Originally published on January 12, 2006
Boy oh boy was former pound for pound king Roy Jones Jr in a talkative mood this morning. In this must read exclusive interview that can only be found on Boxingtalk, Jones expresses his disgust over HBO not supporting his proposed rematch with Bernard Hopkins but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Jones also discusses his options, which he says consist of the Lacy-Calzaghe winner, and newly crowned cruiserweight king O'Neil Bell among others. Roy Jones Jr on Showtime? You'd be surprised to see how Jones answered that question after telling us that he was a free agent with no contractual obligation to HBO! ONLY on Boxingtalk!GL: Even though people felt that it was happening a bit too late, many were still looking forward your rematch with Bernard Hopkins. It's been reported that the fight fell apart, what happened?
"Nothing, I never saw a contract. Me and Hopkins talked but he never saw a contract, I was just sitting back listening to everything. Then my father called me and asked me if I was going to fight Hopkins and I told him if everything comes out right, but I ain't see no contract so I could I possibly have signed. I ain't seen nothing."GL: You can correct me if I'm wrong but I understand that you and Hopkins agreed on the purse-split and everything, but one of the main things that screwed the deal up is that HBO was only willing to offer $500,000 as the rebroadcast fee. Is that true?
Roy Jones Jr: "That's right. And I was like if that's all they're offering period, I was like whoa. We're not trying to be greedy but we are trying to get some kind of guarantee. I mean, we are legends in this game you know where I'm coming from? When that happened, I didn't like it and I don't think he liked it either. Of course, we'll fight, but if they're going to treat us like that, like we ain't did nothing in this game of boxing then we're not even going to waste our time."GL: Over the past five years you haven't stepped foot in the ring for less than $5M, the Hopkins guarantee wouldn't have been much more than that. Are you shocked that HBO has not backed the fight?
Roy Jones Jr: "I was shocked, but you have to expect that sometimes. I ain't tripping over it, I'm cool with it. I'm just going to ride it on out, you know what I mean?GL: What's your status as an HBO commentator Roy?
Roy Jones Jr: "I'm done as an HBO commentator."GL: Why?
Roy Jones Jr: "Well, they were talking about me coming in on Thursday. A lot of the stuff they felt I had to do and they feel that I'm not truly committed to it, but I have 26 years in boxing, what more do I need to commit to? My job is to tell people what's going on during the fight, not worry about what time we're supposed to start or worry about this or that. I tell the people exactly what's going down in the ring. I got 26 years of that. They can't teach me that over some class they could send me to. They said they didn't think I was committed and they wanted me to come in on Thursday and I told them I'd think about it. Then I thought about it and I was like, you know what? I'm taking two days out of my week to do this, which is cool if they paid me good for it. But I feel that's two wasted days for me if I'm training for a fight, you feel me?GL: So basically if you just had to show up at fight time to give your commentary, you'd be there on time with bells on otherwise...
Roy Jones Jr (cutting in) "Exactly, I'll be there with bells on. I can't do all that on Thursday. I'm not a party person, I come there to my job and I leave. I don't go there to party; I'm there to give the public the information in the ring as it happens. I don't need to know what a guy did last week, last month or last year. I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about what's going on in the ring and relay that to the public. But coming in on Thursday was like whoa, and then the way they did with the Hopkins fight was just a slap in the face."GL: Do you think that if you would have been more receptive to showing up at their Thursday meetings that they would have more receptive towards putting up more money for the Hopkins fight?
Roy Jones Jr: "I don't think that one thing had to do with the other, but those coming in with more money wouldn't get me to do it on Thursday either. Friday maybe, but Thursday, Nah."GL: Is your relationship with HBO such that you feel once you're officially done boxing, they'll want you to commentate again?
Roy Jones Jr: "Maybe. It could be. I don't know. If it is, good. I would think they would, but if not it's cool. I never thought my relationship was to where they would only offer the two of us $500,000 to split. I thought we was better than that, but they changing their plans or something. I'm not tripping on it. When it comes to the commentating, I know what's going on in the ring and it's my job to give that information to the public. Sometimes the guys sitting next to me don't know how to explain that because they've never done that before. Their job is to tell keep the public addressed with what's been going on in this guys career, where he started from and where he is now. My job was to tell you what he's doing now."GL: What's next for you Jones? When will you're next fight take place? Who will it take place against?
Roy Jones Jr: "Well Hopkins still has a contract with HBO so I don't know if that fight could happen next if it's an HBO fight. They're not coming up with no more money with that so I don't think that's going to happen. But we'll have to see if they come back with something more. If not, I'm cool and I could mine. People love Roy Jones Jr and they want to see Roy Jones so it wouldn't be no problem for me to get a fight. I just don't what he's going to do and I would love to fight Hopkins, but I'd rather not get in the ring, and then get in the ring after being treated that way."GL: If Showtime or another network would put up an offer that you were pleased with, would you take it or are you binded to HBO?
Roy Jones Jr: "He can't fight because he has an HBO contract, but if HBO lets him out and says go and get the money we could do this. Other than that, he can't do nothing."GL: Other than Hopkins who else is on your radar?
Roy Jones Jr: "You know me, I'll fight anybody. I got a call yesterday asking if I would O'Neil Bell and that's not a bad fight at all for the undisputed cruiserweight title. So I might look into that and I'm supposed to talk to a guy about that today. That's a big fight out there for me. I'm not tripping on the Hopkins fight, I just wanted to give the public the fight they want to see, but I won't be insulted like that."GL: Do you really think the public wanted to see the Hopkins fight now Jones?
