(transcribed by Michael Readman) Roy Jones Jr is one of boxing’s biggest icons. He is a former 4 division world champion, Olympic medalist, and currently a commentator for HBO’s championship boxing. Now at age 44 he has announced his return to boxing. Roy will be taking on former cruiserweight title challenger Bobby Gunn in a 10 round boxing event December 4th. During the 202nd edition of “On The Ropes” I spoke with Roy about his reason for coming back to the ring and what he hopes to accomplish in the final run of his career. I also talked with Roy about the current boxing scene getting his thoughts on the recent Provodnikov-Alvarado bout, a potential Timothy Bradley rematch against Manny Pacquiao, and the comeback of Antonio Tarver. Here is what Roy Jones Jr had to say in part 1 of his interview.
Jenna J: Roy you recently called a fight on HBO, Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Mike Alvarado, what were your thoughts on it?
Roy Jones Jr: I thought it was a wonderful fight, both fighters gave everybody what they asked for. Mike Alvarado tried his hardest, Ruslan Provodnikov proved to be a little stronger than what they had prepared for I think, but it was still a very good fight. Both fighters gave the best that they could, and Ruslan prevailed.
Jenna J: Being over there in Denver, how was the atmosphere?
Roy Jones Jr: It was good, it was very positive, so many people came and supported and the Denver crowd was such a nice crowd, so I was very happy to be there and I was very enthusiastic about the amount of support the fight got.
Jenna J: Ruslan Provodnikov, a lot of people are asking what he’s gonna do next, what fights are out there for him. What would you like to see?
Roy Jones Jr: I’d like to see him fight Bradley again, the reason being like I say as a boxer, you know if Freddie Roach trains Provodnikov and Freddie Roach trains Pacquiao, and you set them up and Provodnikov has to go and get another trainer to fight Pacquiao. So Pacquiao is trained by Freddie Roach and Pacquiao is at 100% but you don’t feel that Ruslan is. I don’t want to see him fight Pacquiao, I wanna see him fight Timothy Bradley again.
Jenna J: Do you think that Timothy Bradley is gonna want to have that fight again?
Roy Jones Jr: Of course he is. Timothy Bradley is a warrior, he will battle anybody, any time and he looks forward to it. He welcomes any fight, he ain’t ducking nothing, if you offer the right money, he’ll take the fight. For Tim Bradley you gotta look at it like this, if Pacquiao wins, he should probably go and fight Tim next, because a lot of people don’t think he beat Pacquiao the first time, so I’d like to see him go back and clean that up and then go on and fight Ruslan Provodnikov.
Jenna J: You mentioned before that you don’t think Pacquiao and Provodnikov should fight each other because they share the same trainer, what do you think that would be in terms of a fight though?
Roy Jones Jr: Well, it’s a tough fight to call, to be honest with you I think Provodnikov may knock out Pa…Nah, I won’t say. It would be a tough fight, I’ll say that, it will be a tough fight.
Jenna J: What were your thoughts there, Roy? What were you about to say?
Roy Jones Jr: Nah, nah I aint gonna say anything, I just think it will be a tough fight!
Jenna J: (laughs) Ok fair enough. Roy, in regards to yourself I heard you are making a return to the ring in December, against Bobby Gunn, why have you chosen him to come back against?
Roy Jones Jr: Because I know that Anderson Silva is still trying to box me after he gets through fighting Weidman, so I gotta be ready for that in case he beats Weidman. If he beats Weidman he’s gonna be calling my name then I can’t say “Oh let me get a tune up first.” He don’t wanna hear that, he gonna want to fight, you know what I mean.
I need to go get me a tune up now and I think Bobby Gunn is a great fighter to get back in the ring with and shake off the rust, he’s a very tough competitor but he’ll be right there in front of me, so I’ll have to deal with him, or if I can’t deal with him, I don’t get in the ring with nobody.
Jenna J: Roy, you’ve been out of the ring for quite a while, since you beat an undefeated contender. Why have you been out of the ring so long?
Roy Jones Jr: I’m a guy who’s done pretty much all I want to do in boxing, I don’t want to fight unless it’s what people wanna see or for some form of entertainment. I tried to get a shot at the cruiserweight champ but we couldn’t work that out so you know, if I ain’t got no cruiserweight title shot, I don’t wanna just fight for fighting you know. I need a reason to fight, I need motivation, I need to have a goal in mind when I take a fight or else it doesn’t mean no good to fight.
Jenna J: I’ve seen you at a lot of MMA fights, there was some talk of Rampage Jackson before, obviously there’s the Anderson Silva thing. Why is it that you want to cross sports and meet these guys?
Roy Jones Jr: It’s not me, it’s these guys that look up to me as a boxer and they say now that they mastered their game they’re gonna come and try the boxing game. They look at me as the example in boxing because I was the one who laid the foundation in the 90’s for boxing so, because I was the man in the 90’s, that’s when most of them were coming up in what they’re doing now and now they’re at the pinnacles at their sport, they wanna challenge what they thought was the man in boxing, so they wanna challenge me.
Anderson Silva or whoever wants it, I ain’t ducking none of them. I know they love boxing because they all have to know some form of boxing in order to be doing what they doing so they wanna try their luck on me. I have to welcome them with open arms and they have a big fight fan base, so how could you not want to tap into their fan base?
Jenna J: Roy, just on yourself, do you still stay active in the gym or have you been off while doing the commentating?
Roy Jones Jr: Oh yeah, I stay in the gym, I stay in the boxing gym. I stay up on the basketball court and I stay up on the gym.
Jenna J: So how do you feel now when you get in there?
Roy Jones Jr: I feel really good. I feel really good because I’m strong, my body’s looking good. That’s where I wanna be.
Jenna J: Roy, I wanna ask you about a couple of things that have been going on around the boxing scene, some interesting stuff. I want to actually ask you about a former opponent of yours, Antonio Tarver, he announced he’s gonna be making a return to the ring and he’s around your same age, he’s fighting at heavyweight now. Do you think he can have any success at all at heavyweight?
Roy Jones Jr: Yeah, he can find success at any weight. When you’re a good boxer it’s not hard to find success at any weight that you are. It’s not about what weight you are, it’s about what style of fighter is in you. If he’s got the will and the determination and if he sets himself a goal, of course he’ll be successful as a heavyweight.
Jenna J: Do you have any desire at all to revisit that fight, being as you had three fights with him already?
Roy Jones Jr: I mean, of course if everything works out well and it comes to where it’s a great idea and the people wanna see it, then I’m never gonna be the one to say no, I love fighting to much.
Jenna J: How do you think the fight would play out now, it’s obviously been quite a few years since you two got in there and you’re a higher weight now. How do you think it would go?
Roy Jones Jr: There’s been quite a few, but it would still be a very interesting fight as always and of course I think I would prevail and come out on top but that’s yet to be seen. I feel like I’m still the better fighter and I’m gonna always be the better fighter.