By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing
Hall of Famer Jimmy Lennon Jr. spoke to Peter Maniatis about life during the Coronavirus Pandemic, working as a ring announcer, being the son of famous ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Sr., working in the movies and living close to Michael Buffer.
“A lot of my life revolves around food, whether it’s shopping for food or making food or cleaning up – I love good food and love to cook,” said Lennon. “I am enjoying my family and my two sons also my mother and my wife with us, so we have had a good time. I hope my tuxedo fits me once I get back ( to boxing) and we will see how that goes. It’s been a nice change of pace and I have enjoyed it but I miss boxing so much and I am making the most of my time here.” “ You know I was on the edge of being a bit to busy on the world stage. Especially for the amount of traveling I have been doing so this time has been very nice for me.
“I take every single fight so deeply that I feel my entire career is based on that one performance and I would hate to muck it up and try hard to prepare very well. In those moments it is so exciting there is no place I would rather be in the world than in the center of the ring at that moment. I am very fortunate that I have been a part of so many big fights and I am so excited that when I am through, that I will be sitting down at ringside and watching the fight unfold like so many fans around the world and anxious to hear that first bell and to see what is going to happen.
“I have not only been fortunate to be part of the fights but also television shows and movies like Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal which was a super performance by him and a very nice movie. One of the things I do is I will get a script that tells me what I will say but I will approach the director and say, ‘I will do it any way you want, but this is the way I would do it. I would shift it just a little bit’ and 100% of the time the director will say, ‘Great we want is authentic. Just do yourself.’ The directors have been so very kind and welcoming to me. It’s fun to be in movies but not the most exciting, as there is a lot of waiting around and a lot of early mornings and late nights with not a lot to do. So you make friends and play cards and keep yourself busy.
“As a kid, I grew up going to the fights, and loving boxing and meeting a lot of stars from many years ago, as well as a lot of famous boxers. A lot of celebrities go to the fights. Magic Johnson, the great basketball player has been a longtime acquaintance of mine as well, but I will tell you a story about when I was at a fast-food restaurant years ago. I was eating my chicken and up comes a gentleman and he says ‘Jimmy, I just want to say I am a big fan of yours and wish you the very best and my name is Ed ONeil and I am in this show Married with Children.’ Ed is a terrific actor and an icon of many shows. He is a huge boxing fan. So there are celebrities who like the sport of boxing who I get a chance to see very often.
“My father ( Jimmy Lennon Sr.) would sing Coast to Coast on radio through many years so he was an entertainer by heart and by trade. It was wonderful – I went to the fights a lot and enjoyed sitting ringside at the boxing. I enjoyed going to wrestling as well. We would see our father on TV and we thought everyone’s father was on TV. We would see him announce the fights – maybe we would watch and maybe we wouldn’t.
“A fun thing that would happen when my mother would drop a pot or a pan or a sound of a bell would go off we would break into our Jimmy Lennon imitation routine. ‘Alright fans here we go.’ So it was a fun connection to have with my father. He was a super entertainer and a super man as well.
“When my father was ill, I was living on the property and I got a call to say there was a white limousine at the front of the house and Mike Tyson and Tommy Hearns came to the door so I ran up there. Mike and Tommy were so kind. Mike wanted to talk about the history of boxing (with my father) and he was a big wrestling fan as well. Mike just sat on a stool on the ground looking up to my father calling him ‘Mr. Lennon’ and ‘No Sir/Yes Sir.’ He was so kind. I think it gave dad a number of extra months of life. He was struggling with his health at that time.
“I live I guess, about seven miles away from Michael (Buffer) in Los Angeles and I haven’t seen him once. We see each other at the fights but then again we work different fights except for some of the big ones when we did Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis also Mayweather and Pacquiao and we shared the microphone there. No, I don’t see him but we get along fine. We are colleagues. Our wives have the same first name. Every so often I will get an email from him or I will email him, but that is about it. LA is a big city but we get along fine.”