I Spent The Night With Superman
By Fantana: Holy shit. Never before on East Side Boxing has an article started with those two, punctual words. Yet they are perhaps the best two words to describe the feeling of meeting living legend and four weight world champion Roy Jones Jnr, the man they call Superman, on Saturday night in Newark. Personally I have Roy Jones as pound for pound all time number one beating guys like Robinson, Armstrong and Duran, and closely edging out John Ruiz for the premiere spot, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to meet him. The evening kick started at half past six when we walked into the Cedric Ford Pavilion Centre and into the main room where tables were laid out with cutlery and champagne bottles. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was supposed to be standing so I went over to the bar and ordered myself a hard shot of orange juice with ice whilst my wife had her first of many glasses of wine. More people started to turn up and I could sense the excitement in the air, people knew something special was going on in Nottingham, and I am not talking about either Robin Hood or Gary Birtles making a comeback. After a short while we were told we could go upstairs to meet Roy Jones and were given tickets so that we could get a photo with him.
Upstairs there was no sign of Roy Jones Jnr, so I was left waiting around again, whilst my wife helped herself to some champagne. Suddenly a group of young men burst through the door carrying brief cases. These were no ordinary young men, these guys were much like myself, winners. Amongst them was John Murray who is the undefeated European lightweight champion. Folks wasted no time in having pictures taken with him and his belts. There was also Callum Johnson, Commonwealth games gold medallist, who let me have a picture taken with him as I held his gold medal, he seemed a bit annoyed when I bit it to check whether it was genuine gold.
All of sudden, as if he had just magically appeared, Roy Jones Jr was in the room. Just a few feet away from him my first impression was ‘Why is Roy Jones wearing his pyjamas?’ I decided it must be something to do with the time differences, but Roy Jones looked like he was advertising silent night bed mattresses. He seemed laid back, approachable, so I thought now would be a good time to speak with him whilst he was alone and unsuspecting. I prepared myself, made my wife hold my camera and then walked towards the former WBA Heavyweight Champion. In almost slow motion I inched closer to Roy, he turned as if to face me and then suddenly a fat woman came from out of nowhere and blew all my man-dreams of talking to him and I was absolutely gutted. It was then announced that a queue would be formed on the other side of the room for photos with the legend. Fearing the fat bird would steal my place, I ran as quickly as my man-legs could carry me through the crowd, grabbing my wife’s arm and dragging here over to the table. “FIRST!!” I triumphantly shouted, like I said I am a winner.
As the queue behind me and my wife formed Roy casually, perhaps sleepily, walked over and positioned himself accordingly for the photographs. I was getting excited, in a non-gay way, and couldn’t contain myself and walked over to Roy to get my photograph with him. Rudely several of the boxers barged past me and all had their photos taken with Roy first, cheeky gits didn’t even have to queue up. Determined to get my chance with Roy I encouraged them to hurry up by making loud yawning noises. I got a few menacing looks from Roy’s bodyguard, who just so happens to be Karl Etherington who is a bronze medallist in Judo and current UCC fighter. I pretended that I didn’t notice he wanted to smack me.
Finally, it was my time to shine. Roy beckoned me over for my photograph, nothing could stop me now, I’d been waiting patiently for this moment for almost half an hour. As I got nearer and nearer to Roy he seemed to grow in stature until finally we were face to face, except Roy was considerably taller than my fine self. “Would you mind crouching down a little please?” I asked Roy, attentively. He gave me a funny look, before replying nonchalantly “Sure.” Quickly the photographer took the photograph and then asked me to get out of the way. My chance had gone, I had blown it by not being 5 foot 5 or taller. My wife went over for her photograph and Roy suddenly came to life and was being charming and engaging in small talk with her whilst I stood in the background like a fat kid on sports day. After my wife’s photo had been taken my head dropped, it was over too soon. But then Roy said to me “Hey, get in another photo, the three of us” with a big smile on his handsome face. Without hesitation I was by Roy’s side for a photograph, with my wife on his other side. It wasn’t until later that evening when we were given the photographs that I realized on this particular shot I looked like an extra
For the next thirty or so minutes everyone else got a picture with Roy and it was around this time that we spoke with Karl Etherington who turned out to be a thoroughly nice chap, and Roy’s manager McGee. We swapped theories on upcoming fights and discussed my articles. McGee found the comments I got on my last three Eastside articles were of particular amusement, 565 negative ones, but at least some guy called Shane from America leaves me positive feedback. He also seemed to like the comments I leave on Floyd Mayweathers facebook page berating him. I offered up my opinion that the reason for the Danny Green loss was largely due to the fact the fight was on a Wednesday, no one fights on a Wednesday and that means Roy couldn’t have been ready to fight. McGee didn’t reply, he just wandered off.
