The CBZ Newswire

Interview: Boxing Manager and Trainer James Hogan

by on Oct.21, 2010, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

by Chris Shelton

October 21, 2010 — I recently had the pleasure of interviewing boxing manager and trainer James Hogan.  James is the manager of close to 20 boxers in the Mid-Atlantic region.  He is a man who is trying to make big things happen in and around the Baltimore fight scene.  We recently sat down at a press conference for the “Who’s The Man II” fight card that takes place on December 11 (due to a last-minute postponement from the original October 23, 2010, date) at Pikesville Armory in Maryland.  One of his fighters, James “Keep’em Sleepin” Stevenson fights in the main event.

Chip Mitchell:  James thanks for granting us this opportunity to interview you before the big fight card coming up next week.

James Hogan:  No problem at all.

Chip Mitchell:  With over 20 fighters to manage, you have a busy schedule coming up as many of your fighters have dates to do battle.  How do you juggle your time amongst so many fighters?

James Hogan:  Well it’s a full time job.  We train all day long, from the morning to the evening.  So we just put all our time into boxing.  A full time job!

Chip Mitchell:  How did you get started in the fight game?

James Hogan:  Actually, I moved to Maryland in ’99.  My father was in the boxing business for a long time.  I chose to go the martial arts route. Vincent Pettway was working for the cable company and I was a manager.  We started talking and I wanted to get back into the fight business.  When I came here (to Maryland), I didn’t really like the martial arts world here.  I didn’t feel like I was at home.  I’m from New Jersey and that’s where I started out with martial arts.  So I decided to do the boxing thing and I kind of wanted to resurrect him because he was really away from boxing.  I thought that his talent was in boxing and not cable.  Not saying that he was a bad technician or nothing (chuckles), but his talent was in boxing.  I thought he deserved a lot more, being a world champion and the very first one in probably over 50 years in Baltimore.  I started training with him in the Mack Lewis gym in order to prepare for a boxing career myself.  I started to travel with him and my shoulder was giving me problems, so I kind of shied away from boxing, actually doing it myself.  But I started to make a lot of connections and friends in boxing.  I actually had the intention to promote until I started training James Stevenson.  He kind of forced me into management (chuckle) and he was like ‘if you don’t manage me I’m not fighting’, so I was like okay.  So I kind of got into it and it just took off.  It just took off. 

Chip Mitchell:  Who would you say is your most promising pro prospect at the moment?

James Hogan:  All of them!  Unfair for me to answer that question.  I have faith in all of them.  I think all of them have abilities and all different styles.  Somebody will make it.

Chip Mitchell:  For fight fans that don’t know, explain what your duties are as a manager.

James Hogan:  I’m trying to figure out what my duties aren’t! (Laughs).  It’s a very busy job.  I mean you have to coordinate fights, negotiate contracts.  There is some promoting you have to do- not promoting the fight, but promoting the fighter.  Oh my goodness!   I mean scheduling, training- it’s a very, very busy job.  Let’s just say that. 

Chip Mitchell:  Okay, so we can call it many responsibilities for a lot of different types of personalities.

James Hogan:  Oh absolutely!  I mean you have all different walks of life.  Everybody has good things going and bad things going.  Oh my goodness, yeah, you deal with a lot of personalities and testosterone and men in the gym who want to fight each other so… yeah you go through a lot in this business.

Chip Mitchell:  Are there certain qualities that you look for in a fighter before you decide to manage them?

James Hogan:  Yeah.  To me it’s dedication.  I don’t care.   You can be the worst fighter in the world.  If you’re dedicated and you want to do this, you can be a fighter and you can do well.    What pushes me away from a fighter… I don’t care how good you are, if you don’t train and you don’t put the work in and you’re not dedicated and committed to it, you won’t make it.  Boxing is a lifestyle.  It’s not just a sport you compete in.  It’s a lifestyle.  Because if you don’t eat right, and you don’t drink right, and you don’t rest right, and you don’t live your life right- you can’t cheat boxing.  It’s the one sport where you can’t pass the ball to a teammate, or tap out, or get a substitute.  You gotta do it on your own.  I mean, I can tell you what to do, but YOU’VE got to do it.

Chip Mitchell:  That’s deep, that’s deep.  Okay, if you had a chance to manage any fighter in the history of the sport, who would it be and why?  I’m talking outside of the young men you are working with now. 

James Hogan:  Wow!  Aww man!!  Don’t know how to answer that question.  There are so many great fighters and I really, really appreciate the sport.  There’s nobody that really jumps out or stands out to me.  I mean, it’s just so many personalities.   I could sit here naming guys off for different reasons, but I don’t think I could pick somebody in particular.

Chip Mitchell:  Okay, well let me go this route then… who are your favorite fighters past or present?

James Hogan:  I guess I’ll name some fighters off.  Although I respect the sport tremendously, I don’t have a particular favorite fighter.   I do like Shane Mosley, how he conducts himself.  Always a professional, always speaks well, never ducks anybody and he fights everybody.  I like the personality of Muhammad Ali.  He was slick talking but he used tact and diplomacy.  So it wasn’t like he was just running out there talking out the side of his neck.  He actually knew what he was saying.  An educated guy.  I used to like Mike Tyson like everybody.  I liked to watch him fight.  Evander Holyfield.  I mean, just a ton of guys.  If I had to pick a guy I think Sugar Shane Mosley definitely conducts himself very well, never makes excuses, and is always humble.  So I like that.

Chip Mitchell:  Where do you want to be in the boxing game five years from now?

James Hogan:  In the boxing game, this might sound crazy, but I actually want to make a difference here in Baltimore, Maryland.  I want to change the culture.  You know, a lot of these fighters fight here locally but they always have to go out of town to get a big fight on TV or anything like that.  I’d like to see a change.  I’d liked to see it come here.  I think there are a lot of good fighters here and I feel that they deserve a chance.  The only way they are gonna get a chance is if we can get the public eye on Baltimore and let them see there is talent here.  Because if you keep going out of town it’s like you’re always going to that guy’s backyard and you’re always at a disadvantage.  I just think that it would be great to actually get some big fights here and get some television in here.  I want to make that difference.  I want to SOMEHOW get that here.  I think we will in the next few years and then from there everything else will fall into place.  I don’t chase dreams.  I don’t chase anything.  I mean, absolutely I have goals.  I strive for perfection so if I come up short, I’m going to be doing just fine. 

Chip Mitchell: In closing, is there anything you would like to tell the millions of fans reading this interview transcript?

James Hogan:  Yes.  We have a tremendous amount of talent here in Baltimore, Maryland and we just want an opportunity to show everyone we have that.  It’s coming soon and they will see it.  They will see the talent here in the near future.  UP–UP– UPTON… WE’RE ON THE RIZE!  Gotta Love Boxing!!!

Thanks to Matt  “The Catalyst”  Yano for facilitating this interview.

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