Boxing


Roy Jones Interview - Jones vs Hopkins

Kelly Swanson - We are ten days away from a great, excellent rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. This week we had two super media days with both fighters. Iím sure you saw some of the stories and photographs that were highlighted by those media days. What weíre going to do today is weíll first start with Roy Jones and his team followed by Bernard Hopkins and his team. So at this time we are joined on the line by John Wirt, who is CEO of Square Ring Promotions, and also McGee Wright, who is the manager of Roy Jones and Roy Jones, Jr. himself..

John Wirt
Thanks, Kelly. Thanks, everybody for calling in. We have a great fight lined up on April 3rd at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It features two of the greatest icons of our sport, of our generation, Roy Jones, Jr and Bernard Hopkins. Itís the long 17 years in the making rematch. Weíre looking for some real big fireworks on April 3rd.

Itís going to be live on Pay-per-view and itís sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Southwest Airlines. The tickets are selling fast and are priced at $750, $500, $300, $200 and $100. They can be purchased at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations or by going to www.ticketmaster.com or www.mandalay.com. The pay-per-view telecast is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. Pacific. The suggested retail price is $49.95. Something interesting here that weíre doing is that the main event will begin immediately following the college basketball semi-finals.

We have a great undercard that weíve lined up as part of the Pay-per-view telecast. Some of the fights are Jason Litzau versus Rocky Juarez, Ismayl Sillakh versus Daniel Judah. And we have the return of former world champion Sergio Mora against Calvin Green. Weíll be putting out a press release immediately following the call with all the details of the undercard. And so right now, Iíd like to turn it over to McGee Wright, the manager of Roy Jones, who will say a few words and introduce Roy.

McGee Wright
Thank you, John. Iím glad to have you guys on today and everybody participating. The biggest thing that I could say about the whole thing, the whole fight is, this is an event that boxing enthusiasts and fans to me are excited to see it because this is going to be one fight that youíre going to see two master technicians as good as they get and youíre going to see every and cat and mouse game. Youíre going to see speed. Youíre going to see power; itís going to be slick, evasive. Youíre going to see stuff that these kids canít do now. Just like they keep saying itís a throw-back fight, itís a throw-back fight. This is an interesting fight because number one, they are rivals and they hate each other, but they have the tools and the mechanics to put on a show like no other. Now Iím going to turn it over to Roy Jones, Jr.

Roy Jones, Jr.
Good afternoon, everybody. Iím glad you all could make it here. I donít have a whole lot to say and a whole lot to do. So if you have questions that you want to ask, Iíll do my best to answer your questions. Other than that, Iíll see you April 3rd.

Question (Q):
Roy, why do you think people are going to lay down their hard earned money to watch you guys fight 17 years after the first one?

R. Jones, Jr.
Because weíve laid down our hard earned lives to put on two stellar careers over that 17 year period. So why not lay down your hard earned money to watch two guys who put their hard earned lives on the line to entertain you people for 17, 18 years.

Q:
So you think people-

R. Jones, Jr.
They understand who we are. They know who we are. Theyíve watch us for years. Weíve entertained them for years, so why not give back to us and let us go at it one more time for the ages? They know one thing for sure; theyíre going to get what they pay for.

Q:
So youíre definitely coming to fight. Do you feel like at this point youíre tarnishing your reputation? You obviously have a reputation as being a great fighter. But youíre coming off of a first round knock-out. Do you feel like youíre tarnishing your reputation by continuing to fight at your age right now?

R. Jones, Jr.
First of all, the knock-out was not really a knock-out. It got stopped when he got hit at the back of his head with a punch and I got up and the referee stopped the fight premature. Thatís not considered a knock-out to me. Although on paper thatís a knock-out, true, but to me thatís not a true knock-out, so Iím not concerned about that. Second of all, like I said, right now ainít nobody can still do as good as I can, so why should I not be doing it?

