Commentary

Roy Jones Jr.'s boys keep it real on the farm

Updated: March 21, 2009, 12:10 PM ET
By Jason Jordan | Special to ESPNRISE.com

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Ask any of the locals here, and they'll tell you that you won't find Quintette Road on MapQuest.

Street lights don't exist, houses are spaced out over miles and animals roam as they please.

If you're lucky enough to pass through the steel black gates with four chicken figurines on the front, your first reaction might be to lock your doors.

But a quarter-mile up the paved road, past the strong stench of hog pens -- and the grazing deer, bobcats, cows, pit bulls and horses -- sits a plush, 15,000-square-foot, white-and-brick colonial, a "Cribs"-ish pad that looks out of place as a farmhouse.

That's because it is not your ordinary farmhouse.

Its owner is Roy Jones Jr., who, despite this past fall's light heavyweight world title loss to Joe Calzaghe, still is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers.

[+] EnlargeJones Farm
Jason Jordan Think having a famous parent means no chores? Not if you're Roy Jones' kids.

The spoils of Jones' fortune are evident in one look at the mansion. In front of this particular home is an assortment of luxury vehicles, including a black Rolls Royce Phantom, a tricked-out neon-green Charger, a stretch Escalade and several SUVs and Mercedes Benzes.

It is in this setting that Jones is raising his children, his 16-year-old twin sons, DeAndre "Dre" and DeShawn "DJ" Jones, and his second cousin, Dyllon "D" Burnside, 18. The three are aspiring hip-hop stars who form the group 3D. They opened last fall at Madison Square Garden for their father's ill-fated bout with Calzaghe.

From their surroundings, it would be easy to think that those in the Jones household are rich and therefore spoiled and soft. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"I'm pretty sure you won't be seeing us on 'Sweet 16,'" DJ said.

It's a sure bet that none of the three have it as tough as Jones, who won a national Junior Olympics title when he was just 15 and was a Golden Gloves champion at 16. In 1993, Jones described his relationship with his father/trainer, Roy Jones Sr., to Sports Illustrated: "Getting' hurt or dyin' might've been better than the life I was livin'. … Used to think about killin' myself anyway."

In raising his own sons and his cousin, Jones Jr., 40, has been strict but fair.

None of the three has opted to follow in Jones' footsteps, and the patriarch is adamant about not pressuring them because his own father was so demanding. The twins spar for fun but have no interest in taking boxing seriously.

They escaped the squared circle, but there is no dodging morning workouts. Living on a farm means doing chores at dawn, right about the time Jones is completing his morning run.

"I teach them to be accountable and responsible," Jones said. "This gives them all the things they'll need to go on and raise a family once I'm gone. Some things you can only learn on a farm."

Early morning farming

Here's a look at a typical day.

"It's always dark when we wake up," D says. "Never fails."

Today, they win by default -- it's overcast. And even though it's just 6:15 a.m., D, a freshman at Pensacola Junior College, has to make haste if he's going to be at music appreciation class on time and keep his 4.6 grade point average intact.

Dre and DJ are in their third year of home school, where they, too, hold down A averages. Jones was born and raised in Pensacola and graduated from Booker T. Washington High in 1987. The twins attended public school until age 11 and have been home-schooled since.

D is fiddling with his blue BMW and glances over at a colorful peacock that flies seemingly out of nowhere and lands just in front of the cow pens.

"She usually lands on the roof," he says before going inside to get Dre and DJ.

[+] EnlargeJones Farm
Jason Jordan Running the farm is all in a day's work for the Jones boys.

D, as the oldest, keeps the group focused on the task at hand, and the twins have an underlying "big brother" respect for their big cuz.

So it's no wonder that three minutes later, the trio comes strolling outside decked in gym shorts, cutoffs over long-sleeved T-shirts and windbreaker pants.

All three level off at about 5-foot-8 and have chiseled physiques, which Dre is quick to point out isn't just for their health.

"The ladies love the abs," Dre says. "Especially when we do the belly roll. That's the move right there!"

The boys' morning chores start after a brisk mile-long jog to the front gate and back. They fill white buckets with corn kernels for the horses, give them fresh water and then head over to do the same thing for the cows.

"We take a little extra time with them," Dre says of the cows. "It's only right, seeing as how they're gonna be our dinner and all."

Not one of them can remember a time they left the grocery store with meat.

"I mean, think about it -- do you know how the last cow that you ate was raised? Probably not, but we do. I won't lie. It was a little weird at first," D says.

The twins estimate they were about 11 when their father finally broke the news to them that their dinner had been in the pen the day before.

Following the feeding of the horses and the cows, Dre speeds past in the green tractor, carrying a haystack on the lift that's three times his size.

