Pensacola, FL (March 12, 2009) – Roy Jones Jr., Eight-Time World Champion, returns to Pensacola to fight for the first time since January 1999 when he battles Omar Sheika at the Pensacola Civic Center on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The fight card, which includes a bevy of Mixed Martial Arts stars, will also feature a cruiserweight match-up between undefeated B.J. Flores against Jose Luis Herrera. The event is being promoted by Square Ring Promotions in association with Hirsch Borao Boxing and the Pensacola Civic Center and will be broadcast live on pay-per-view.
How did this come about?
BIG ROY: Roy asked me to come and help him in camp so I said sure. It was about 6 weeks ago.
What do you think about Omar Sheika?
BIG ROY: I think Sheika is a pretty good fighter. He’s crafty and he is strong. I think he’s a fighter that you really need to prepare for.
How does Roy look compared to past fights?
BIG ROY: To me, Roy looks good. I haven’t been in camp with him for a long time. He seems to pushing it a little bit in camp. Dedicating him more to training. He’s working hard and I know that.
The last time you were in camp was the third Tarver fight, how does this camp compare?
BIG ROY: I’m sure of it. In the Tarver fight we only had two weeks. This time we had a little bit more time so we got a little bit more involved. And push him a little bit more. This is really all about what Roy thinks and about him continuing his career. He really hasn’t lost anything but a little confidence. He has maintained his skills; just a little tweak here and there will make all the difference in the world. I think now he understands he needs to maintain his skills and not spread himself too thin. You will see a little better performance from him.
BIG ROY: I only pay attention to his confidence when he is sparring. I didn’t see him before the Calzaghe fight so I don’t know. I can’t do the comparisons but right now I know he is pushing himself so he should be a little more productive. He needs to elevate his skill levels.
Who is the head trainer in the gym?
BIG ROY: Merk is there but I don’t pay attention to all of that. I just play to role that he asks me. It’s to help him. I am not concerned about anybody else but him. I work in my own gym with Roy. It’s my gym in the afternoon and Roy’s gym in the evening. I go to the gym to prepare him for the fight. I work with him in both places.
Who will be lead trainer in the corner?
BIG ROY: I haven’t really thought about it. As far as I am concerned it can be Merkerson. I don’t care about that. I am only concerned about getting him ready. He can take anybody into the corner that he wants. I just want him to be prepared and be ready.
What is his motivation?
BIG ROY: I think Roy has come to the realization that boxing is what he is. That’s what made him. For a short period of time he got off track with that. Everyone knows Roy as a boxer, not a rapper and he has come to the realization of that. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that being pound-for-pound and world champion means a lot to him also because he is used to being at the top of the heap. He had been that for so many years that it does play a role in his motivation to continue this thing. I never ask him about his business. I love him and he’s my son and everything but I never intervene or interfere with anything in his personal business. If he doesn’t ask me, I don’t say anything on any part of his life.
What did you think about the Calzaghe fight?
BIG ROY: I couldn’t see if he was making any tactical mistakes. It just looked like to me he wasn’t mentally ready for that fight. I don’t think he prepared for Joe Calzaghe. At this point in time, especially in his career due to the point he has been champion and all, and he didn’t train right. He’d been doing a lot more than he’d normally been doing as far as his condition was concerned. He was in shape but I don’t think he was mentally there. He did not mentally prepare to fight Joe Calzaghe.
BIG ROY: Roy always had that edge. He worked hard and he was mentally tough. Over the years, he just didn’t seem to prepare in the fashion to maintain. Roy looks like he’s twenty-five at times.
Do you have any regrets missing parts of his career?
BIG ROY: I have no regrets over any portion of that. I was always a part of it in a sense. I always watched it so I never did really miss it. Sometimes you’ve just got to let him go and do it. I can’t live his life for him. If I could I wouldn’t because there wouldn’t be anything for me to be proud of. I don’t have any regrets. It was his decision and whatever way he decides was up to him.
Did you resolve your problems with Roy Jr.?
BIG ROY: The only time is when it came to the media that it was said we had a problem with our personal relationship. We never had a bad personal relationship. I’ve always allowed him to be the person that he is. When he got grown I stood back and watched. Either way it goes I had my eyes on him. When he became a man I had to treat him like a man. I just had to remind him of the consequences. I am proud of Roy and he made his decision and that was his decision.
BIG ROY: When Roy was pound-for-pound, he had skills that were unorthodox because they didn’t understand it. But nowadays so many fighters are mimicking him. But now he doesn’t have that edge that he had because he let his skills diminish. Physically you know he is in the decline because he is aging. That was always the most extraordinary thing about him was his skills.
BIG ROY: He has to be pushed and to exceed his limitations. You train hard in the gym to make the fight a lot easier. Fights are won and lost in the gym and you can’t ever ignore that. The harder you work in the gym is going to make it easier in the gym. That’s the thing that will bring his confidence back – to put pressure on him in the gym. It took years to get it now it will take a little time to get it back.
In Memphis after the last Tarver fight, he said he didn’t want to give you the credit if he won the fight, so he lost. What do you think about that?
BIG ROY: I am his father and he is my kid. Regardless of what he says, he is still my kid. Sometimes he might not know what to say or he may be looking for someone to blame. A father is meant to be blamed. So if I can help him that way also, I will because he is my kid. He is still my youngin’ and I am still his father so any way I can help him. If it means me putting blame on me then I will help him.
What do you think Roy’s end game is?
BIG ROY: I truly don’t what the end game is. All I can do is recommend things to him. I will tell him what I think whether he wants to hear it or not. But if he asks me for my help in something then that’s what I am going to give him. Right now in this time, he can still do this. But he must prepare mentally and physically to do this. He realized this.
BIG ROY: I will tell him, point blank, that if I don’t think and it appears to me in any kind of way. Him getting hurt, I most certainly don’t want that to happen. He has a legacy that he’s going to leave and I don’t want it to affect that at all. If it comes that time, whether it is because of his age or his training, I will tell him.
If he loses to Sheika, will you tell him that?
BIG ROY: Probably. It all depends on why he loses. If I feel that it is necessary to tell him that, and in my opinion and I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything like that, I would tell him that. Whether he would want to hear it or not, I’ll be the first to tell him.