Q:
This is what I want to ask you. Roy Jones Jr. aka, the Terminator, what are your plans to execute the Executioner on April 3rd in Las Vegas, Nevada.

R. Jones, Jr.:
Iíll simply out-execute him. He is the Executioner. He is one slick guy. Heís smart, but I was smarter and slicker than him 17 years ago and Iím still smarter and slicker than him now.

Q:
And also due to the fact it took you guys 17 years to put this fight together, what most do you plan to achieve if you should prevail on April 3rd?

R. Jones, Jr.
I want to show him that he still canít beat me. He just has something to say, he hates me now because he wasnít better than me then. He can keep on hating me for another 17 years.

Q:
It seems to me that just in general that as athletes are getting older, guys are able to compete in their mid and late 30s and into their 40s. Whatís your feeling about that? Iím sure youíve thought about that. Why do you think thatís the case?

R. Jones, Jr.
I guess some guys are probably taking better care of themselves throughout their careers because like you said back in the day, a 40-year-old quarterback would be unheard of. Now a 40-year-old champion is definitely heard of. George Foreman did it. Why canít we? And the other thing is, though, that the skill level in boxing is not the same as it used to be. Back when I was coming up, guys were so skillful; a guy 40 wouldnít be able to stay in the ring with a young guy with less skill for less quick and fresh as he was. Nowadays these guys are fresh, but not that skillful. A perfect example is Jermaine Taylor. Heís always been able to hold his own and like Jeff Lacy. I was still able to beat him and heís 32 years old. So it shows you the skill level is not the same in these young guys as it used to be.

Q:
So the older guys are able to compete on a high level longer because the pool of talent just isnít there.

R. Jones, Jr.
Exactly, look at the quarterback situation now in the NFL. How many teams out there that have pretty much have young guys, but you only really have Brett Favre whoís not young guy, because of the skill level. The skill level is just not the same nowadays. Theyíre spending more time doing other things, playing games, playing video games and doing things that are not really enhancing our skills the way we used to when we came up. When we came up, we were younger, we spent more time doing things that enhanced our skills. Nowadays thereís so much to do that you donít get that much time to work on your skills. There are some good guys coming up, but the reason for lack of talent because not many of them out there like there used to be. Back when I was young, an amateur, I know a guy last time that won a medal for us, he only got a bronze medal, was a guy from Alabama, which was a heavyweight. When I was coming up in boxing, you wasnít going to make no Olympics unless your name was George Forman in the one year of boxing, this kid only had been boxing for a year. You couldnít even go into the national Golden Glove if you had only been boxing but a year unless your name was George Foreman. I canít think of many people in my time that came up and won a national tournament of any kind if theyíd only been boxing a year. It just didnít happen. But the talent now is not the same, I think, so things like that do happen.

Q:
Roy, I wanted to get your recollections, if you could, think back 17 years ago and just give me your perspective on the way that the first fight went. Iíve seen it and you won the fight obviously handily. I think you had an injured hand in there. Could you just go in and tell me your remembrance of that match, which was your first world championship.

R. Jones, Jr.:
I think he was more of a younger fighter. He was a guy who was out there just trying to win. He was trying to win by any means necessary. If he couldnít out box you, heíd try to out-fight you. He tried all of that and none of it worked. So that was my recollection of the fight. He just couldnít get away from my jab and none of the tricks that he tried would work. This time heís going to be a little different because this time heíll play a little bit of a different game. Heís a little smarter. Heís not the risk taker he used to be. He wonít lay it all on the line. He tries to take his chances and take his shots when he gets the opportunity to. So now heís more of an opportunist than he was back then.

Q:
Did you think that that first fight was easy for you? I think I remember the scores were pretty clear; it was an 8-4 type of fight.

R. Jones, Jr.:
Very easy. I told a friend before the fight, Iíll win the first six rounds with a jab and then Iíll beat him every other round and that would be it because I only had one hand, so I couldnít do a whole lot. People were a little disappointed I didnít knock him out, but I couldnít. I only had one hand.