They finish up their morning chores by making their way past another group of cows who share an enclosed area with a donkey who is dying for some attention.

He runs to the gate and yelps. DJ shakes his head and continues past. Unhappy with the lack of attention, the donkey tries the yelp on D, this time louder.

"He's such an attention freak," D says. "He knows we're going over to the horses, and when he sees us giving them all of the attention, he yelps because he thinks he's a horse, too. See, we've even got to deal with personalities. This is hard work."

The boys get an allowance for doing their chores, and DJ needs his. He crashed his cherry-red limited edition 1997 NSX Acura just months after getting it while trying to play out a scene from one of his favorite movies.

"You know that movie 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift'? Well, uh, yeah, I tried to drift here on the farm. But I hit a tree," he says. "I thought my dad was gonna get me, but he just told me I'd be paying every penny to get it fixed. Hey, that's better than him really getting me."

Sometimes the boys aren't as lucky. Sometimes Brown-Brown, Jones' paddle of choice, enforces the punishment.

Like the time Dre was 13 and got so mad during a basketball game that he shoved an opposing player in midair, prompting a flagrant foul.

[+] EnlargeJones Farm
Jason Jordan The horses are among a wide variety of animals that reside at the Jones' farm.

"I could've really hurt that kid," Dre says. "I got home and went right to bed. Then I woke up in the middle of the night, and my dad was standing there with Brown-Brown. He said, 'Pull those pants down!' Yeah, he gave me that old-school whippin!"

Adds Jones: "Hey, you spare the rod and you spoil the child. The Bible says that, and we live on God's word."

No matter how painful.

Practice and reflection

Dre and DJ square off for an impromptu slapbox bout in front of the large mirror in the dance studio off to the side of the kitchen, while D scurries around trying to get the sound system just right.

Dre's hands are quick like his father's. DJ takes as many chances, the last of which costs him a slap on the left cheek.

"Ooh! That was a good one," DJ says before getting caught with another jab.

Suddenly, the music starts, and immediately, they join D in running through the routine.

Their dance moves are crisp; the lyrics are positive.

They released their first album, "Boys Will Be Boys," in June 2006 and have toured with everyone from Bow Wow to B5, which has helped them perfect their performance skills.

It's obvious Dre and DJ are having the most fun. D, who also sings hooks for the group, seems to be the most intense. In between routines, D gives direction, and Dre and DJ listen.

"We could do that better," D says as the boys walk through the kitchen and rest on the tan leather couches in the den.

Dre and DJ agree with head nods before flipping through the channels.

A commercial for Jones' reality show "24/7" on HBO flashes on the TV, prompting the boys to reminisce about how they dealt with Jones' losses in the past.

Dre will admit this much: When Antonio Tarver's overhand left knocked out his dad early in the second round on May 15, 2004, he was more "shocked than anything."

But that's all he'll admit.

"I mean, that was a lucky punch," Dre says as he recounts his dad's more challenging moments. "That's all, but the one that got to us was Glen Johnson. We didn't know how to react to that one, so we were just mad."

On Sept. 25, 2004, just 49 seconds into the ninth round, Johnson's right cross, which sent Jones crashing violently to the canvas, ignited a chain reaction, as the boys tell it.

First, Dre leapt from his ringside seat in a rage, fussing and kicking his chair. Then DJ followed suit when he heard rapper Ice-T express admiration for Johnson's punch, and D, unable to cope with seeing Jones on his back lying still, fainted onto the lap of his mother, Chauntey Harvey.

"I just remember seeing his eyes roll back," D says. "That was too much."

More recently, on Nov. 8, Jones dropped that unanimous decision to the popular and undefeated Welshman Joe Calzaghe, putting a damper on an otherwise emotional high of a night.

The group had played on its biggest stage -- Madison Square Garden -- delivering a flawless tribute to Michael Jackson and throwback groups like New Edition while intertwining 3D originals, but the nightcap was a major disappointment.

Their heads hung low, their spirits crushed, their hero defeated.

But Jones saw a golden opportunity: another chance to teach the boys a life lesson, this time minus the hogs and horses.

"I know it's rough for them to see me like that, but everything's a teaching tool," Jones says. "Take that last fight. I had to deal with adversity because they couldn't stop the bleeding over my eye. You know, if you're losing blood, it makes you weak, but I still had to go. My part still has to be upheld, and part of what makes me go on is me knowing I've got three boys out there looking at me. That teaches them to persevere no matter what. I got more of a thrill that they were able to perform at the Garden. I thank God for that."

Says D: "I just think that we've got a foundation that most people in this business don't have. No matter what we do in life, we have the tools to be successful. It's true -- some things you can only learn on a farm."

Jason Jordan writes for ESPNRISE.com and ESPN The Magazine.

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