A Conversation With Roy Jones Senior

By Brad Cooney


A Conversation With Roy Jones Senior

"I just don't think he will walk away from fighting right now"

When you have an opportunity to speak with the man who literally made Roy Jones Junior, you take it.  Boxingtalk recently had the opportunity to catch up with the man known within the boxing world as (Big Roy). Big Roy speaks candidly about Juniors boxing career back in the very early days right up until today. We spoke about the state of boxing today, what it would take to fix things, and much more concerning boxing. Big Roy speaks about Roy Jones the son, the fighter, and his opinion on Roy's future in boxing. This interview means business, Big Roy pulls no punches in this interview, and I learned one thing about Big Roy while conducting this interview. I learned that I was dealing with an extremely intelligent man, a man with a passion for boxing unmatched by anyone that I know, and with a man who knows the fight game like no other I have spoken to. Here is what the father of Roy Jones Junior had to say......

BC- Big Roy, first of all thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. On behalf of the Boxingtalk staff, and the Boxingtalk readers I really want to thank you.

RJS- Brad, it's my pleasure.

BC- Roy, your son will go down as one of, if not the best pound for pound fighter in history. A lot of people inside the boxing world attribute you as being a huge reason for Roy's success. Tell the the fans when it was when you first realized that you had a very special fighter in Roy Jones Junior.

RJS- Brad, you want to know the truth?.... hindsight is 20 20, but it was very early, maybe when Roy was 3 or 4 years old.

BC- Roy, so at the age of 3 or 4 years old, what was it that you saw in Roy as a figher?... what can a 3 or 4 year old do as far as boxing goes at that age?

RJS - Well, it wasn't the fact that it was just in the sport of boxing... Roy just had a certain tenacity to be real, real athletically inclined, you know what I mean?... No matter what he would have done, if he would have applied himself in another direction he would have done real well too. I just knew he had something not just for fighting, but he had a real desire and will, and to impose his will.. I mean, if he bumped into the fireplace, he would fight that!

BC- As Roy got a little older and you got him involved in amateur boxing, at that point was he just outclassing everyone around him?.. Did you just know that he was going to go a long way in boxing at that point?

RJS- Well, if you wanna know the truth.. in some instances yes, and some instances no. Back in that time, you had so many other classy guys, and the competition was stiffer, and you had a lot of grass roots coaches back then. Back then the fight game meant more to them then just the buck, it was more about skills, and talent back then.

BC- Roy, talk a little about your relationship with your son and the problems you have had with Roy in the past.

RJS- First of all Brad, let me correct something.. I have never had no problem.. he may have had one at some point, but I have not had a problem with Roy... When they have growing pains Brad, they wanna do what they wanna do.. They call it seeking an individuality, there are things they want to do, and some of the things they want to do, and think they can do just dont jive. You know, you just don't have 19 year old, and 20 year old wise kids.. you know.... But, trust me when they are kids you stand back and watch them, and when they grow up and be a man, you got to stand back and watch them... but you still got to keep your eyes on them.

BC- So Roy there has never been a problem with Roy Jr on your end?

RJS - No, and there hasn't been much of a problem on Roy's side either... that just made good publicity.

BC- Roy, so your relationship with Roy Jones Junior at this point is fine, no problems...

RJS- It's the same as it's always been Brad... there are certain things that we are not going to see eye to eye on, but still he's his own man... The only thing I can do is if I see something that doesn't appear to be going the right way, is to give my advice, and so be it. If Roy decides that he wants to do something else, it is on him.

BC- Roy let's change gears for a minute... I know from personal experience that you are involved with amateur boxing  in Florida. Talk a little bit about your amateur boxing program.

RJS- Well, there isn't a lot I can say about it.. it's amateur boxing, and I hate to say something about the guys, then they would have to live up to it (laughing).. so in order to understand and appreciate it, you have to observe the results..

BC- Roy are you still having fun with coaching?

RJS- Oh yeah, I can do this until I get 95 years old.. and maybe even a little bit longer than that... (laughing)... I got some great potentials down here.. I mean I am talking about some outstanding potentials. Some kids blossom early then there light goes out... one thing about the sport of boxing.. it is an individual sport.. it's like tennis..its very, very demaning, and requires a whole lot of maintenance... and one thing about some of these kids, is that they get bored.. they get real complacent.. It's rough.. But most guys when they work and get to the top, they figure .. Hey I am on top, I can take a break... But it don't happen that way.. when you become a champ, it's open season on you.. Everyody is coming at you.. they prepare harder for you.. once you get on top, it's a whole lot harder to stay there, then it was getting there... None of it is easy..but it is much much harder to reign.

BC- Roy, what do you think the difference is between the champions of the 70's and 80's compared to todays champions concerning work ethic, and anything else you see that is different.

RJS- Yeah I see a tremendous difference.. just think now, back in the 70's to now everything is better technique wise.. that's why records are broken all of the time.. the guys now days are looking for short cuts, and the easy way to go.... in the old days you had a little bit more control of the kids.. the kids had more respect for their elders. now days, our kids act ignorant and such.. now it's all about the dollar... I mean it was about money somewhat back in the day, but the guys acted with pride back then.

