"After the fight, the changing room was packed, full of my friends, including Amanda, Damien, Ollie, Shaun, young Marty, and of course, Big Marty. They were all congratulating me. The changing room was buzzing with excitement when a guy approached me and asked if he could have a quiet word. He said, “Do you know Morrissey?” I said, “Morrissey, the singer from The Smith’s?” He nodded his head and told me Morrissey was outside waiting to meet me, and I asked him to bring Morrissey into the changing room to see me, as this was my night, and this was my moment. I didn’t want to leave the crowd of people. I was revelling in my success amongst my friends. The guy left the changing room, and someone popped open a bottle of champagne. Then the guy appeared again, and standing behind him was Morrissey with a photographer. Morrissey congratulated me, put his arm around me, and the photographer quickly snapped a photo of us. I thought it was weird meeting Morrissey. The introduction to him and his departure had happened so quickly."
"Three weeks after the title fight, I had a phone call from one of Morrissey’s representatives asking if it would be possible for Morrissey to meet me. The meeting occurred at one of my training sites, the Battersea running track. Morrissey and I met up, and I shook his hand, and he congratulated me again on my win. He had just finished recording a song, ‘Boxers’, and wanted to make a video to promote the new song. He asked me if I would be interested in starring in the video. I was excited at the thought and told Morrissey that I was interested in filming the video, I thought it would be good fun, and it might help me to further my career.
After we met at Battersea, Morrissey’s people called me to discuss the details of the film shoot. The video would be filmed in a few weeks at York Hall, Bethnal Green, the historic venue where I had many of my fights and had just won my British title fight. Morrissey’s team asked me to bring a few boxing colleagues with me who would also get involved in the filming. On the day of the filming, we arrived at York Hall and met Morrissey and all his team, including the young actor who played my opponent. The video and song were about a boxer being defeated in his hometown, and I would play the part of the challenger. The actor who played my opponent had never boxed before; he was petrified. I think he was worried that I would batter him. I put him at ease and told him not to worry, saying that we would choreograph the boxing moves safely and he wouldn’t get hurt.
We sat down before the shoot to discuss the technicalities of the filming. I did the boxing choreography and other parts of the video, choreographing the fight scenes, skipping in the ring, and shadowboxing. Morrissey made a cameo appearance in the video. We completed filming the scenes in one day, and I hoped the song and the video would be successful. I thought the filming went well, and the song sounded fantastic. Morrissey’s team organised a big marketing campaign to promote the single ‘Boxers’, which was released in January 1995. They also went on a tour of the same name. The single reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart, despite not featuring on an album at the time of its release. I was proud to feature on the cover of the CD and on a huge backdrop during Morrissey’s ‘Boxers’ tour. I was stopped and asked for my autograph a few times whilst out and about in London, I assumed it was for my boxing fame, but it was due to my appearance on the video ‘Boxers.’ I wanted to be recognised for the years of my hard toil in boxing, and I had done a few hours of work for a video, and I was getting more attention for that. Morrissey still has a cult following and is still performing, and recently he is scheduled to perform as a resident in Las Vegas, USA.
Morrissey has a huge fan base, and he is adored worldwide. A few years after I worked with Morrissey, he appeared in 1995 on the Jules Holland Show. Jules asked him who his favourite boxer was. I felt privileged when he said, ‘Cornelius Carr’. He mentioned me, saying that I was his favourite boxer. He rarely gives interviews, and for him to mention me was truly kind of him. After I filmed the video, Morrissey wrote me a handwritten letter, thanking me for working with him, which I thought was a nice gesture. Sadly, I lost the letter. I have moved homes many times, and I am annoyed with myself that I can’t find it, it was something I treasured."
"That day I spent my time walking, shadowboxing, resting, and mentally preparing myself for the battle ahead. My fight was scheduled for 9.30 that evening at The Point, which was a large venue owned by Bono from the Irish band U2. The previous night Morrissey had performed there to a sell-out crowd, and someone told me he had stayed in Dublin to watch my fight, but I didn’t see him."
"It was a strange coincidence that Jim had sat ringside when I had boxed Steve Collins at The Point a few years previously. I was lucky that Jim offered me a cameo role in the film. I was overjoyed to be a part of the team. As an actor and as a boxing choreographer, I learned a lot from choreographing the Morrissey video, and that experience helped me enormously, and I passed on those skills for ‘The Boxer’ movie."
Culled from the digital version.
The book is worth reading if you like boxing.