Roy Jones Jr: "The public definitely wants to see the Bernard Hopkins fight without a doubt. After the fight you heard two of three commentators up top say the best thing for him to do is fight Roy Jones Jr because that's still a fight the fans want to see. Now they could do it with a 50-50 split and it could happen."GL: Do you regret not making that fight after Hopkins beat Trinidad four and a half years ago?
Roy Jones Jr: "No I don't regret that because I was in the ring. Plus he was dealing with Don King so I don't regret that at all. He went on to do big things with his career and so did I. It was the smart business move at that time he was caught up with Don King and he didn't want to give his money to Don King. He did what he had to do and I did what I had to."GL: You mentioned O'Neil Bell; did you see his fight last weekend?
Roy Jones Jr: "I didn't see it, but I heard he looked real good though. I heard he and Mormeck went at it. I know O'Neil Bell is a tough credible fighter and he's a lot bigger than I am, so I'd probably take a tune up before I get in there with an O'Neil Bell. I haven't put on that kind of weight in a long time. I'm right back down to 180 and I don't get much bigger than that. So it's another one of those situations that I'd be in where I'm the little guy going in against a bigger tough guy that could fight and punch."GL: Would you come right back against Tarver or Johnson? And what other light heavyweight fights float your boat?
Roy Jones Jr: "I'd jump right back in with Johnson or Tarver. There's nothing else that really floats my boat, but if there's someone else out there that's worthy and they make it feasible for me, I'll do it."GL: If HBO won't back you to your liking against Hopkins, are you concerned that they won't back you to your liking against anybody?
Roy Jones Jr: "They won't back me to my liking against anybody. If they won't back me in a fight against Bernard Hopkins, they won't back me against nobody."GL: You said Bernard is binded to HBO, is your position whichever network comes with the best offer that's where you're fighting?
Roy Jones Jr: "I'm a free agent right now."GL: That's deep Jones. After so many years on HBO are you still leaning in that direction or are you a free agent 100% just looking for the best offer now?
Roy Jones Jr: "I'm a free agent right now so that's where I'm at."GL: Who's going to be in your corner for your next fight?
Roy Jones Jr: "Probably Alton Merkerson and if my dad wants to work with Alton Merkerson it'll be my dad and Alton Merkerson."GL: You're not really considering moving to cruiserweight are you? And if you're willing to go up to cruiser, why not return to heavyweight?
Roy Jones Jr: "Cruiserweight is the only one I didn't pick up yet. Think about what I'm doing know, from middleweight to heavyweight that's the only one I haven't picked up yet. I already have a heavyweight title so I ain't got nothing to prove at heavyweight. People would be interested in the fight and if could get a tune-up fight I'd go get him, so I'm going to see what happens."GL: On March 4, Showtime is airing Jeff Lacy vs. Joe Calzaghe at 168. If the winner of that fight wants to come up to light heavyweight, how much would that fight interest you?
Roy Jones Jr: "A whole lot! A whole lot!"GL: Even if Jeff Lacy, a fellow Floridian, who grew up watching you won?
Roy Jones Jr: "If he would ask for it, I would give it to him. I really like his chances against Calzaghe because he has enough power to go over there to win. But if Calzaghe wins and he wants to come way, cool."GL: When can we expect to see you back in the ring?
Roy Jones Jr: "Sometime in the late spring or early summer."GL: What do you think beating Bernard Hopkins would have done for you?
Roy Jones Jr: "It wouldn't have been for me it would have been for the fans. It would have been a chance for him to avenge his loss against me. The only thing it gave me the opportunity to do was to see if I could knock him out. He would have been trying to avenge his loss and I would have been trying to knock him out. It wouldn't have been no back and forth talk. We both understand that we're legends in the game and if we're going to fight it's simple, he wants revenge and I want a knock out."GL: If you and Hopkins both feel that the fight would have done big numbers, wouldn't it be beneficial to you guys to move forward without the guarantee since the two of you would eat a lot heavier on the back end? Everything would have been upside.
Roy Jones Jr: "It's fair to say that to a degree. But now with everything that's going on you never know what's going to happen and that's a hell of risk to take. In the last fight I had a couple of people got their money back because their service cut out, without no guarantee me and him wouldn't be able to deal with all that. That's a risk we shouldn't have to take. Somebody should the respect enough to back us to where, if anybody deserves a guarantee, these two deserve it. They could have backed us and said this was going to be the last time they backed us and we wouldn't be mad at them for that, but what they did was a complete slap in the face and like I said, I'm a free agent."
"In boxing they treat you like a greyhound. When you're winning they feed you good, they take care of you, and they bathe you and do everything. But once you can't win that race no more they don't give a damn about you, they won't even clean your pen. But that's life. Boxers are just like greyhounds and anybody who don't know that better learn that, wake up and recognize it."GL: In the ring you've already accomplished more than most people could ever dream, you have nothing left to prove. What's keeping that competitive fire burning in 2006?
Roy Jones Jr: "I just don't want to quit before it's my time. Whatever God put in me and wants me to get I'm going to get it all out, you feel me? I don't know what the plan is, but like the Ruiz fight, he will put the opportunity in front of me."
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