BC- Do you think that todays fighters cushion their records.. it seems back in the day the fighters fought the best right away...

RJS- Brad, that is what I meant earlier about fighters looking for short cuts... Normally you have to fight your way to the top... you have to prove that you are worthy before you have the opportunity to compete..not only for titles.. but just for con-tendency even before title shots...What they miss now is the journey towards the top.. they miss the opportunity to collect all of the intelligence, and wisdom and what it takes to be a champion. When you miss all of that, it is like something is just handed to you.. so you don't appreciate it like you would if you had to work for it, or bust your tail for it... Kids now day technique wise are better..but to abandon maintenance ?.. they want everything in a hurry....

BC- Roy Jones Junior, (your son) will go down as one of the greatest pound for pound fighters in history.. How is Roy doing now, and is he still wanting to go on with his career in boxing, or is he ready to move on towards other things?

RJS- Well.. I have my theory on that... I have not talked to Roy about this.... but I have my opinion on it...... Being a champion, and especially being up there for awhile.. you develop almost an addiction for it.. so in order to come down, you have to have a rehabilitation program.. you have to detox from it... you have to get back down to that flow of normality.. but you just don't make that step that quickly... in most cases, the athletes don't even realize this themselves.. not just in boxing, but in all the sports.. they get used to a certain lifestyle.. you have to have someone you can listen to to detox from it... It won't be easy for Roy to just walk away .. he has that will that I told you about earlier.. especially under the circumstances of recent.. I just don't think he will walk away from fighting right now.. that's just my opinion on this.

BC- Roy, what do you think happened with Roy in his last few fights against Tarver, and then Johnson?

RJS- Well to be honest I didn't watch them.. The Glen Johnson fight I still haven't seen... I saw a picture of Glen Johnson in a newspaper clipping the other day, and that was the first time I saw his face in my whole life. I didn't see the second Tarver fight.. I did see the first one.. I told Roy that all you have to do is go get ready... and you don't have anything to worry about. It's not always that the best fighters wins.. sometimes it is the fighter that is better prepared that night....

BC- Roy changing gears again for a few minutes... You and I have been to some of the same amateur boxing shows together in the past, and we both know that the crowds that attend amateur boxing pretty much suck... what in your opinion does amateur boxing need to do to improve the sport, and to make the sport of amateur boxing more mainstream?

RJS- Well, first of all they are coming up with all of these rules to take the entertainment out of it.. and they are making it easier to compete.. so naturally if it is more easier to compete, anybody can compete.. thus taking away the competition, and quality of the fight. So it is no longer so entertaining.. you can siill find fighters that are entertaining, but things need to change.  They need to get more boxing orientated people in the upper part of this sport.. to rewrite the rules more geared towards the fighters. The grass roots coaches have been run off from the sport.. that's why the level of talent in boxing has dropped off so much... the good ones come from the garage, or the backyard.. they are away from all the cosmetics, and distractions with suits in the sport.. I was suprised that our 2004 Olympic team had anybody that made the medal round.. if you check the background of the guys that did medal.. they are probably all tought by grandfathers, or in backyards...

BC- Roy do you think they should go back to 15 round fights?

RJS- Yes, I do think that they should go back to 15 round fights... because, if they do that you are going to find better conditioned fighters.. they are either going to be conditioned or they are not going to make it... 12 round fights tell fighters that they don't have to prepare as hard.... There should be an incline though.. the higher the Title the more rounds the fight should go... when they achieve the 15 round level, they will feel more of an accomplishment.. they won't be so complacent...

BC- Roy, what are your thoughts concerning a mandatory retirement fund for boxers. Is this something you think can be achieved in boxing?

When you are looking at a retirement plan in boxing you need to watch our for the crooked people in the sport... no doubt about that..

BC- If you had the magic wand, what would be the first thing you would do to fix professional boxing?

RJS- The first thing I would do is get a selection board that was comprised of people that know fighting, and people that are at the mid levels of boxing.. grass roots people.. And I guarantee the game would get better... How are you going to have a sturdy building, when the foundation is not built right.. the first thing you have to fix is amateur boxing... and it is just going further and further away.. we don't have any fighters anymore.. You know, I am American.. what ticks me off more than anything is that the title just retired over in England.. Look how long the title has not been held by an American?... I love this sport.. I just don't like where they are taking it....

BC- Roy maybe one day you would be a good nominee for Boxing Commisoner (laughing).

RJS- You know what.. I wouldn't want it... I would rather work with undeveloped talent... anyone that you see me work with I will raise from the cradle in the fight game.. and you know what.. a person has to be a good individual for me to work with as well... I believe you don't go to a fight learning how to fight.. you learn how to fight, then go to a fight...

BC- Big Roy.. I appreciate your time... and look forward to speaking with you again..

RJS- No problem buddy.


Send questions and comments to: bradcooney1@bellsouth.net