the sport in 1997 and on top of that, truly a nice guy who cares about his fighter. Dana is managed by, Chris Middendorf. Brad: What inspired you to get into boxing? Dana: Actually just watching fights with people like Muhammad Ali. Many years later I went to a gym in Alexandria, Virginia named Satellite Boxing. While there, I saw fighters such as Keith Holmes the current WBC Middleweight Champion and former contender, Andrew Maynard. I went for a couple of days to just observe. I decided than to get into shape because I use to be a little heavy. I enjoyed it so much that I stuck with it and as you know, I am fighting as a professional now. Brad: Starting out as a professional do you find you have to supplement your income by working full-time? If so, how do you shuffle work and training? Dana: I do work full-time for MCI Worldwide as a contractor. My schedule is pretty flexible right now since I do most of my work at late hours of the night. This allows me to train basically anytime I want. My supervisors know I am into boxing and support me by allowing flexibility in my schedule. Brad: Since you are relatively new on the boxing scene, what are your observations of the fight game i.e.... getting fights, contract negotiations and any other things you like to comment on? Dana: The one thing I really noticed is contract negotiations. It's weird about the cuts out of the money you pay out. Your manager gets a third, this one gets a percentage and it leaves you with a lot less than I feel you should get since you are the one getting in there doing the fighting. Brad: What are your words of wisdom to the young fighter just lacing up the gloves? Dana: Take your time and don't rush. You must have proper management and believing in your trainer is a must! Even though when a fighter steps in the ring he is basically alone you have to keep everything else together so you as a fighter can be together. (I totally agree with this answer.) Brad: Did you have an amateur career and if so, how was the transition to the pros? Dana: I had a very short amateur career only having three fights. The only difference I see as a pro, you have more time in a fight. As an amateur it's very quick from start to finish in a fight. One other thing is that as an amateur you fight for trophies and as a pro your fighting for money. The m oney aspect makes you tend to do more in the ring. Brad: If you could emulate any fighter, who would it be and why? Dana: Brad, that's a tough one. I would have to say Roy Jones, Jr. The why is I feel pound for pound he is the greatest fighter out there today. He is a very exciting fighter. Brad: Since you brought up Roy's name, how do feel about the debate of Roy going or not going down in history as one of the greatest fighters of all-time even though people keep saying he never had that one really big defining fight? Dana: I feel he has earned the right to go down in history as one of the pound for pound greatest fighters of all-time. I feel Roy has not ducked anyone out there. He has fought everyone they have put in front of him and beaten them all. Brad: What do you think of Roy moving up to Heavyweight as he mentioned and fighting Lennox Lewis? Dana: I would rather him move up and fight me. (Dana said with a chuckle) I feel it is too much in height, reach and overall strength for Roy to fight Lennox. (I totally agree with this answer.) Brad: How long have you followed boxing? Dana: I have followed boxing for almost 25 years now. Brad: Who are your top three favorite fighters of all-time and why? Dana: Rocky Marciano. He was a tough guy and the only Heavyweight Champion to retire undefeated. Muhammad Ali. His finesse and the way he could take a beaten and come back was just amazing. Roy Jones, Jr. Because of all the reasons I mentioned earlier. Brad: What is the greatest fight you have ever seen and why? Dana: Arturo Gatti vs Ivan Robinson I. I loved that fight because they were just tagging each other with back and forth punching. There was never a dull moment in that fight. Brad: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for boxers? Dana: For sure! I feel that any fighter that steps in the ring takes a chance. It's very tough being a fighter with all it involves. I think you should pay into a fund from the start of your career but have a clause where you can weed out the non serious fighters who feel if they come into the ring and aren't around long, can get the benefit of a retirement fund. Bottom line: I agree with you Brad it should start from day one. Brad: What went through your mind when you stepped into the ring for the very first time? Dana: I just couldn't believe it. I am in the ring where I usually see fighters at only on TV. Brad: Even though you don't have the opportunity to fight 15 rounds, would you like to see them reinstated? Dana: No. I feel that 12 are enough to do your business. 36 minutes is enough time to be in there. Brad: What do you think of females in boxing? Dana: I think they are great. There is always lot's of action in their fights. Brad: Do you have a particular location that you would like to fight at one day and why? Dana: Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas because that place has staged some of the greatest fights of all-time. Brad: At a minimum, how many fights do you feel a boxer should have before challenging for a World Title? Dana: I feel they should have at least 15 - 20. I believe after that amount of fights and depending on the level of competition you have faced, should allow you to fight for a title. Brad: How would you feel about boxing going back to the old days when there was only one title belt and one true World Champion in each weight class? Dana: I feel that there should only be one belt. I would still want to see other countries have their titles such as in Europe and places like that. Brad: Do you feel that the ranking system needs to be revised? If so, what changes would you like to see? Dana: To be honest with you Brad, I think I know how it works now but, I feel that the public should rank the fighters and rankings should be based on records. Brad: In all your years of following boxing what is the most brutal knockout you have ever seen? Dana: That's a tough one. I would say when Vincent Pettaway knocked Simon Brown out and Simon was still punching up at the air from the canvas. Brad: After you achieved or attempted to achieve all your goals in boxing. How would you like your fans that started with you from day one to remember you? Dana: That I was the Greatest! (Dana said with a smile that lit up the room.) I want them to remember I was an action fighter who gave his all for the fans. Brad: Finally, what is the saying that you try to live by? Dana: Do on to others as you want done on to you. (Dana made me think of my late father Alvin God rest his soul because he used to love that saying as well.) In closing I asked Dana was there anything he would like to add? This is what he said: I am hoping to get to the point in this life that my voice counts and I know that by becoming the best in boxing today, it will allow me to speak out on issues close to my heart. Issues such as getting guns off the streets and protecting our youths who I deeply care about. Unfortunately, there are lots of people out there like me who go unheard because they are not at a certain level in society to get noticed and that is why I want to make it to the top. I want to make a difference in this world and hopefully there will come a time when I am asked my opinion. When I give it, I hope it will click with others who feel the same way which will start a domino effect. Writers closing comments: Dana as you can see is a very deep rooted person and focused in what he wants to achieve not only in boxing but out. I admire any man that wants to give back to a world that badly needs all of our help to get to where we need to be. Look for updates from time to time on the progress of Dana in my column and let's all wish this guy the best on his attempt to make it to the TOP! I hope this interview has brought some insight into what a young professional fighter thinks and feels at such an early stage of his career. If you have any comments, question's, concerns and praise of my column, please feel free to e-mail at the below address. I answer all my e-mails personally. As always fight fans, keep reaching for the stars and all your dreams can be fulfilled.