Roy Jones Jr will only work with Anthony Joshua if he's head coach
In an interview with OLBG, legendary boxing champion turned trainer Roy Jones Jr, named 'Fighter of the Decade' during his illustrious career, discussed a number of topics ranging from his work with his student Chris Eubank Jr, Conor Benn's failed drug tests, to his potential match-up with Anthony Joshua.
Here's what the 53-year-old, former four-weight world champion had to say:
On working with Anthony Joshua:
“I told him that I've been trying to reach out to him for a while because I wanted to offer to help him because I knew that he was a fan of mine in his younger days.
“We decided we'll figure out a time to get into the gym together to see if we have chemistry. And if we have chemistry we move forward, if we don't have chemistry he can keep on looking for another trainer.
“When I come over to train Chris Eubank for Liam Smith, probably in December, I'll probably get him to come to the gym one day to see if we have any chemistry to see if it works.
“It will more than likely be in Brighton and we'll see what he’s got and see where we're going – we may not be able to work. With Chris Eubank it was a process. Chris came willing to learn and understood I had some knowledgeable things to teach him. He became a very humble student and he learned, and he got to be a better fighter. But every trainer is not for every fighter.
“We were at the Bivol fight and it was the only conversation we had. Since we've had a few phone conversations and they've seemed well, but like I say – as soon as I go over and work with Eubank in Brighton, I'll invite him down to Brighton, we'll have a day in gym and and we'll see what's happening and if we like it we'll move – if we don't like it we'll go our separate ways.”
On Oleksandr Usyk vacating his IBF title:
“If we do have chemistry give me two or three months [to work with AJ] – but because they've now made it that he might fight for the IBF title, we might have to change that a little bit – but before that happens I'd really like him to give me two or three months to see what we can do in the gym, see if I can make some immediate changes in him. If I can make those necessary changes then let's go get a tune up fight. Now they've told him, I think, that he's eligible to fight for the IBF title, it's going to be very hard not to go do that.
“I would like some time with him before that [title shot] but if he can't, he has to do what he has to do. Title opportunities don't come along everyday. If he gets an opportunity to fight for a title we are going to be rushed.
“But we first got to see if we can work in the gym together. If we can work together we can do whatever's necessary. I'm not a robot. I understand things happen and sometimes opportunities come along and you can't miss them.”
On Anthony Joshua's ring mic outburst
“There's a lot left in his career. He will become world champion again if I get him because what comes with me is not only inside the ring but outside the ring mindset.
“Sometimes it's hard to reach a guy when he doesn't know you and he doesn't respect you like a father. But for me, I feel like he respects me like a big brother or a father, a big brother more so than anything because if he respects you like a big brother he'll listen to you. It seemed like his mind was open and if his mind was open then we're cool.
“What people don't understand is that skill builds confidence. If you can teach someone to do something the right way, you can get much more confidence. If you can't teach them to do it, or if they don't have enough faith in you and don’t trust you to do what they ask you to do, then they're not going to have confidence.
“Chris Eubank Jr is one of the most confident guys you're going to see right now, why? Because he learned more things and he has more in his arsenal. Make his arsenal deeper, make him more confident. When he fought Liam Williams, he was dropping Liam Williams with the jab. Coach said put your knuckles on his chin and he'll go, I said I know this for a fact, I've seen it. He dropped him three times with the jab, he turned his knuckles over properly. It's common sense but it gives you more confidence. He has twice the confidence. He was already a super confident guy but giving him knowledge gave him even more confidence. I had so much confidence because I knew what to do in every situation.
“The new Anthony Joshua is going to look like a guy that's confident because he knows what he's doing. He's always going to know what's going on in the ring. He's always going to know what his next step is and what he's looking for in the ring. He won't be waiting around to be a victim of what happened, he's going to start making it happen because he knows how.”
On AJ working with Roberto Garcia:
“They tried to make the change but I think he did not really understand what they were asking for and it wasn't communicated properly to him, so he could understand what was being asked of him – that's my outside opinion.
“The first fight they allowed Usyk to get too close, I showed him that when I talked to him in Dubai. If you go back and listen to the commentary in the first round I said right there 'you're messing up' because you're letting Usyk get too close. Most people don't see that – I see that because I know boxing. I know what Usyk was doing.
“Second fight I didn't watch much of it because I could not see where Garcia was going to make a lot of changes in Joshua. I did not watch because I did not think Garcia was going to change much – and he didn't. I did not watch much of it because I wasn't expecting him to change and I didn't want to give up my hope on him becoming world champ because I still had hope for him. I didn't feel that the change he made was going to be good because you're getting a smaller guy to teach you how to fight a big guy. So it was a tough situation for Garcia because I don't know if Garcia's been put in that situation. I didn't want to watch the second one because I didn't want to lose my hope that he could beat Usyk.
[My plan to beat Usyk], it's the same concept that Garcia had in a sense, it's just that Garcia is a shorter guy. He has a different way of doing it. And to me it would be very difficult for him to communicate to Joshua how to do something – Joshua's a tall guy and Usyk is a tall guy. It's hard for a short guy to explain something to you that he never had to do. I'm not tall, but I had to deal with all of them. I went from junior middleweight to heavyweight. Nobody ever did that in the history of the sport. My range is a little bit different than Garcia's. I do understand what Garcia's plan was, but sometimes different backgrounds, different ways of articulating things to people – sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't – I don't think he was able to articulate it to Joshua where Joshua really understood it.”
On potentially becoming AJ's head coach:
“He's already got a team around him who might not accept outside knowledge. Chris did not have a team, so Chris was a little different. I won't be a secondary guy, no. That's definitely not happening. You got to be a head coach or no coach. If I'm the head coach I'll go, if I'm not I won't go. I won't have a true impact in what I'm doing if I'm a second coach.
“There's a lot of potential there that I can work with. But like I said, he already has a team of people and I don't want them to feel threatened because I'm not there to push them out the way. I'm there to just help him. But I'm not going to argue with people who help him. I will help him if I can, and if I can't I go on my way. But as I said, I'm not there to be second [coach], watching things go wrong that I know are wrong and sit there and tell them it's good. That's why I say it's about chemistry. It seemed that we had decent chemistry in Dubai. He seemed hungry, he seemed that he still wanted it, I told him 'I can't teach you if you don't want it, I can't teach you if you've not got the heart to do it, but if you've got the heart to do it then I can give you what you need'”.
On Chris Eubank Jr fighting Gennady Golovkin:
“I think Chris needs the Golovkin fight because this is the thing: his father really wants Junior to fight Canelo. If Junior can stop Golovkin and do something that Canelo could not do, now you've got a reason to challenge Canelo because look Canelo ‘we did something that you could not do’. What else does Canelo have right now?
“I definitely want to see Chris fight Golovkin before his career is over because if he can stop Golovkin; you have to go out and stop Golovkin to make an argument to have a shot at Canelo.
“That's his dad's dream fight I think. When I first started training Chris he said that's the guy he wants to see his son fight, why? He feels his son can beat Canelo. So for me, I want to do what's necessary for the team. If his dad wants to fight Canelo, I'm cool with that.”
On the failed Conor Benn fight:
“It's not something that surprises you because it happens so much in boxing now.
“Of course you want to see every fighter get back in the ring at some point, you don't want to see guys lose to outside activity. When Canelo failed a steroid test did we not see Canelo again? We got it. Who does not want to see him (Benn) again? Hopefully Benn learned a lesson not to do it anymore and move on. Who does not make mistakes? We all make mistakes, who does not want to see him back in the ring?”