(Transcribed by Michael Readman) Former four division world champion, Roy Jones Jr, has had a career that has seen him in the spotlight for over twenty five years, and even today he is still one of the sports biggest names. While Roy has continued to box into his mid forty’s, he has become one of the most recognizable personalities with his continued work as a boxing commentator for HBO, and has now transitioned successfully to training, having worked with boxing stars, Jessie Vargas and Jean Pascal.
In part 1 of this “On The Ropes” interview with Roy Jones Jr, I discuss with him his working relationship with Jean Pascal, and get his thoughts on Pascal’s upcoming bout against Sergey Kovalev. Roy also shares his thoughts on Kovalev as a fighter, and what he thinks it will take to defeat him on March 14th. Additionally, Jones gives his views on a potential Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout and talks about whose legacy the fight will impact more. Here is what Roy Jones Jr. had to say.
Jenna J: Roy, we saw you in the corner of Jean Pascal for a recent fight. Could you tell me a little about what it’s like working with Jean Pascal and what you saw in his last match?
Roy Jones Jr: I love working with Jean Pascal. I saw a lot of patience, a lot of structure in the things that we can work on which is basically patience and him doing things in a timely manner, not rushing himself so much and over doing it.
Jenna J: What do you think you add most to his corner?
Roy Jones Jr: Confidence mainly is the biggest thing. After confidence, I add a little bit of stability as far as distance in a fight. I teach him how to pace himself and be stable the whole fight instead of running these sprints throughout the fight to where it gets you dead tired and everybody including your opponent knows it.
Jenna J: The fight kind of ended under weird circumstances, something your actually familiar with has happened to you before with Montell Griffin. Could you tell me what you were thinking when that happened?
Roy Jones Jr: Yeah, I was kind of upset about it because it happened that way. I knew Pascal was upset but at the same time it was a blessing in disguise, just as it was for me with Griffin because guess what? Now he gets out of the fight safe, with no injuries, no head-butts, no cuts and we move on to Kovalev. That was a great thing in disguise, in hindsight it was a great thing but of course nobody wants to see it happen that way because you want to see the best thing happen for the fans.
Jenna J: You mentioned Sergey Kovalev. A lot of people were very surprised in Jean Pascal for taking that particular fight. Were you at all surprised that he tried to pursuit that?
Roy Jones Jr: I wasn’t at all surprised because Jean Pascal wants to prove that he’s one of the best light heavyweights, if not the best light heavyweight in the country right now and that’s why he took the fight.
Jenna J: When I recently talked to Jean Pascal and he said that everything he wants to do, he wants to be the best ever in Canada. Do you think he can accomplish that?
Roy Jones Jr: He sure can. If he beats Kovalev he’s gonna almost accomplish it right then. This is a great fight for him and a great move. If he beats Kovalev, he would have to be right now recognized as the best light heavyweight in Canada ever.
Jenna J: The fight between Pascal and Kovalev. What do you think as Kovalev as a fighter?
Roy Jones Jr: Wonderful fighter, great fighter. Sergey is actually a friend of mine as well so, I don’t have nothing bad to say about Sergey. He’s a great fighter and he’s a very knowledgeable fighter.
I’ve always admired Kovalev as a fighter, very attacking, skilful guy. He’s a wonderful person and I’ve never had anything bad to say about him, I’m a fan of both guys. It’s a wonderful fight and I admire his trainer, John David Jackson, who did an exceptional job with him and I look forward to us both having a very healthy but competitive fight.
Jenna J: When I asked Pascal about Kovalev’s last fight, he said that he believed that Bernard Hopkins was an old version of himself, that Kovalev beat an older version. What did you see?
Roy Jones Jr: Well, he’s a fighter and he has to fight Kovalev and he had to fight Hopkins recently as well, so he knows what he saw. I kind of agree with him in a sense but at the same time, Kovalev took a different approach and had a guy who had trained Hopkins before in his corner, in John David Jackson, that helped also.
Kovalev did the same things that Jean would have done, had I been with Jean before he fought Hopkins. He was an older Hopkins, don’t get it twisted, but at the same time, had I been with Jean when he fought Hopkins the first two times, then the same thing would have happened that happened with Kovalev.
Jenna J: When you look at the light heavyweight division, who in your opinion really is the light heavyweight champ? Do you believe it is Sergey Kovalev based on the fact he’s got three belts?
Roy Jones Jr: Yeah, I know it’s Sergey Kovalev right now because he beat the man that beat the man and he took Hopkins out and he is the man right now.
Jenna J: Roy, apparently Manny Pacquiao has agreed terms to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. HBO and Showtime are talking to each other, trying to work out the details with that. How do you feel that it looks like this fight might happen?
Roy Jones Jr: I hope for the whole boxing public that the fight will finally take place and I just can’t wait for it to happen.
Jenna J: I’ve asked you in the past, what do you think happens now, based on how each guy has looked in their last few fights?
Roy Jones Jr: I ain’t saying nothing until they sign! Once the signing’s done, then we’ll talk about it. Until then I have nothing to say, I’m not wasting no more comments on it. When the signings done, then I’ll talk about it.
Jenna J: When you look at Floyd Mayweather Jr. today, what kind of a fighter is he compared to how he used to be?
Roy Jones Jr: He’s the same as he used to be. He’s still a slick boxer who doesn’t like taking any chances, but he’s the best at what he does. He’s very smart, you couldn’t find a slicker guy inside the ring and he knows what he’s doing and he will be ready to do what he does.
Jenna J: Manny Pacquiao knocked his opponent down six times in his last fight. What kind of fighter is he now?
Roy Jones Jr: A very aggressive fighter, a guy who looks forward to competition, loves to hit, pretty defensive but more offensive minded than defense. So, you’ve got an offensive guy versus a defensive guy, which always turns out to make for a very good fight.
Jenna J: If they do fight, whoever wins, whose legacy do you think it affects more?
Roy Jones Jr: I think a Manny Pacquiao of course affects Floyd’s legacy more because it took so long for the fight to happen and we haven’t seen anybody in the ring with Floyd that we really thought could beat him, except Canelo as of late and Canelo didn’t fight the right fight that he would have expected Canelo to fight. It affects Floyd’s legacy more so than anybody else.