"Boxers" video star speaks out - Cornelius Carr's tale of 'more publicity from starring in Morrissey video than winning British title' - Teesside Live


A world champion boxer from Teesside says starring in one of Morrissey's music videos earned him "more publicity than winning the British title".

Grangetowner John 'Cornelius' Carr featured in the indie star's video for his hit single Boxers in 1995, after Morrissey came to see one of his top fights.

Morrissey was a big fan of the boxer's and after the cameo, the WBF super middleweight champion remembers getting asked for his autograph in the street - but it was by Smiths, not sports, fans.

"I fought James Cook at Bethnal Green in London," John told Teesside Live.

"Morrissey was ring-side, but I didn't know he was there.

"I won the British [BBC Super Middleweight] title.

"One of his people came up to me afterwards and said 'do you know Morrissey?'

"I said 'what, out of The Smiths?'

"He said 'yes, he'd like to have a photo with you'."

Morrissey went to meet John at the post-fight party and was "pleasant, very nice" says John.

"A few weeks later they contacted us.

"Morrissey had a big interest in boxing, unbeknown to me."

The Manchester singer predicted John would go far on an episode of Jools Holland in 1992.

When asked who his favourite boxer was, Morrissey replied: "Cornelius Carr, have you heard of him? I think you will do."

"I couldn't believe it," says John.

Morrissey visited John again at Battersea running track during a training session to talk through his ideas.

In the video, filmed at London's York Hall where John won the British title a few months previously, he takes on an actor in the ring - and wins.

"The actor was really nervous because he was going to be fighting me," John recalls, "we did it all in a day."

John is a Super Middleweight Champion
Boxers was released to promote Morrissey's solo tour of the same name and reached number 23 in the UK Singles Chart.

"It's a good song, but it didn't do that well," says John.

"He wouldn't go on Top of the Pops at the time."

John says the appearance was a "great experience" and did help to boost his profile.

"I got more publicity from that than winning the British title.

"I was walking down Oxford Street and someone said 'can I have your autograph? I've seen you in the Morrissey video'."

A twenty-foot picture of John's face was also the backdrop for Morrissey's entire tour, as he discovered afterwards.
At the time, John admits, he wasn't the biggest fan of the young snake-hipped singer's music.

"As I've got older and the years have gone on, some of his songs are really catchy," he says.

"He has a massive cult following, people love him.

"It was great to be asked, it was a good experience.

"He's nice, a genuine guy."

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I thought he just felt Cornelus was cute.
It may be, Moz's predictions for future superstar fighters is about as bad as his choices for future superstar bands. Carr fought at Super Middleweight around the time of Benn, Eubank, Calzaghe and Collins. He was never gonna be in their league.
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