When you manage to connect with a passion during your childhood and it occupies such a big place that you begin to build a path to achieve your dreams, there are often figures adopted as referents, as role models. This is what happened with the World Boxing Association international welterweight champion Alberto Palmetta.
After having fought the best fight of his professional career in 2021, when he fought the very tough Colombian Yeis Solano at the historic Madalay in Las Vegas, the Argentinean “Beto” Palmetta set out on a tourist trip to those North American cities unknown to him. This is how, at the invitation of a colleague, he arrived in Pensacola to close the year with another dream fulfilled: in October he made that first fight in Las Vegas and at the end of November he landed in Pensacola to meet his greatest childhood hero, Roy Jones Jr.
“The possibility of being able to talk to a icon like him, an attribute that we can’t give to everyone no matter if they are world champions or not, was incredible. As soon as I saw Roy Jones step into the gym I couldn’t believe it. My body was shaking. I was able to fulfill a huge dream. Also, I felt a great connection in our ways of seeing and thinking about boxing. That filled me with emotion. He left me a lot of messages from his experiences. For example, he told me that it is essential to know what you are doing when you are in the ring, because if you don’t, you will get beaten. He was known for being a showman and developing a lot of feints that made his boxing an attractive performance. But everything he did in the ring was for a reason. Then, when he detected that his opponents were looking to make some kind of feint or gesture for no reason, he would realize that he already had them,” Palmetta emotionally recounted this fragment of a talk with Jones. Something he will never forget.
To think of Roy Jones Jr. is to think of great and exciting moments in the history of boxing. Fast, powerful, efficient, skillful, with impeccable technical finesse, Jones was the protagonist of the best pay-per-view events, facing the best: Vinny Pazienza, James Toney, Jorge Castro, Bernard Hopkins and many other great boxers. This fighter who knew when to put on a show in front of his opponents and show off his sporting skills with the elegance of a fencer, was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter of the 1990s. “He transmitted his wisdom to me, his personality as a champion, his humility, his respect. With great predisposition to dialogue. He is a wise man for me”, said Beto and added another memory he has taken from Pensacola: “we were in his gym watching sparring sessions of his pupils, and my friend, who introduced me to him, asked Roy why he looked at the boys’ feet. He answered that the boxer who doesn’t have legs is out. They are the first defense. Everything is based on them. From then on we had a long talk where I learned a lot. When I shared with him my experience as part of the Argentine National Team, under the command of Cuban trainer Sarbelio Fuentes, he enthusiastically affirmed his opinion regarding the good use of legs in Cuban and Russian boxing”.
Among more many achievements, Jones won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. That memorable and controversial final against South Korea’s Park S-Hun did not prevent him from forging the glorious career that came with the decision to become a professional in 1989. As an amateur he accumulated 134 contests and then, culminated in 2018 with a record of 66 wins with 47 knockouts, 9 defeats and no draws, putting an end to his professional career. But his love for boxing always kept him active: he is to be a trainer and has been invited to participate in the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) in what has been the Men’s World Championship held in October 2021. His new participation in the governing body of amateur boxing is of great value for young people who are going through this formative stage. Jones Jr is an inspiration.
“The gym where he prepares his boxers is inside his home facility. It’s about, maybe ten, acres, and from the moment you walk in, you see animals everywhere that reflect his love for them. I could not believe where I was. Suddenly, in the middle of a deep rapture, I saw a throne that immediately took me to the memory of those videos I always watched of Roy Jones and there you could see those great entrances to the ring with that throne. When I first started in boxing, I would go to my older sister’s house, put on You Tube and type in “boxing videos”, and there he appeared. I didn’t know him, but since then I started watching a thousand of Roy’s fights. That’s when he became my idol. I remember a left cross that Roy used to execute in his fights like jumping forward and he would repeat it 3 or 4 times. That drove me crazy. I started going to the gym and practiced that triple cross on the bag, it was fantastic and I haven’t seen it on anyone else.
From my encounter with Roy Jones, there was only one thing I did not do, and it was sparring with him. I was drooling to make gloves with him”, concluded Palmetta with a smile of a happy child with a new gift in his hands.
On the other hand, the pioneer organization congratulates with great enthusiasm the former champion of 4 weight divisions – middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight – Roy Jones Jr. was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in the category of modern male boxing.