John Scully Pt 2: On “The realist boxing book ever”

By. Ray O. Campbell Jr.


John Scully Pt 2: On “The realist boxing book ever”

“When people read my book, they are going to have a new respect for fighters”

RC: So John, tell us a little bit about the book you have been writing for quite some time?
JS: It all started ever since I was an amateur, you know I was always a writer, I always liked to write and when I was an amateur, I would keep notes. I would go to tournaments, I would go to training camps, and I would spar with different guys and so I would keep notes. I had notes on Roy Jones, Riddick Bowe and all of those guys back in the 80’s and I kept them. When I turned pro, I would keep notes, and diaries of my training on who I sparred with, and how I did against them. I’d note who was a good puncher, who was a good boxer and things like that. So when I got on the Internet back around 1998 or 1999, I would always go to chat rooms and message boards and somebody would be talking about… Roy Jones for example, so I would type in and tell them little stories and little things that happened in the gym, or things that happened when I sparred with him. Or the fight I saw when he loss to Gerald McClellan in the Nationals, which I was there for. I would tell people about my own career, or what fighters think when they are fighting and things like that. So a lot of people, these are boxing fans, and people would email me and say “Ooh man that’s unbelievable” and like I was amazed how exited they were about getting that inside type of information.A few people said that they thought I should write a book, that they would love to read all of these stories. So I kind of took the fans advise, and I started writing the book. Now I have to be more than 400 pages into it. I have stories about Roy Jones, James Toney, and Vinny Pazienza guys that I spared with. I also talk about my fights with Michael Nunn and Henry Maske, the amateur days with Roy Jones when he was in the Olympics. I talk about meeting Ali; I talk about just every aspect of boxing. I cover it all, my book’s claim to fame I believe would be… I am going to market it as the realist-boxing book ever.  By that I mean I have read books, I have read raging bull, I read the greatest by Mohammad Ali, I read Sugar Ray Robinson’s autobiography, I read Willie Pep, I read them all and they are all great books. But I have never read one and got done reading it and felt like I knew would it would be to be a fighter. I mean I knew what it would be to be the type of man that they were. They told the story of their life, but they don’t really tell you what it was like to be a fighter. So I think when people read my book, they are going to have a new respect for fighters. I mean I take you into the deepest thoughts on what it is to be a fighter. What we think during the fight, what it is like to be cut, what it is like to lose. I go over it all.

I honestly think a lot of fans, they think that fighters lose and they think ooh well you know they got paid a lot of money and that’s the end of it, they loss. But that is not the case; I mean some of these losses stay with people for years. Look at Hagler, it has been twenty years and he is still obviously affected by the decision he got against Ray Leonard. He thought he won and it still obviously bothers him, and I don’t think people really know why. They gave him like 10 million dollars for the fight, and they wonder why he doesn’t just let it go, but I try to explain that this is our life; this is very very personal to us. I think my book is definitely going to be an interesting read. I am not saying that because it is my book, I am just saying it because I read some of my chapters and I am impressed with myself with the things I have allowed people to see.

RC: When can we actually expect to see this book available for boxing fans to be able to judge for themselves?
JS: I tell you the truth for the last year I have been telling people it is going to be done next month, every month I keep telling them it is going to be done next month. Every month I say it is going to be done next month, and I really actually thought I was going to be done by Christmas. Believe it or not, it is actually the boxing that has slowed me down because everybody has been fighting so consistently that I have been focused on the training, so it is harder to write. I would say put it this way, out of 100% of it, I would say I am literally 90-95% done, so I am hoping that within a couple of months I will be able to actually seal it up and actually get it out there.

One other thing I actually want people to look forward to, and a lot of fighters... like my book is kind of marketed towards the fighters., They are going to like it, one chapter I have is where I talk about a lot of unsung boxers. Like everybody knows Roy Jones, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mohamed Ali, but I give a lot of guys credit that people never heard of. For example, if you follow basketball at all, do you remember the movie, The Goat, it is called rebound, the Earl Manigault story?

