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> Roy Jones Sr. Called For Help During Joe Calzaghe Fight
post Nov 14 2008, 01:07 PM
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Roy Jones Sr. Called For Help During Joe Calzaghe Fight
Posted by: Mitch Abramson on 11-14-2008.

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By Mitch Abramson

Getting in touch with Roy Jones Sr. is not difficult.

Just call the Roy Jones Sr. Boxing Club in Pensacola, FL. and ask for Big Roy. A receptionist for the gym will scream out, “Roy!” and moments later he is on the line. It was just as easy to reach Jones Sr. when his son fought Joe Calzaghe on Nov. 8.

According to Roy Sr., a member of Jones’ corner actually called him at his home before the bout at Madison Square Garden to ask for advice. He’s not sure what motivated this person to call, or if Little Roy instructed him to call, but Jones Sr. was on the phone with a trainer who was in Jones’ corner from the start of the bout to its conclusion.

“It surprised the hell out of me that someone called,” said Jones Sr., who identified the corner man as Chris O’Neal. “I was on the phone for most of the fight, trying to relay some messages. It was kind of a precarious situation to be in, but if that’s what it takes to help my son then I’ll try my best.”

A longtime publicist for Jones Jr., Greg Fritz, said he spoke to O’Neal about the alleged phone conversation with Big Roy. According to Fritz, O’Neal did not deny or confirm that he spoke to Big Roy during the bout, saying only that “it was a private conversation.”

Jones Sr. said that while he was on the phone with O’Neal he could hear instructions in the background coming from Alton Merkerson, Jones’s trainer, and he could hear the surrounding noise of the fight. Jones Sr. doesn’t know, however, if what he told O’Neal was relayed directly to Jones Jr. or if it fell on deaf ears.

“I was looking at the fight and telling him that he wasn’t really jabbing or feinting,” Jones Sr. said. “A couple of times when he went back to the ropes he was too squared up. I didn’t know why he was doing it. I didn’t know what kind of shape he was in physically or mentally, so I was just trying to give advice on what I was seeing on the tube.”

Asked if someone calling him during the fight spoke to a certain level of anxiety or even dysfunction in his son’s corner, Big Roy demurred.

“I don’t know what was going on in the corner,” he said. “I don’t know why they called me. I’m his father, and I know my son, so maybe that’s why they called me.”

Big Roy, now 60, said he watched the fight from his home in Pensacola with another trainer from his gym, and Big Roy was convinced that something was wrong with his son going into the fight.

“I saw him when he first came into the ring and he looked flat to me,” he said. “I was concerned then. It seemed like he was not on point. He wasn’t at his peak. He was way down. It was just something that I saw that I had never seen in him before.”

Although Jones caught Calzaghe cold with a right hand, knocking the “Italian Dragon” down in the first round for the second straight f ight, Jones Sr. still thought something was off.

“After the first round was over I could tell he was flat because when Roy gets a guy hurt, he usually finishes him,” he said. “It was like he was a different person. He couldn’t get his punches off. It was like he had peaked two weeks ago and he wasn’t at his best.”

Asked what he was feeling as he watched his son get systematically beaten down, from suffering a cut from a punch midway through the seventh round, to the clowning and showboating that Calzaghe did at the expense of his son, Big Roy would say, “It made me mad. It got me fired up, and I’m still mad about it. I’m mad as hell. I’m not mad at Joe Calzaghe. I’m not mad at anyone in particular. I’m just mad at the situation. I know that his performance could have been a lot better. He might not be able to do all the things that he could do when he was younger, but if you have the will, you can do something. He still got it.”

Then, Jones Sr. added, “He wasn’t ready to fight Joe Calzaghe.”

Then he dropped another stinging rebuke to Roy’s corner during the unanimous decision loss to Calzaghe:

“The corner should have been prepared for anything,” he said, “and they seemed like they were prepared for nothing. The corner is there to aid and to assist, and they weren’t able to handle the situation of the cut. I know I would have been more prepared for that kind of stuff.”

Big Roy is still convinced his son can fight on a world class level, but he must change his training habits, which might be hard since at 39, Jones Jr. isn’t exactly a young prospect on the rise.

“Roy needs to be pushed,” he said. “He always has needed to be pushed, ever since he was in the amateurs as a kid he needed to be pushed. No one’s pushing him anymore. If he’s not going to commit himself to the sport, then he ought to quit.”

There was a point late in the bout when Calzaghe was bouncing shots off Little Roy’s head, seemingly playing with him. But Jones Sr. said that his corner would have had trouble convincing Roy Jr. to stop the fight.

“My son wouldn’t have let them,” he said. “Roy’s too much of a fighter for that, but I can tell you one thing. I would have done something about that bleeding. Roy’s corner has never had to deal with a cut before, so they might have panicked and been unable to handle that situation just right.”

The last time he saw his son fight in person was the third bout with Antonio Tarver when he was brought in to help train Little Roy in 2005. Apart from that, Jones Sr. has not attended a fight since he was a valuable member of his son’s inner circle at the beginning of his career. Big Roy trained his son for his first 21 fights.

So he never watched his crushing losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson when Roy Jr. was brutally knocked out. He never saw his son at the top of his profession in person, either, when he beat James Toney and Bernard Hopkins and John Ruiz.

“There’s no special reason why I didn’t go,” he said. “I haven’t been going to any of his fights in the last 10 or 15 years. I didn’t see those fights but I heard things. That he wasn’t prepared for either of those fights against Tarver or Johnson.”

He has watched his son’s career from a distance, stepping in only when he thought Little Roy was over-extending himself beyond his limits as a boxer, such as when Jones Jr. was pursuing quasi-careers in music and basketball. To Big Roy, those activities kept him from fully taking advantage of his remarkable talents.

“I don’t think anyone’s seen the best that Roy has to offer,” he said. “I think he’s probably the best this world has ever seen, talent wise. But I know he could have been better if he had just a little more discipline, if he hadn’t spread himself too thin, doing too many activities. He stuck too many irons in the fire. He didn’t get to concentrate on the things that got him to where he is, which is boxing.”

Mitch Abramson covers sports for the New York Daily News and boxing for BoxingScene.com.
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post Nov 14 2008, 02:41 PM
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interesting read.

Sr and Bernard (from that other article) seem to have "seen" this same thing about roy looking "out of the ordinary"

all in all...roy needs to shut it down before he ends up headlining the obituaries column in pensacola news paper

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post Nov 14 2008, 03:00 PM
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Thats It!!! Roy just had an off night...

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post Nov 14 2008, 05:15 PM
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Nice read. Big Roy came across as a cool guy......
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King Eugene
post Nov 14 2008, 09:03 PM
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To me he indirectly said Roy needs to quit or change his trainers.
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