Exclusive Interview: Jesse James Leija
Leija launches website!
2-Time World Champion, Jesse James Leija.
Former 2 time World Champion Jesse James Leija may have retired from boxing, but he sure hasn't stopped being productive. Leija launched a new sausage line in Texas, and continues to touch the lives of those with disabilities by launching The Miracle League. The Miracle League is a real baseball league for people with disabilities. James Leija once again proves why he continues to be a champion outside of the ring. Boxingtalk just caught up with this special former World Champion, and here is what he had to say.
BT - James you recently opened up a new Boxing and Fitness Center in San Antonio, talk more about this.
JL - Right now it's taking up so much of my time, we are working out all of the kinks, and making sure the scheduling is done right. We haven't even done any advertising for the gym yet, and we have people coming in every day joining up. We plan on a big media event I believe on the 7th or 8th of January where the major TV stations will come down.
The gym is exciting, and it's a lot of hard work, sometimes I tell my wife that I am going to go back to boxing to get a break from running the gym (laughs).
BT - James as your gym membership grows, I am guessing you will be looking to hire more trainers.
JL - Yes exactly, we are already looking to do that right now because I can't be there every day. I am going to hire one or two more people to make sure the gym is being run right, and the members are being trained properly. The system that I have is the system that I learned from people like Ronnie Shields, and other trainers that I have learned from over the years.
BT - James although you are very busy, there will be times when your members will get a chance to train with you personally?
JL - Yes, when you are one on one you learn so much more. It's like when I was with Ronnie Shields training for a fight, you learn so much from training with someone one on one.
BT - James let's talk about this new website that you just launched.
JL - Well if you want to find out about my new gym, and my new sausage company, and about me on a personal level, they can go to my new website www.jessejamesleija.com the site will also have The Miracle League links on it. It's a good website, my fans will be able to email me, and I will email them back, it's a get to know Jesse James Leija website. We will be selling T-Shirts, hats, and all kinds of other stuff.
I have already had over 55,000 hits on the site, and I haven't done any advertising about the site at all. Boxingtalk will be the first to announce that I have this site up and running.
BT - James talk more about your sausage line.
JL - I have a sausage line, sort of like how Earl Campbell had from the Houston Oilers. I have a Hot Link and a Jalapeno sausage as well. The sausage is called Jesse James Leija's Knockout Sausage. The first time people pick it up will be because of my name, but the second time people pick it up it will be because of the taste. Right now I have a contract with HEB stores in Texas, they have 325 stores in Texas, and my sausages will be sold in every one of them.
BT - James do you plan on expanding your sausage line to additional states?
JL - Yes after April I will be looking to do that, we will be doing food shows all over the country.
BT - James talk about The Miracle League.
JL - The miracle league is a baseball league for people with disabilities. It's an incredible thing going on down here for the kids.
BT - James is there a website that people can go to if they are interested in donating to this Miracle League?
JL - Yes its www.miracleleagueofsanantonio.com
BT - James let's get into some boxing, do you have any inspiration to promote boxing in Texas?
JL - Maybe not be so much a promoter, but I would like to help promoters who want to put on fights down here in Texas. I would like to help promote the sport down here because our fans in Texas are so boxing savvy, it would do good down here. Being boxing for so many years, having to train and work at it, I like being a fan. I am going to the Castillo fight in El-Paso, and probably the Vargas fight too. I would like to hook up with Golden Boy, Oscar Delahoya, and he knows that.
BT - James, give a shout out to Oscar right here in this interview about that.
JL - Well Oscar knows that I want to be a part of his team, but they have to make the first move on it. I have been friends with Oscar for a long time I would like to extend my thoughts, and experience, and I think I would be a great asset to their team at Golden Boy.
BT - James you train a pretty good fighter in Golden Johnson, how's he doing?
JL - Golden has been in the gym working really hard. Golden always had the talent, but never had the discipline or motivation. Golden is working so hard, and I believe he can be a world champion based on what I am seeing in the gym. Golden has all of the tools, and there's nothing that can stop him but himself.
BT - What do you see Golden Johnson doing in ’06, James?
JL - I definitely believe you will see a lot of Golden Johnson in 06, he will be world ranked. Hopefully he will get a shot at a World Title.
BT - James I would like to wrap this up by getting your thoughts on a few big fights that are coming up. How do you see the Manny Pacquaio vs. Erik Morales fight?
JL - I think it's going to be just as exciting as the first fight was. I am not exactly sure, but I think Pacquaio has the edge this time. I think Morales losing to Raheem may have damaged his confidence, and he might try too hard, and that's not good. I think Pacquaio will win the fight....
BT - James Toney vs. Hasim Rahman.
JL - These guys don't like each other too much (laughs) I think it's going to be a great fight though. I think Rahman will want to prove that he deserves the Championship he got, and Toney wants the belt back. I don't even want to pick this one (laughs).
BT - Floyd Mayweather vs. Zab Judah.
JL - If I had to pick one, it would have to be Mayweather... You can't hit that guy. I think both fighters are good fighters, but Mayweather should win this one.
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Web Posted: 01/03/2006