RC: I am not familiar with it…
JS: Well Earl Manigault was a street basketball player in the 60’s in Harlem, he was just magnificent…

RC: (Cutting in) Oh ok, yes I do know who you are talking about…
JS: Okay so you know who I am talking about. When they ask Kareem Abdul Jabbar at his retirement, they said to him “Out f your entire career, who was the one guy when you stepped on the court and he was there, he sent chills up your spine. Who was it, was it Dr. Jay? Was it Walt Frazier? Who was it?” and he thought about it and he said “Man, it has gotta be the goat Earl Manigault.” and he never played an NBA game in his life. There are a lot of Earl Manigaults in boxing.

Now listen if you ask people in the game, you know Earl the pearl Monroe and those guys, they played with him at the Rucker park in New York, they are like “Ooh man earl Manigault was bad” but the average fan would say “ nah nah, Jordan” you know what I mean, because all they know is Jordan. So there are a lot of Earl Manigaults that just never made it. I know guys in the amateurs that scored knockout wins over guys that became world champs later. One of the main ones is Bernard Mays, they call him super bad. Manny Steward said that he was the greatest fighter that Kronk ever had. It wasn’t Tommy Hearns or any of the other fighters that we all know. It was Bernard Mays, and he died at like 33 years of age of alcoholism. They said when he was 15 he was an alcoholic, he was just wining these tournaments hung over from the night before. They said he had skills out of this world, so I know a lot of guys like that. So I am going to give credit to people in this book that people has never heard of, but the stars of the game know these people. Like Roy Jones is going to read this book and be like Ooh man, I remember this guy and I remember that guy and I remember this guy. So I have a lot of the book where I give credit to people the fans just don’t know about and they should.

RC: Sounds interesting….
JS: A lot of it is from my notes that I kept, from memories that I have. Another aspect of it that I think people are going to like, I first knew Michael Moorer and saw him fight when he weighed 156lbs, he was just a tall skinny kid weighing 156lbs, people only remember him when he was a Light heavyweight as a pro knocking guys out. So that is an insight that you can’t really get anywhere. Like the Roy Jones Gerald McClellan amateur fight, literally, I will bet you maybe only 100 people watched that fight as it happened. But nobody taped it. It’s not on video anywhere. There was three rings going at once, the crowd was very small to begin with,. There was probably a couple hundred people in the audience gathered watching all three fights, and you know I was there, I saw the whole thing. That is a fight that everybody wanted to see, that could have been one of the legendary fights in history and probably maybe only 100 people really saw it when it did happen as an amateur, and probably only 50 of us really knew what was going on, and Like realized how significant it was. So like I said there is a lot of insight in my book that people wont be able to get anywhere else.

Another way I will market it is, you see fights on TV where they have guest analyze, they have a reporter, they have a historian, and they have an old trainer. You know I am writing a book that only a fighter can write. A TV analyst couldn’t write it, a trainer couldn’t write it, Emanuel Steward couldn’t write it, Max Kellerman couldn’t write it, I mean only a fighter could write the book that I am writing, because I say things that only a fighter could know and I think that is what is going to be my most unique point to it.

I have a part of the book that I think is funny, but I have a very strong chapter on Mohamed Ali, not just… I mean he was one of the reasons I got into boxing and actually I will give you a little insight. Like in my life, I am 39 now and I have never drank alcohol in my life, I have never tasted beer, I have never tasted wine never tasted a drop of alcohol, never done a drug, and never smoked a cigarette, and that is directly from the influence of Mohamed Ali. When I was a kid I read his book, I read that he didn’t drink and that he ever did drugs. I was like 10 years old at the time, and that was good enough for me. That is all I needed to hear. So I do a whole chapter on him and about how people today call him coward for not going to the war. And I talk about how ridiculous that is, because he never would have picked up a gun. I talk about what racism was like back then and the kind of world he grew up and people don’t realize it but those people that didn’t allow him to eat in the restaurant, they are still here. They are only 70 years old now, there is a million of those guys walking around that in their youth they stopped people like him from eating in a restaurant, so how people could expect him to go to war is amazing to me. So I write a whole chapter on that which I think is going to be a very…. Most likely it will be pretty controversial. I think a lot of people are going to be one way or another, good or bad they are going to be… it is definitely going to catch their eye.

