By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO

To those who know the boxing scene in the DMV, Henry “Discombobulating” Jones is a man who needs no introduction.  However, if Jones needs someone to introduce him, he’s probably the best man for the job.

DMV local ring announcer, Henry “Discombobulating” Jones . (Courtesy Photo)

For more than 30 years Jones has been a local ring announcer and quasi-promoter.  He sells fights with a mic in hand and by word of mouth.  Whether captivating audiences by announcing the credentials of a journeyman fighter who has no chance of winning, or convincing scores of fans in the community to buy tickets, Jones’s commitment to local boxing is second to none.

As he continues to wait for the shot to introduce a main event fight on national television from D.C., Jones has teamed with former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to promote a fight card at Bowie State.  The Shaw University alumnus hopes his acumen will help this event serve as a stage for local boxing promoters looking to break into the game while helping a new generation of champions from the DMV start their careers.

“My alma mater gave Holyfield an honorary doctorate so I’m glad he would see the importance of staging an event like this on an HBCU campus,” Jones tells the AFRO. “This could be a seminal moment for Black College sports.”

Holyfield is now venturing into the world where former champions with brand recognition use their names to recruit talent and promote events. His Real Deal Management has teamed with Baltimore based Shabazz Brothers to produce a fight card featuring talent from both sides of the parkway.

The main event at Bowie State’s A.C. Jordan Arena, home of the Bulldogs basketball teams, features a local boxer who is putting a corporate career on hold to fight at his alma mater.  Junior welterweight prospect Greg Outlaw (5-0 2 KOs), a 2016 graduate with a degree in sports management, is the headliner.

“I’m super excited to fight at my alma mater, Bowie State University.” Outlaw told “It’s only right that I put on a show for my fellow Bulldogs and my surrounding community.”

Grooming and promoting new talent has become lucrative for many retired champions and those in the twilight of their careers.  Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s TMT Management Team propelled him to a $300 million payday for his crossover bout with Connor McGregor in 2017. Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Productions is an industry leader in fight promotions who has broken new ground especially for Hispanic boxers.  Eight time world champion Roy Jones, Jr. remains a part of Baltimore prospect Malik Hawkins team also.

Jones understands first-hand how denial of access can impact a career. He’s learned to take professional blows with a chin of stone despite never being able to the get the one break he covets.  His passion these days is to see a Black ring announcer step inside the ropes and pronounce “It’s showtime” before the boxers get ready to rumble in a world championship fight.

Bowie State sports management students will also play a key role in the operations of the event. This unprecedented on campus work experience gives them a chance to work behind the scenes as the DMV continues hosting fight cards like this, especially when the new sports and entertainment complex opens in Southeast, D.C.