Roy Jones, Jr.
Roy Jones Jr. "The Best Pound for Pound and at the Top of the Charts"
Story and Interview by Matthew Shack
((( Audio Interview Below )))
Beverly Hills, CA- While sitting in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, I'm asked if I could take a picture for two ladies that were posing together. No problem. I'm 30 minutes early for my interview with the "Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion of the World", so why not? I take the picture and I sit back down. Suddenly, it dawns on me that of one of the ladies just happens to be 2002 "Olympic Bronze Medalist", Michelle Kwan. At first I thought, "Is that Kristi Yamagushi?" I walk back over to her and we begin to "chop it up". Very cute..very polite but, THAT'S another talk show.
Roy Jones Jr. is lying on his bed, half asleep. He should be. He's a busy guy. He's the champ, he's his own promoter and manager, he's a fight commentator, he's a rap star that owns his own record label, Bodyhead Entertainment, he has his own "Jordan" shoe and the "cat" just flew across country..AGAIN. He "pops" up and off of the bed and greets me, "Wassup man?" He gives me a "pound" and a hug then, we begin this interview.
TFM: How you doing, Roy?
RJJ: I'm good, man...how you doing?
TFM: I'm doing, well. You have the #2 rap song in the country, "That Was Then" featuring Dave Hollister, there's many MC's that can't even say that. How does it feel to know that you've accomplished so much in so little time in the rap-game?
RJJ: That makes me feel good but, the whole thing is selling albums and I hope that it gives me a good jumpstart towards selling my album that came out [on] Tuesday. I'm looking forward to bigger and better things but, I was very thrilled with that taking place the way it did because I wasn't sure, when I first put the song together I thought that would be one of the better songs on the album as far as, the country would go [in] accepting one song.
TFM: I was hanging out with Dave Hollister last week at a concert up in Sacramento and I asked him about the single and he said that, you were a "real cool dude" and that you was "his man",and that he was really happy and he thanked God for him coming together with you and doing the single and it being so successful. What is your opinion of Dave Hollister?
RJJ: The exact same thing. He's a phenomenal person. It's very diffcult to distinguish which is best between his personality and his ability to sing. He blows like no other. The boy can sing, man and like he said, it's a blessing from God for both of us to come together and "do work."
TFM: You're one of the few athletes to ever make a successful jump from sports to music. Many have tried and most of them, have failed.What is your secret and how did you go about doing that?
RJJ: I just put my all into it. My secret is to think that when people fail at something and I fall into that category of most likely to fail, then that makes me more eager to succeed. So, I know now that if"Roy did an album", people are going to expect that it's not going to be good and that he will fail? That makes me go ahead and do it even harder to make sure I succeed.
TFM: There's a lot of people out there that didn't believe in you, man. They just think that you [are] this "cat" who's has all the accolades and all the money to do everything, but then when "the streets" says that "it's popping"?..." It's popping". There's no denying that.
RJJ: That's exactly right, but you know it's funny because there's people who don't even believe and sometime question me in my fight-game. I've been the best thing going for the last 14 years and they still question that so ,you know their going to question my ability to rap but it's all good... I'll take that.
TFM: That's a good attitude to have. You've got some heavy hitters on your album. Your debut album is called "Round #1". You've got Mystikal, Scarface, Dave Hollister, as mentioned as well as label-mates, Hahz The Rippa and Katrina Washington.What message are you trying to send out there and what statement are you trying to make with this album?
RJJ: My statement to this album is that they always came to me and told me that you have to target a certain audience? I wasn't trying to target a certain audience I [wanted] something for everybody. Because, I think that a good album is an album that has a little bit for everybody. So, that everybody can get the album and say with an open mind that there's something that I did enjoy on there.
TFM: You along with Mike Tyson are without a doubt, the most "street credible" fighters in the game. How important is "street credibility" in the marketing of Roy Jones Jr.?
RJJ: [It's] very important to me because, "the streets" are where we come from. "The streets" are where we'll go when it's done and over with. So it's like, we have to "keep it real" to the people in the "the streets" because those are the people that we try to help [to] inspire and those are the people that inspire us. Those are the people that support us. So, we have to inspire those people as well as, have them to be able to let us know what they want to see or what they're looking for.
