Joe Mesi

Heavyweight Joe Mesi (17-0), from Buffalo, New York, is your typical up-and-coming contender: unbeaten prospect, not that high TV exposure, great expectations from the boxing world. But Joe Mesi is also something more: he is a guy who has a lot to say about boxing and a lot to say outside of boxing; a guy you'd like to hang out with, to listen to his thoughts about sports and about life.

Interview by: Alessandro Ferrarini
Alessandro: Hello Joe, thanks for taking the time to talk to Boxing Wise Mesi: Hello, Alessandro. It's a pleasure for me: I couldn't reach you before, because I have been out of town for a while. Alessandro: Boxing related issues? Mesi: Yeah, I was nearby Boston, training with John Ruiz for his penciled fight with Evander Holyfield. I made it back to Buffalo when the bout was postponed (note: Holyfield-Ruiz is now back on the schedule, on August 12) Alessandro: Well, you know most of the boxing people think that Ruiz is an undeserving #1 contender. What can you tell me about that and about Ruiz skills? Mesi: I know most of the people do not agree with his ranking but, right now, he is ranked at #1, that means he is going to fight for a title. I can tell you that he was doing great in training and that he is no bum. I don't know if he can do enough to defeat Evander, neither do I know if his last opponents can justify his #1 spot, but what I do know is that he is going to put on a good performance. His fans won't be ashamed of him, definitely. Alessandro: OK, Joe, now let's talk a little about the whole picture in the heavy division: your body frame does not fit the current standards for heavyweights... Mesi: Yes, yes, I know. At 6' 1 and 230 lbs (like I am) you're considered an average heavy today, if not a small one. Once I was disturbed by this and I wished I could grow up a little more... Now I learnt how to use my body, I know the way I can use my size as an advantage, I feel comfortable on the ring. Alessandro: I guess your trainers helped you a lot. Mesi: Everything I know, I owe it to Juan de Leon. Juan is the younger brother of former cruiser champ Carlos de Leon: do you remember him? Alessandro: Yeah, Carlos was a great champ. At the end of his career he lost his belt in Italy, against Massimiliano Duran. Mesi: I did some sparring with Carlos. Juan de Leon is my trainer and I want him to be a member of Team Mesi as long as I fight. I have no problems in handling with a new trainer, as long as Juan is involved. He helped me during the first stages of my career and I think we can achieve great results together. I'm happy with the way my career is developing, last June I was on ESPN2 and, hopefully, my next bout will be the main event on the show. Alessandro: OK Joe, next question is a not a nice one, but it's just because we live in a not-so-nice world. Your skin is white and this is still a factor for some people. Never been afraid that somebody looks at you because of your skin, and not because of your skills? Mesi: When I first went to the gym, I learnt how to box. I found out I have good skills, very good, and I want to be the champ of the world, not the champ of the white guys, the champ of the people who grew up in the United States or stuff like that. I know some people watch the world with this perspective, it's just a not-so-nice world, as you said. I don't like this perspective, I'm a fighter and I face another fighter; I'm not a "white" fighter. I fight to earn a championship, I don't fight for anything else. Alessandro: Just a final question, Joe: you've been rumored to fight overseas too, to fight in Italy as a matter of fact, because of your Italian heritage. Is this option alive yet? Mesi: It's definitely alive. I'd love to fight in Italy, I was supposed to fight on the Tyson-Savarese undercard, but that bout was held in Scotland, not in Italy, so that things slowed down. But it's a dream of mine to go to Italy, it's a dream of my family, too. I really hope it can happen in the future, I'm even planning on getting dual citizenship (note: Mesi's grandparents came to the USA from Sicily, Italy). I hope to show my skills to the whole world, and I know how Italian fans can be warm. Alessandro: Well, thank you, Joe. Was a pleasure talking to you. Mesi: My pleasure, Alessandro. Let's keep in touch. Joe Mesi ranks his top 10 heavyweights 1. Lennox Lewis - Lewis, unlike most of the top ten, has proven and deserved his ranking. Undoubtingly the best, though it will be interesting to see him against Tua and Tyson styles. 2. Evander Holyfield - Arguably one of the greatest heavyweights of this era with nothing left to prove. Showing signs of age and many wars in the ring. Though still dangerous and exciting, he should retire on top. 3. Ike Ibeabuchi - Well it's no secret, Ike could be champ but probably won't. Anyhow just what the divison needs, another unstable contender... Physically the toughest of the top ten, the most durable, but maybe beatable by experience. 4. David Tua - After the Obed Sullivan blowout he's earned more of my respect but I still can't forget seeing him lose most of the rounds against slow Hasim Rahman before the knockout, he seems beatable by boxing and using the ring and avoiding his power; of course, easier said than done. 5. Mike Tyson - Though Tyson's not a people person and is undeserving to be a champion, he's still dangerously strong and exciting. 6. Oleg Maskaev - Oleg is strong, but I can't yet understand what else it is that makes him so impressive. I need to see more of him, maybe against Golota, I'd like to see that! 7. Michael Grant - I don't credit him so much for his ability, more for his size and strenght. Always a difficult fight because of his height. 8. Chris Byrd - Same thing everyone else would say: fast, slick, and frustrating, but the Klitschko fight showed some weaknesses and I don't see him defeating anyone ranked above him. 9. Andrew Golota - Golota is a solid opponent for all of the top ten; stil exciting to watch and, hopefully, a possible future opponent for myself. 10. Wladimir Klitschko - Wladimir was impressive in his Barrett fight. Powerful and dangerous, can only improve facing better competition. Be sure to read more of Alessandro Ferrarini's work at

Joe Mesi's Career Record 17-0 (15 K.O's)

Born in Albany, New York, November 27, 1973 Stands 6 foot, 1 inch tall Amateur Marks: 1995: Golden Gloves: 2nd place heavyweight 1996: Olympic Trials 2nd place Super-Heavyweight beat: Charles Shufford points beat: T.J. Wilson lost to: Lawrence Clay-Bey - 1997 - Nov-1-1997 New York City NY Dwayne Cason KO 1 Nov-25-1997 El Paso, TX Jim Brackney KO 2 Dec-4-1997 Albany, NY Calvin Smith W 4 - 1998 - Feb-20-1998 Baton Rouge LA Butch Spratt KO 1 Apr-2-1998 Buffalo NY Mike Mc Grady KO 3 Jun-25-1998 Ledyard CT Art Bayliss KO 1 Jul-26-1998 Verona NY Kevin Rosier TKO 2 Aug-27-1998 Houston TX Martin Lopez KO 3 Oct-9-1998 Port Chester WV Jihad Abdulaziz W 4 Dec-3-1998 Houston TX Rodney Mc Swain TKO 3 - 1999 - Feb-19-1999 Verona NY Dwayne Hall TKO 1 Apr-24-1999 Portland OR Brian Sargent KO 1 Jun-4-1999 Philadelphia PA Rowyan Wallace KO 2 Sep-17-1999 Buffalo NY Anthony Green TKO 8 Dec-17-1999 Pittsburgh PA Gary Winmon TKO 1 - 2000 - Feb-25-2000 Cranston RI John Rainwater TKO 3 Jun-23-2000 Biloxi MS Matt Green KO 2