RC: Now I don’t know the exact specifics other than you get a publisher to publish the book for you, but I don’t know exactly how you go about putting it out there. Do you already have a deal set up where you have …

JS: Well actually a friend of mine, he writes books, he does it all on his own on the Internet. He writes the book, he has book printers, he picks the book up himself, and as people order it he goes and packages it himself and he takes it to the post office and sends it out, and he is doing very well. Like EXTREMELY well doing all of that on his own. So he doesn’t have to give all the money to a publisher. So I think right now with the way the Internet is, I don’t think I need a publisher. Every boxing fan in the world reads the Internet, that is just the way it is. So I am going to take my chances I think publishing it myself to start. So many people already know about it, I have a lot of people including Harold Lederman (HBO’s unofficial ringside judge) who I didn’t know at the time but Harold Lederman read some excerpts from my book on the internet and he emailed me and said he wants to be the first one to buy my book when it comes out. So when I saw him at a fight one time, I said Mr. Lederman I think you might have emailed me one time. We talked and he said it was him, after he read the chapter that he read he said he can’t wait for the book. So I think that is a pretty good endorsement. I have actually seen him again, and he asked me “Is it done, what’s going on?” he was acting pretty anxious. So that really motivated me, that gave me a lot of encouragement, when I saw how interested he was in the book.

Like I said, I have read plenty of books that were good but I never got the feeling like I knew what they were thinking about when they are fighting… Like I hate when people say I would fight Tyson for a million dollars and they wouldn’t , They just wouldn’t do it. You must have heard millions of people say “ I would fight Mike Tyson for a million dollars”

RC: (Laughing) John I might have been one of those people that pissed you off because that has crossed my mine..
JS: And you know what… every fighter… I don’t know if you notice it, but I have that quote (The wait in the dressing room before a professional boxing match -that last hour- could be enough to strip a man that never boxed before of whatever pride, desire and heart he THOUGHT he had) that is at the end of every email.

RC: Yes I am familiar with the quote …
JS: The quote goes out, where I talk about the dressing room, and every fighter I know when they read that quote by me, they go crazy over it. They love it, because they are like man that is so true and it is like an unexplainable phenomenon. So I tell people when ever a guy says “Man I will fight Tyson for a million dollars” I tell them let me tell you something, you wouldn’t make it out of the dressing room., you would sit there in your chair, and you would be alone and you would hear Tyson down the hall hitting the pads, and the guy would come in and say “Alright it is time to go” and you would sit there and you wouldn’t get out of the chair. And I don’t care who you are, if you never fought before, people fight… like me I had a million fights, because you know you have street fights. You fought because you had to on the spur of the moment, but if I sat you in a room for an hour and let you contemplate what was going to happen, you would be on the next bus out of town. You know what you would do, you would leave a note that says “keep the million dollars, I don’t want the million dollars” and let me tell you something that is a fact, you ask … the next time you interview a fighter, I tell you what the next five guys you interview…copy down my quote, and read it to them and tell me what they say, and I will bet you anything Everlast one of them, if they are honest and they are not trying to be macho they will say “Man he is telling the truth” I remember Jessie James Leija, he was a good champion, he fought all of the best. He fought De La Hoya, he fought Azumah Nelson, he fought this one and that one, and I didn’t even know Jessie at the time, and when he read my quote he got a hold of me and we talked on the phone and he was like “Man… that quote boy” he said “that really hit home” he said “I printed that out and I put it up on the wall in my gym so everybody can read it.”  So as a little experiment ask the pros, not so much the amateurs, the amateurs are a little bit different mentality. Ask the pros what I am talking about, they will know. They will definitely know. I get emails all of the time, once a week I get an email form a pro fighter talking about that quote.


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