Roy Jones Jr & Andrew Ettingshausen
By Paul Upham in Milsons Point: Who says that the lead-up to a world title fight for a boxer has to be boring with a total focus on boxing? One week from his cruiserweight IBO title fight with Danny Green on December 2, Roy Jones Jr spent some time fishing on Sydney Harbour on Wednesday afternoon.
40 year-old Jones Jr accepted an invitation from former Australian rugby league football great Andrew “ET” Ettingshausen and cast a line into the water under the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“I love fishing. It is what I love to do,” said Jones Jr. “This is a one off today. I have a green shark to catch next week. I have to stay focused on what I am doing. If I wasn’t fighting, I’d be fishing here all day.”
A fleet footed winger, fullback or centre, the 44 year-old Ettingshausen played 328 first grade games for the Cronulla Sharks club and scored 165 tried over eighteen seasons, representing his country in 29 matches. After his retirement, “ET” developed his love of the outdoors into a successful television program.
“I have always been interested in boxing, any of the martial arts,” said Ettingshausen. “I just love those contact sports. My brother Michael is a 5th Dan and he has represented Australia a dozen times, so I have always been a big fan of watching him in combat. I have watched a lot of Roy’s fights over the years and he is just so skilful. Brilliant to watch.”
Jones Jr has had two short stints living in Australia in 2002 when he was working on the Matrix movie sequels with Keanu Reeves. The American boxing great is becoming familiar with the local sport of rugby league and was aware of Ettingshausen’s career.
“I have been to two championship games and I enjoyed it,” said Jones Jr. “I have got nothing but respect for the players in that sport. They have no pads on. Wow! What more can you say.”
Jones Jr and Ettingshausen spent time discussing their favourite fishing locations and catches.
“You know your fishing Roy,” said Ettingshausen. “What have you got on your property?”
“I have got fresh water fish,” replied Jones Jr. “Bass, Brim and Catfish. They are good fun. You go outside and catch them and then go inside and cook them. You can’t get any fresher than that.”
Ettingshausen: “I have got a fishing lodge up in the Northern Territory. It’s a real wild place. Sort of like gators, we have the crocodiles there. We catch loads of good sport fish up there. It sounds like you like your fishing.”
Jones Jr: “I love it. I have been fishing since I was a kid. I got out on my boat sometimes and stay the whole day. My friends can’t get me because when I go, I’m gone. I don’t want to talk. I’m gone. No phones.”
Ettingshausen: “That’s exactly like me. I called my fishing show Escape with ET. We go out and escape to some pretty good places.”
Jones Jr: “I will have to come on your show one of these days. I definitely want to do that.”
Ettingshausen: “I tell you, we would love to have you on. We have so many good fishing places here in Australia.”
The two sporting stars cast their lines into the harbour, discussing lines, reels and lures, as the ferry boats with curious on-lookers cruised by.
“We catch Kingfish, Brim and big Jewfish in the harbour, in this area,” explained Ettingshausen. “The good thing is we can catch fish here right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”
Ettingshausen gave Jones Jr a gift of a new Shimano fishing rod and an open invitation to join him on a fishing trip.
“I am thrilled to have Roy here today,” he said. “It is a great opportunity. I know that he loves his fishing and his hunting. We have some characteristics where we enjoy the same sports.”
“There is a good chance I will come back to Australia after the fight,” said Jones Jr, “and a good chance I will come back to fight again in Australia. I love Australia. All the water here, this is what I do. It is perfect.”
A champion at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, Jones Jr will attempt to defeat local star Green to win his first belt at cruiserweight at the Acer Arena in Homebush, Sydney. A sell-out crowd of 19,000 people is expected to attend.
“It will be great to have Roy fighting here in Australia,” said Ettingshausen. “What a magnificent opportunity for everybody to come along and watch.”
Photos by Paul Upham / www.SecondsOut.com