TFM: I think that you're "pound for pound" the best boxer in the world and that's not me just, "kissing your ass", that's real talk.
RJJ: Thank you, man.
TFM: But, you know what? It's been challenged, people are out there saying all kinds of things and even some of the people that you work with. I just want to know logically, how somebody can deduce that you're not pound for pound? (the best) Like you said, you've been the best thing happening for the last 14 years...how can somebody have that come out of their mouth like that?
RJJ: Well, I'm not trying to compare myself to a person like this but, it's almost like with Jesus Christ.People deny him. They denied him so much to the point, til' they crucified him. So, people are always going to deny something that's great. They hate to see greatness. Because, most people live with evil[and] envious hearts. Instead of just saying,"The man beat everyone that they put in front of him..let's "give it up" until somebody else comes along...while he's there...he's here..let's except this." They don't want to do that. Now, when Michael Jordan was on top of his game? There were people that I almost got into fights [with] because they [told] me that, "Scottie Pippen is better than Michael Jordan." Well, you see the difference now don't you? But, they couldn't see that. It's not that they couldn't see it..they didn't want to see it... [they] always want to be "haters"..you know what I'm saying? People would rather"hate" than be like, "he did good".If somebody beats him? Then, somebody beat him. 'What comes up must come down, but while it's up there?..give it it's props.
TFM: Absolutety. That's real talk, there.
TFM: I'm just going to be playing, "devil's advocate" right here. This is for all the "cats" in the barbershop that sit up and talk about the fight-game.You've been in the barbershop and I'm sure that when you walked in, they've asked you this question. Bernard Hopkins, man...he's said some things that are just, crazy. He's talked about you, he's even when as far as to disrespect your family and say something about your mom and I know, it's a business. But, the guys on the street corner and "the brothers" in the barbershop want to know, how do you tolerate that and if anything, what are you going to do about it?
RJJ: First thing is, the way I tolerate it is that he's desperate. All that is just talk to try and trick me to take a 50/50 deal with him,which I'm not going to take because, that's financially not best for my career.Secondly, I already beat him one time, why do I have to listen to what he says? And, I really don't care what he says. He's not on my level. Once again, to stoop to his level and play those games is not worthy. What I did was, and you tell those guys on the street to get this album, after the first 75,000(copies) sold? They are going to add my other song to the album called,"60/40" that I wrote after me and him had that confrontation. Tell them to pick up that "60/40" and that will answer any questions about it.I retaliate it, the "real" way. I don't sit around and play, "geriatric" games. I go, "tell it like it is". Get you a copy..as a matter of fact? She's got a clean copy for you, you can get it and analyze it. And, then you'll be able to write them and tell them what I said about it.."60/40..I WILL KICK HIS ASS". [It's] that simple. I ain't got nothing to talk about. I don't want to degrade the man. I don't want to sit around and talk about how crazy he sounds with his talk because, "sticks and stones may break my bones but, words will never hurt me". You know what I mean? I'm not gonna be "pimped" by his promoter (Don King) or him just because of what they say, I beat you before. I can stand back and listen to you talk all day, I ain't got to say a word...I BEAT YOU. How can you beat me? And you're talking about 50/50? When they robbed me? I took 70/30 just to get back in the ring with Montell Griffith again...gave him 70(%) and I took 30(%) because I want to prove, I WILL KICK HIS ASS...
TFM: And, you beat him in one round.
RJJ: (Emphatically) Thank you. So, if you really want to fight me? You'll be like that. If you really thought you could beat me. I mean think about it. (Chuckling) I know I can beat him but, I didn't lose to him so, I don't have to take 70/30. I should be getting 70(%) to his 30(%), just like the guy got it when they gave him a decision over me. That's fair.
TFM: That's fair. This concludes our interview with Roy Jones Jr. Roy, I appreciate your time, man... and we look forward to seeing you knock somebody out later in the future.
RJJ: (Smiling) Thank you, so much and if it be him? "60/40, I WILL KICK HIS ASS".