One time WBO cruiser king Enzo Maccarinelli wages war against all time pound-for-pound candidate Roy Jones Jr at the VTB Arena, Moscow – and live on BoxNation – this Saturday at 4pm.
Prior to his departure, Glynn Evans hooked up with the Welsh warrior who, at 35, still hasn’t mastered how to have a dull fight.
At this stage of your career, what is the appeal of a fight with Jones Jr?
Though no title is at stake, this is a chance to share the ring with an absolute legend.
In fact, I’ve already shared a ring with him, because I carried Joe Calzaghe’s championship belts into the ring when he fought Roy at Madison Square Garden (November 2008) in his last fight before retiring.
I actually served as Joe’s main sparring partner for that fight and was around for the weigh-in and stuff so I certainly won’t be in awe of Roy. Come fight night he’ll just be ‘Roy’ to me. As Adam Booth said to me recently: ‘There’ll come a stage in the first round when you’ll think: ‘F*** me, I’ve just hit Roy Jones in the face with a jab!
To what extent was Roy a hero of yours growing up?
Roy’s 12 years older than me and I watched a lot of him. My admiration for him is huge. I’m knowledgeable enough about the sport to know he’s one of the best ever,’
But he was far too good to be an idol of mine. I always much preferred the sluggers; Tyson, Duran, Chavez, Barrera and Morales, Gatti and Ward. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to have since met them all bar Chavez.
Roy’s 46 now and hasn’t held a major world title for over 12 years. Nevertheless which of his qualities will you still need to be mindful of?
Roy’s still good, still quick and you never lose the knowledge that he’s accrued over his fabulous career. There’s no way I’d fool myself that I could genuinely beat a prime Roy Jones.
But today he’s nowhere near as good as he once was and I’m not sure his hands are quicker. My speed has always been very underrated.
Which of your attributes will be key to springing an upset?
Power, speed and strength are always my keys. For the four or five years before I joined Gary (Lockett, his coach), I foolishly tried to modify my style. I’m a better boxer than I’m credited for but I tried to over complicate things. Eventually it dawned that I’m at my best, my most dangerous, when I come forward behind a high, tight guard, throw a nice long jab, then release booming shots. I knock people out for fun!
In your last big fight, an April 2014 WBA light-heavy challenge, you rocked champion Juergen Braehmer several times before retiring on your stool with a grotesque eye injury. Why no rematch?
I did have aspirations of a rematch but those Sauerlands are clever people. They know they got lucky that night. The officials in Rostock did me no favours but I expected that before leaving Wales.
At one point the ref warned me just for hitting Braehmer! After the fight, we learnt that German TV had me down three rounds to two, the German newspaper had me up three-two but all three judges had me 5-0 down?!
I honestly believe that, if the eye problem hadn’t happened, I’d have knocked Braehmer out. Mind, as they stretchered him out I’d no doubt have been blamed for breaking his ankle and had it called ‘no contest!’
So how daunting will it be travelling to Russia to fight a Russian citizen?!
The fact the fight’s in Moscow is irrelevant. People forget that I’ve been brought over to Russia as cannon fodder before. In April 2010, I was expected to get wiped out when I challenged Alex Kotlobay for the vacant European cruiserweight title in his home city of St Petersburg yet I knocked him out in one round.
Sure, it’s going to be a pro Roy crowd but he knows they can’t get in there and help him. The big German crowd couldn’t help Wladimir against Tyson Fury. As a Swansea lad, I fought in Cardiff several times. That was daunting (chuckles)!
Where would a victory over Jones rank among your career highlights and what do you hope it could lead to?
If nothing else, I’ll be able to boast to my grandkids that I beat Roy Jones. They needn’t know the specifics (laughs)!
I’ve no idea where a victory might take me. People say we’re both past it but a spectacular victory should still open doors. At this stage it’s about fights that interest me. A rubber fight with Ovill (McKenzie, the reigning British and Commonwealth champion) is a possibility. I’m sure I’ll be made mandatory if I beat Roy.
And I’d happily have a crack at any of the reigning world champions, even (WBA king Denis) Lebedev - who stopped me in three rounds (Manchester, 2009). It wasn’t me that night. Around that time I was confused, doing too many wrong things.
Grigory Drozd (current WBC boss) is the one I’d really like. I’ve always fancied that green belt. I fluffed my lines against David Haye but there’s still time!