Q:
What was your hand problem at that time?

R. Jones, Jr.
My right hand was pretty much fractured. But this time I donít have that problem. This time there could be a knockout.

Q:
Now this is a fight thatís been talked about. As long as Iíve been covering boxing, this is the rematch thatís been discussed between you and Bernard, with the people at HBO, with different boxing fans, the writers, you name it. Everybody has talked about it. Do you have any regret that itís taking place perhaps a little bit beyond when it would have been at its most popular?

R. Jones, Jr.
No, let me tell you why I donít have regrets. You know why I donít have no regrets? First of all, I beat him the first time. So I wasnít the one that needed to make the sacrifices to make the fight happen again. Iím not seeking revenge. I already beat him one time. So when the time came, the opportunities came when it was in my favor, thatís when I was like ďNo, Iím only going to fight him at 60/40.Ē Iíve fought him before but I beat him one time. Why would I take a 50/50 when Iíve beat him one time? That isnít fair to me, is it? No, it wasnít fair to me.

Then it when we became almost about even, I said okay, weíll fight. Letís do 50/50 or we can do 60 to win and 40 to lose. They didnít want a part of that, so he always, ďOkay, Iím going to fight Roy,Ē and then he fight this other fight. ďOkay, Iím going to fight RoyĒ and then heíd go find another one. And then he said, ďIím going to fight RoyĒ and then heíd go fight somebody else and he did this three times. As matter of fact, one time he fought Winky Wright, one time he fought Joe Calzaghe, the next time he fought Antonio Tarver. So all those fights before those fights, the first the first name heíd call out was me to get you guys interested. Once you guys got interested, he decided to fight one of those three fighters. And I know for a fact, HBO had also pretty much doubled to fight me than they were going to pay to fight Tarver. He turned it down and fought Tarver.

So I canít regret that man not wanting to get in the ring with me until my career is over. The only reason heís fighting me now is because he feels like Iím done. He feels like Iím washed up. He feels like Iím old goods. He feels like thereís no way I can survive 12 rounds with him now, but heís wrong. But thatís the only reason he came to fight now. So I couldnít make him get in front of me. He was being afraid of me. Iím his worst nightmare and thatís just what it is.

Q:
Now whatever happens in the fight, a big win for Roy Jones, a loss, whatever goes down-

R. Jones, Jr.
Itís going to be a win for Roy Jones.

Q:
Fair enough, but even if it is a win, youíve had such an illustrious career. Youíve done everything that you could do, a heavyweight title, middleweight title, all those divisions in between, been on the pound-for-pound list for ten years as number one guy. Is this the way to end your career because Iím not sure where would you go afterwards even if you did beat him?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít know. It could be a way to end my career. Iím going to see. If I beat him through it, beat him in the past. I want to beat this time and if it turns out well, maybe, who knows?

Q:
I know you think youíre going to win the fight, but would a loss be the same situation?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít know. I donít know. I havenít thought about a loss yet, so I donít know yet.

Q:
Do you have any credence or concern whatsoever to those out there that believe that youíre putting yourself in danger by continuing to fight after the way youíve had some losses go down the last couple of years?

R. Jones, Jr.
Yes, I do. I take my hat off to you and I thank them for being concerned about me for putting my life on the line. So when you get to know somebody and for putting their life on the line, itís hard for you to tell them when to stop. Because I can have that gung ho-ness about me that maybe put my life on the line but then the world would have never known me. So how can they tell me okay, itís time to stop so you donít get hurt. If I knew that I could get hurt, Iíll never get to be who I am.

Q:
I want to get this straight. Itís your contention that right hand that Danny Green hit you with was an illegal blow.

R. Jones, Jr.
Not that it was an illegal blow. His hand wraps were illegal. Okay, if you hit a man and make contact on that hand behind the head, whatever, itís hard, but itís boxing, so you are at a fight. I wouldnít call it an illegal blow. I call it an illegal wrap on the hand. I didnít ask for a win. I said it should be declared no contest because he cheated. If you cheat, then you canít take the win. I didnít beat him, so I didnít ask for the win, but it should at least be declared no contest.

