|Keeping Up With... Joey Gamache
INTERVIEW by Shawn M. Murphy (Aug 6, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Recently I spoke with former two-time world champion Joey Gamache. Gamache turned pro in 1987 and beat Jerry Ngobeni for the vacant WBA super featherweight title in 1991. He won the vacant WBA lightweight title in 1992 with a win over Chil-Sung Chun.
In a controversial bout against Arturo Gatti in 2000, Gamache was knocked out in the second round. Gatti allegedly gained almost nineteen pounds between the weigh-in and the fight or never truly made weight at all.
A lawsuit is still pending to this day. Gamache retired after this bout with a final record of 55-4 with 38 knockouts.
Shawn M. Murphy: Joey when did you first start boxing?
Joey Gamache: I was about ten years old. I think I had about one hundred fights. I won a couple Nationals, was #1 in the United States and about #3 or #4 in the world. I was a team captain and won a bronze medal at the US Olympic Trials. I had a pretty good amateur career.
SM: What do you remember about your first title win over Irving Mitchell for the IBF Intercontinental super featherweight title?
JG: I remember he was a top ten contender, also fought Brian Mitchell. I felt I had the style to beat him and it was a good step up for me at that point.
SM: You also won the WBA super featherweight and lightweight titles. Which fight was your career highlight?
JG: Of course winning the title was always a career highlight but I think the fight that was most defining was the Julio Cesar Chavez fight. It was one of the top five fights of 1996. I fought my heart out in that one.
SM: You lost the lightweight title in 1992 to Tony Lopez. What happened?
JG: Everything was working, I was out-boxing him and I remember going into the eleventh round that I was winning the fight. Two judges had me ahead and the third had us even. It's just that I had a propensity for cutting and Tony Lopez didn't give up. He persevered and he caught me in the eleventh. I got back up off the floor but the referee stopped it. It was just another situation where you never quit, you just fight until there's nothing left. I was ready to continue but they stopped it, what can you do. I was happy with my performance; you can’t always win every fight.
SM: What happened in the Orzubek Nazarov fight?
JG: That was a wham, bam, thank you mam fight. I never got started. He turned out to be a real solid fighter. That's the danger element of boxing, you can get caught. I got caught early and never recovered.
SM: Can we talk about the Gatti fight, is there still a lawsuit pending?
JG: Yes there is. It's coming to an end pretty much where we'll know one way or the other. He was like nineteen pounds overweight, too big and strong. He came in at like 160lbs. I don't think he ever really made weight. Gatti was a good fighter, just too big for me. You know in my other losses as in this one, I never fought a fight to survive. If it came down to me going down on my shield, I would. I never wanted to get knocked out or get beat, but I was in with some good fighters. I fought four world champions.
SM: Does the damage from the Gatti fight affect your everyday life? Was there any lasting damage such as migraines?
JG: Well I mean damage to my pride maybe. There isn’t much too really talk about on that. I'm doing fine, I feel good. It happened and that's it.
SM: Any regrets looking back on your career?
JG: Not really. If I would have cheated or neglected training maybe, but I never did that. I was never out of shape for a fight. I took every fight serious. I was young and had good trainers around me. It was difficult for me to make weight at 130-140 lbs. I walked around even as an amateur at 147-150lbs. I always had to drop a lot of weight before fights.
SM: How did you get hooked up with Emanuel Steward?
JG: It was through a couple friends of mine that had seen me in the gym and Jimmy Glenn, a cut man from the New York area. He knew my background and actually worked with me the last four years or so. He knew me well and knew my dedication. He saw that I brought that to the gym. He mentioned my name to Emanuel Steward and now I'm an assistant trainer for him.
SM: I know you work with Klitschko, what other fighters are you working with?
JG: All of us work as a team. We worked with guys like Kermit Cintron and Aaron Pryor Jr. We all work as a team.
SM: Why can some fighters be effective trainers and some can't?
JG: I think you have to have a certain personality, knowledge and have all your faculties, meaning no damage from your boxing career. With former fighters there's a lot of knowledge there and we can relate to what their going through. You really have to be able to connect with the guys.
SM: Any future plans we should know about or is training what you want to do?
JG: Absolutely I want to be a top trainer out there. I was always a good technical fighter and it's my way of contributing back to the game and help the young guys.
SM: Joey anything else you want to mention?
JG: Just that I was the type of fighter that worked hard and I always wanted to improve in the game. It's all out there for me to achieve as a trainer. I have a good background for it. I hope I can become one of the top trainers in the game.
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