BOOK REVIEW: It’s More Than a Notion

By Tony McClean
Updated: March 27, 2005

BRISTOL, CONNYou may not have personally heard of Henry “Dis-com-bob-u-lating” Jones, but in fact we all know him. He’s someone we can all identify with. A simple man that has overcome tragedies and setbacks to reach his dreams.

A native of Rochester, New York and graduate of Shaw University, Jones is the only prominent African-American ring announcer in the boxing. Jones has been featured on HBO’s KO Nation along with ESPN and ESPN2. But that’s not the entire story.

Jones also serves as a social worker in Washington, D.C. and motivational speaker.

In his autobiography “It’s More Than A Notion”, Jones talks of his New York upbringing, the influence of his beloved mother Maxine, and his career.

Jones has spent time as an actor and stand-up comic before drifting into the fight game. “You see, showbiz has always been in my blood for as long as I could remember,” Jones added.

“But talking into a microphone, for money, about something I knew a lot about, like boxing? With my gift for gab it seemed to be a natural.”

Jones took his nickname from an old phrase popularized by the late Howard Cosell. Talking about a fighter geting a severe beating, Cosell said: “Never have I ever seen a boxer so utterly discombobulated!!”

So inspired, the 14-year-old Jones would later take that as a nickname when he became an announcer.

Jones also overcame a period in his life when he survived a dangerous car accident, beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma and substance abuse, losing his stepfather to a heart attack, one brother to a brain hemorrhage, and another to a shooting in his hometown.

It took Jones nearly six years to put together his incredible story. He credits his late mother for inspiring him to write the book and for giving a sense of guidance as a youngster.

One of his mother’s statements that he still remembers was: “You can’t have a great testimony without going through some great tests.”

Even his book’s title serves as an inspiration for his readers. Jones said he named the book after an idea that anyone can be successful in life, if they realize that not every delay is a denial, and if people try to do the right thing, dreams can come true. This, he says, is more than a notion.

Jones added, “Don’t think for a moment that these stories are just about professional prizefighting. Pro boxing is just used as the metaphor for how very closely our lives parallel that of the fight game. After all, isn’t Life itself one big series of confrontations against something?”

“In reading this book, the hope is that some of you will become inspired enough to win your own particular battle …and even score your own special knockouts along the way.”