Some people ask me, that they had heard that I wanted the win. No, I didnít want to win. I wanted a no contest. I want a win if I beat him.

Q:
Because it looked the shot actually could have been behind the head. Itís hard to tell from the angle, so I thought that was an element, too.

R. Jones, Jr.
Yes, but you see, my main thing is the wrap. If heís going to wrap with a cast, then he ends up with a cast, too. So I let him to put a cast on and donít allow me to use one, so at least I know what we did over here.

Q:
Roy Jones fans are, I think, concerned. I get a lot of comments into The Sweet Science and saying we want to make sure that Roy is okay. Youíve been stopped a couple of times since 2004. Is it possible that your ability to take a punch has been compromised? Do you worry about that or are we just seeing things?

R. Jones, Jr.
No, thatís very possible, you know what I mean? It is boxing, so that is very possible. And if thatís the case, then I know after this one that if Bernard Hopkins can hurt me, cause Bernard Hopkins is not that big of a punch. If he can hurt me then after this one maybe itís time to hang it up.

Q:
Okay, so Bernard Hopkins is not that big of a puncher and if he can hurt you, it is time to hang it up.

R. Jones, Jr.
Right, Bernard is not a very big puncher, if he can hurt me itís time to hang it up.

Q:
To hang it up.

R. Jones, Jr.
Yes.

Q:
Okay, now you said the last thing, I donít want to monopolize here, did I read it right and correctly that youíre saying that you want to stop him, you are promising to stop him?

R. Jones, Jr.
Iím going to stop him.

Q:
Heís never been stopped.

R. Jones, Jr.
I wonít give you my secrets, but I guarantee Iíll stop him, you watch.

Q:
Guarantees to stop him.

R. Jones, Jr.
Iím guaranteed to stop him.

Q:
I just wanted to ask you, you talked about that youíre appreciative of fans being concerned about you fighting at this point of your career. Coach Merk had mentioned on our last conference that he was concerned about your fighting, your trainer, at this point of your career. How do you feel about Merk being concerned and do you share that concern, of possibly you being injured at this time?

R. Jones, Jr.
Hereís how I feel about it. At the last fight I asked him, ďDo you think we should call it or do you think we should keep going?Ē And he said, ďThe way the hand wraps were, the way training camp was, I think you should keep going. You still got it. I donít see a problem with you right now. You have to tighten a few things, but you should continue to go.Ē So I asked him first directly after the Danny Green fight, even though it was a bad situation, I still asked him right then, ďHow do you feel about me continuing on, do you think I should call it a day?Ē Because he is one who would know. And if he said, I would probably call it a day. But I asked him right then, ďShould we call it a day?Ē and he said, ďNo.Ē So if he told you that we should call it day, then he told me different.

Q:
Okay. Now just one other question, you say in your media notes from Pensacola, that Bernard wanted to wait until you were done. You didnít have anywhere else to go and now he thinks heíll get his revenge and ride out into the sunset. But after 17 years and after youíve had 60 professional fights and you won the fight against him and you have beaten him, why even give him the opportunity?

R. Jones, Jr.
I guess itís just the kind of guy I am. I was like give me the opportunity and I guess itís just the person I am because youíre right. You could play dirty and say, ďIím not giving you a chance to win.Ē Youíre right. But in my heart what kind of guy would I be then? Would I be able to sleep at night? You know I wouldnít, thatís just not my personality. So Iím sorry and I would love to take the coward way out and say, ďYou know what, why should I give him the opportunity, he doesnít like me, I donít like him. Iím not going to give him the opportunity to that.Ē I should say that, but that would be real dirty and low down, but Iím not that kind of dude, so Iím sorry.

Q:
Iíve heard that Bernard Hopkins saying that for him, the fight is personal. How do you feel about this fight? Is it just going back to business or are you having any animosities?

