Shortly after the fights held on March 8th in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a feud developed between two local fighters, Robert Sockwell and Stephon Burgette. What started as a simple rivalry has turned into a small city feud. I tried to get a hold of both fighters to understand what is going on.
I reached out to Stephen Burgette first. He told me his side of the story, but unfortunately, he does not want me to print it. Robert RJ Sockwell was available for comment and this is what he had to say.
BOXING 4 FREE: How did the feud between you and Burgette start?
It simply started off as “lets just see who’s best” since we’re both 154 pound fighters with under 10 pro wins and we both have defeats early in our careers. The thing is, I didn’t like the fact that the local papers follow up story on the fight (from March 8th) had lots to say about this bum. He was hurt and could have been finished if his guy (Tommy Ayers) didn’t tire. I kept it classy from a “cool” standpoint and offered him a guaranteed purse. Because the money we make at this level isn’t much, but it was an incentive. That was via text message, but he never replied. All this was going on as I was talking to my new manager, Chris Coyne, who promoted the last two events I fought on. Chris himself told me “Rj, I’m 99 percent sure they won’t take that fight, I’ll get that other 1% confirmation for you if it makes you happy.” and the answer was clearly no. I got a phone call from Chris and a separate call from my trainer/big bro Sean Diggs, later that night telling me to let it go. They explained that it isn’t gonna look good, that he (Burgette) is no where near the level I’m at so it’s a pointless fight. And those who know Diggs know he’s undefeated at arguments.
There seems to been a recent incident involving a text message challenge. Can you elaborate on that?
Today, March 29th, I received a text message from a mutual friend of mine and Stephanie oops I mean Stephon, asking me if I was trying to stir things up to fight him. I was like “no, why that’s old news.” She then told me he put up a statement on Facebook that he doesn’t have a scared bone in his body after reading my recent interview, which is comical to me because he is scared to fight me. The facts are plain as day and I’ll relay them down to you. He hates sparring me. I had to damn near force him to give me rounds of boxing and there were times he tried to lie, give me the wrong time to meet up so I’d get there too late to work with him. He’d ask for me to go light with him. That I broke his rib in sparring for the August 2013 fight. Tons and tons of excuses not to mention I had him knocked out on his feet where he walked back to the wrong corner saying he’s ok. I have been told by my team to take it light with him in sparring because he’s just a “body”. But back to the texts, I then texted him, quoted his Facebook post and said if he doesn’t have a scared bone in his body lets make the fight happen. He tried to play the comedian, make jokes in my direction, calling me a hater and that I’m jealous of him. It got no where and I don’t argue with grown men so I posted on my Facebook wall. Hence why we’re talking now.
Are you worried that you will be perceived as a bully?
I am very concerned that I’d be viewed as a bully because as I’ve told you before, I go to schools talking to students about bully prevention, gaining confidence, and this could make me look like a hypocrite. That’s not me. From my stand point, it was a business move kinda like the stars of the sport have done, but he doesn’t grasp the concept that we can bring that level of attention to the local boxing scene. I don’t have anything against him, I just wanted to spark the interest of the people because as we know, controversy sells and has grabbed the attention of a few boxing fans. Overall, it seems as if he’s not gonna say anything and make it seem like I am the bully, but I did leave the issue alone. I’m focused on my two (boxing) dates ahead of me. He just tried to throw a monkey wrench in the game but it didn’t work. In any interview or mention of Rj “Black Gold” Sockwell, they refer to me as a prospect, they don’t say the same for him. I have HBO’s Harold Letterman on video saying how he admires my style of boxing, not fighting like Burgette does, but boxing and how I need to be on HBO so that goes to show not just him but the rest of the viewing audience where my last stop on the train is. My goal is to be liked by as many people as I can. I’m the good guy that’s always smiling. The good sportsman and the well spoken guy who’s looking to win over my adopted home towns. I don’t wanna come across as the villain because that’s not who I am. I’m talented, still fairly young and am on my way. Thanks for your time.