After everyone had their photos taken with Roy he was free and kept whipping out his blackberry and texting people. My wife had, after a couple more glasses of champagne, began talking with Roy again. I wandered over and Roy asked me about the David Haye car crash, I didn’t know anything about it at the time but I did tell Roy that Haye was afraid of Audley, and is going to get beaten. “That’s the same thing I have been saying!” Roy said, before he continued annoyingly to keep texting people whilst still in his pyjamas. “You know Roy, when I was in Florida I was going to come and camp outside of your house, but I thought you might run outside and punch me in the face.” Roy looked up from his blackberry, “Nah! I would never have done that.” He truly is a gentleman but I was sure he was lying although that didn’t stop me from demanding a face-off there and then. “I write for Eastside Boxing, Roy” I said to him. “Oh yeah I know you, Fantana, nice cowboy hat” Roy said. “Well, I’m the best at what I do, and you’re the best at what you do, let’s have a face-off.” Roy lept to his feet and startled me, I almost counter hooked him as a reflex action. His face was inches away from mine and I looked into his eyes in a non-gay way and saw highlights of his best knockout wins, the body shot to Virgil Hill, the hands behind the back knockout over Glen Kelly, images of Roy standing there with the heavyweight title. We held a gaze for a couple of photographs which is about all I could handle as I am sure Roy Jones Jr did want to smack me, Roy was like a pressure cooker about to go off. That really was a once in a lifetime experience for myself, facing off with Roy Jones Jr, unless of course I do camp outside his house in which case he definitely will smack me.
Just as the fun was starting we all got called downstairs for the meal, time was really flying by. Downstairs at table 5 I made a couple of Facebook friends with the lads on my table. After we had been fed, a comedian came out and that lasted about twenty minutes, he had everyone in stitches but I really didn’t understand any of his jokes, but I faked laughed everytime he looked at me just so he wouldn’t pick on my big ears. After the comedian came a host of memorabilia for sale and bidding ensued. Afterwards Roy Jones Jr got to talk to about his career and people in the crowd got to ask questions. I videoed most of it on my mobile phone, but a lot of what Roy was saying was getting drowned out because my wife who had drunk far too much kept yelling “Woohoo! Roy!” It was embarrassing, everyone kept staring at me as if it was somehow my fault I have an unruly spouse. It got so bad at one point that Roy had to actually look at my wife and go “Shhhhhhh”. Then my wife dropped her purse on the floor, and I am pretty sure Carl Greaves who made all this possible was writing our names down to put us on a blacklist of people who were not allowed to any of his future promotions.
Just as I believed things couldn’t get any worse, the MC then asked if there were any ladies in the crowd who wanted to ask Roy Jones Jr a question. “Please, don’t say anything!” I whispered to my wife, who hocked down another glass of wine. Someone on the table begged her to ask about the Glen Kelly knockout. My wife stumbled to her feet, almost knocked the MC over and slurred into the microphone “Gene Kelly, Gene Kelly?” The MC got in closer, he was very understanding and seemed to think my wife was a princess, “Great question” He said. Roy looked confused, “What is the question?” He asked. My wife slurred once more, “Gene Kelly.” Again with the bloody Gene Kelly, I thought for sure they would throw us out now but the MC rescued the situation and said “The question is Roy – How were you able to knock out Glen Kelly with your hands behind your back?” Roy seemed keen to answer, detailing how Kelly had gone into such a shell that in order for Roy to get him to open up he had to do something to entice him to throw a punch, which is why he put his hands behind his back. Roy kept calling his fists bee’s, mentioning that they sting, it was a great move as everybody loves metaphors.
The evening was winding down and Roy was doing a few more autographs and photos for people queuing up at his table. Marcelo from my table had come with his father and needed his canvas picture of Roy Jones signed, but didn’t want to go up to Roy alone. “We probably shouldn’t bother Roy anymore” I told my wife, but she didn’t listen and went right up to Roy as he was signing things for people and he let her jump the queue. Roy seemed really happy to see her again, even though she had been really naughty. As Marcelo and I made our way towards Roy we bumped into John Murray who let me have a photo with him, he was friendly and polite and didn’t even mention I had food stains on my man-trousers. Roy seemed annoyed to see me again, but my wife asked him to sign Marcelo’s canvas and he did. The crowd dwindled as people made their way home but I noticed some woman was trying to pull McGee by the bar. I was getting slightly tired myself but trying to separate Roy Jones and my wife was frustratingly difficult, you would think they were best friends. I tried to get in on the conversation they were having which had made its way to the bar but Roy Jones Jr told me I should probably go and look after my friend and shooed me away. So I stood around for a few minutes, trying to lay low and figuring out how I was going to get us a taxi back to the hotel when my wife had spent all our money on booze.
I was feeling left out when my wife called me over to her and Roy. He was smiling, he was always smiling around my wife. He asked me about my writing, and he promised not to sue me for writing about him. We talked for a few minutes about things in general, we shared a few jokes and his manager McGee confided in our small group that he didn’t understand 75% of what the comedian was talking about. Roy seemed comfortable around me at this point, and feeling like he was actually my friend I had to tell him my situation. “Roy, I got no money left for a taxi, my wife spent it on booze” Roy looked understanding, quietly nodding his head. “Hey, don’t even worry about it, I will sort you out” he replied. “You mean it? Thank you so much Roy!” I could barely contain my glee, Roy Jones Jr was going to drive me and my wife back to my hotel room. “Don’t mention it, Fantana” Roy said. “Hey, you” Roy shouted to Marcelo, who turned around in a daze “Give this chubby little Englishman and his lovely wife a ride home.” And you know what? Marcelo’s dad did drive us back to the hotel. The legends are true, Roy Jones Jr really is superman.
Yours in manliness,
About the author - Fantana is currently filing for divorce.
Article posted on 25.10.2010
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