R. Jones, Jr.
It donít change anything for me. My fight is between me and my fans. I donít have anything to do with him. Heís just a participant. Heís what we use, for me and my fans to connect and like have a great time.

Q:
You made a quote yesterday; I believe it was yesterday that Bernard is a shark, catfish. I guess you were leaning toward the fact that he takes advantage of maybe finished fighters. Do you really feel as though heís looking at this particular fight with you as a tune-up or walk-over?

R. Jones, Jr.
Yes, most definitely, thatís how you should take it. If it wasnít that, he wouldnít be here, trust me. Donít get me wrong. Heíll come the best he can because he learned when he catch you down, he wants to bring the sledgehammer. He isnít playing with you. If he touches you like that, he trying to take full advantage, so heís going to be ready, but, yes, he thinks of it as a tune-up.

Q:
I had the pleasure of attending that first fight in Washington DC at RFK Stadium in Ď93. Now he started the fight rather slow. You did take advantage of the earlier rounds. Do you see yourself doing the same things in this fight?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít know. He may come out and fight this time, I donít know. It all depends on what happens. I just want him to show up this time. He may come and decide he want to go for the gusto because he thinks Iím done and he may be afraid of me like he was then. You know, letís see what I can do. So either way it wonít turn out good for him, but that what it will depend on how I take care of him.

Q:
My last question is now you fought at middleweight then for the middleweight title. Youíre fighting at a heavier weight this time. Do you see him having an advantage?

R. Jones, Jr.
No, I went to light-heavyweight first so if anything I think have the advantage.

Q:
One of my questions is will you knock Bernard Hopkins out? Do you have a prediction?

R. Jones, Jr.
Most definitely, heís going to see what Iíve got.

Q:
Heís going to sleep?

R. Jones, Jr.
Yes.

Q:
Do you want to do Ali, do you have a prediction on what round?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít do that type of stuff by I will guarantee heís going to sleep.

Q
Heís going to sleep. Okay, so youíre guaranteeing a win.

R. Jones, Jr.
Heís going to sleep by knock-out.

Q:
Another question, Roy, where do you rank yourself right now in boxing history amongst the greats?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít rate myself. I donít take time to do that. How do I rate myself as far as how I look as an American, or a male walking among the general population? I canít do that.

Q:
Okay, so you donít believe Bernard Hopkins has any opportunity to beat you.

R. Jones, Jr.
He has opportunity, anybody has the opportunity, but he wonít be having it come April 3rd.

Q:
Some fighters just more so than other fighters, they just know I can beat that guy. Maybe that guy over there who may not be as good as me can give me trouble, but he canít beat me. Do you look at Bernard Hopkins that way, that even though youíre not at the top of your game, you guys could fight when youíre 60 and he still canít touch you?

R. Jones, Jr.
Youíre exactly right.

Q:
No way, his game, he just doesnít match up with you. He canít get into your head and thereís nothing he can do.

R. Jones, Jr.
There isnít anything he can do to win; itís as simple as that.

Q:
Youíre more sure of having his number than you would be if you fought Glen Johnson or Tarver again.

R. Jones, Jr.
Most definitely.

Q:
How do you expect him to fight you, Roy, because your style gives him trouble. He has to come out of his role to beat you. What do you expect?

R. Jones, Jr.
I donít know, I donít really care. Iím ready for whatever he brings. If he wants to fight, weíre going to fight. If he wants to box, we can box. It doesnít really matter to me. However he wants to do it, I can do everything, thatís one thing for sure.

Q:
But do you think heís leaning more this way, heís going to try to maybe jump on you maybeó

R. Jones, Jr.
Heíll probably jump on me right away, yes.

K. Swanson
I think that was our last question. So, Roy, do you have any final comments?

R. Jones, Jr.
Thank you, guys, for coming aboard and we look to seeing you out at Vegas.

Article posted on 30.03.2010



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