Ferguson: Don't count me out Bowe's opponent gets his big shot BOXING

May 19, 1993|By Richard Finn | Richard Finn,Contributing Writer

As recently as January, Jesse Ferguson was just anothe nondescript boxer earning $10,000 a fight and moonlighting as a construction worker and security guard in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Until now, the most notable part of his 10-year pro career was the two years he spent as Mike Tyson's sparring partner.

Ferguson, 36, will hit it big Saturday, when he will earn $500,000 to fight heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe at Washington's RFK Stadium. By Sunday, chances are he will again be just another nondescript boxer. But don't try telling Ferguson that.

"I want to show him up and knock him out and then we can have a rematch," Ferguson said.

One Las Vegas oddsmaker is listing the 12-round HBO bout for Bowe's World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles as an "exhibition." Ferguson is 19-9 with 13 knockouts. Bowe, 25, is 33-0 with 28 KOs.

"I'm bringing in all the confidence of the world that I can be the heavyweight champion of the world," Ferguson said.

"You watch my fights and look at me. I have been in with some good guys and I don't look beat up. I've been in with a lot of punchers and I've been hit. I'm not stuttering when I talk.

"They didn't give me a chance to beat Ray Mercer," added Ferguson, who upset Mercer on Feb. 6.

When Mercer lost the 10-round decision at Madison Square Garden, he lost an agreed-upon $2 million deal to fight Bowe next. And Ferguson, who had lost three of his previous four fights, won a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fight the heavyweight champion.

"When I was losing fights five months ago, I never thought I would be fighting for the heavyweight championship," Ferguson said.

"It happened so fast that both Jesse and I were speechless," said Ferguson's trainer, Roman Fuller.

Now Ferguson is the star attraction in the gym and not just a sparring partner to Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Razor Ruddock, Michael Moorer and Mercer.

"Emotionally I'm always up," he said. "I'm so thrilled by it I'm ready to rock. Looking at me physically, you can see I'm fit, already in fighting shape, and I'm getting better every day.

"I have a puncher's chance, and that is more than most guys have," said Ferguson, 225 pounds.

To land that punch, Ferguson will try to crowd Bowe, Fuller said.

RTC "We are going to take it to him," Fuller said. "We are going to be right on his chest. Jesse is a good puncher with either hand and is strong."

Ferguson said he believes that Bowe can be hurt.

"I can look at his fights and see different guys have hit him and hurt him," Ferguson said. "Once I hit him, he will realize he is going to be in a fight and not in a cakewalk. I'm going to knock him out."

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