Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Jan 21, 2011
In Living Color—Venroy “So Special” July

In Living Color—Venroy “So Special” July

The Mouthpiece
By: George Hanson Jr., Esq.

Moniker: So Special
Birthplace: St. Catherine, Jamaica
Birth date: 2/24/83
Home: Suitland, MD
Weight: 195 lbs
Height: 6 feet 1 inch
Stance: Southpaw
Trainer: Adrian Davis
Manager: Self-managed
Promoter: Unsigned
Professional Record: 5 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 2 kos
Day Job: Corporate Attorney

Remember Keenen Ivory Wayans’ mega-hit comedy television series In Living Color? It perpetuated the stereotype that all Jamaicans work multiple jobs simultaneously. Some deem this belief a stereotype, but it has always been my reality growing up on the Island and being constantly reminded that “a rat should have more than one hole.” I don’t know where to begin the story of Renaissance man, Venroy July — former collegiate wrestler, corporate attorney and professional boxer. It’s obvious that we both received the same message.

Venroy July

Venroy July

During the day July, an associate in a major Washington, D.C. law firm’s Corporate & Finance Practice, handles transactional matters for the firm’s clients. He represents both private equity funds and publicly traded real estate investment trusts in a host of transactions, including project acquisition, sale, and financing. In the afternoons, he can be found at the Round 1 Boxing Gym in Washington, D.C., honing his skills as a pugilist for pay under the watchful eyes of trainer Adrian Davis—the same man who guided William Joppy to the middleweight title.

His trek from St. Catherine, Jamaica has been quite remarkable, or as some would say, So Special. Let me begin by telling you a story about two young men, two years and 20 miles apart—strangers, yet yoked by something So Special.

In 2008 David Constantine Brooks, resident of an area called Cuba in the heart of the Cassava Piece Community in Kingston, Jamaica released a gritty, catchy single paying homage to himself, his past and the future. The song So Special speaks to the heart and souls of anyone who has ever lived under difficult circumstances and has been able to persevere. Brooks is known world-wide by his moniker or stage-name, Mavado—the Gully God. His usage of symbolism and double entendre seeps into your brain conveying messages of survival, success and optimism.

While a young Brooks was honing his craft as a lyrical griot in Cassava Piece less than 20 miles away in Bridgeport, St. Catherine Venroy July was having the time of his life with his parents, Venry and Dotlin, older sister Denise and younger brother Dwayne. Education was the mantra in the July household, since mom Dotlin was a school teacher and Venry was an accountant at the Jamaica Coffee Board. However, whenever lessons were completed it was Venry who found himself outside engaging his eldest son and his friends in footraces in the neighborhood—oftentimes winning.

As fate would have it, Brooks pursued his craft and reached international acclaim, losing out to Sean Paul for the 2009 Best Reggae Artist at the Soul Train Music Awards. Ironically, in the same year, Venroy July joined the punch-for-pay- ranks making his entrance in glorious fashion—speakers blaring a recording of Brooks/Mavado’s So Special and eventually winning a four-round decision over Melvin Miller. If Dotlin and Venry were lyricists they probably would have penned So Special as a descriptive ode to their precocious children, especially Venroy.

Like so many Jamaican families the Julys fully migrated in 1994 when Venry and his two boys joined Dotlin and Denise in Bronx, New York. It is oftentimes difficult for an entire family to relocate, therefore, members arrive at different times. Denise, eight and nine years older than her brothers Venroy and Dwayne, respectively, came with her mother a year earlier.

The Bronx was a far cry from the nurturing community of Bridgeport and the July children spent most of their time indoors studying and reading after school. No surprise when Venroy received a scholarship to the prestigious Taft School—a private co-educational, preparatory boarding high school in Watertown, Connecticut. At Taft he excelled both academically and athletically, being a fixture on the Honor Roll and captaining the track and field, wrestling and football teams in his senior year. In addition, July was the New England State Champion in wrestling and the 200-meter track and field event.

Michael Jordan’s alma-mater, the University of North Carolina, soon came calling and awarded July a full academic scholarship upon graduation. Steeped in the history of the great Paul Robeson — whom he lists as the person he admires the most—July joined the wrestling team while balancing his academic studies by staying on the Dean’s List. Upon graduation in 2004, with a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Economics, July followed in Robeson’s footsteps by moving on to law school, except July attended Duke instead of Rutgers.

July’s introduction to the sweet science came during the summer of 2005, the completion of his first year of law school. While a summer associate, a partner at the law firm, who cardio-boxed to stay in shape invited him to the boxing gym. July loved the competitiveness of the sport and was hooked. Upon graduation in 2007, July began his career as an attorney at the firm and resumed his affair with boxing by joining Keely’s Youth & Boxing Center in Washington, D.C. He would stay there for four amateur fights before landing at Round 1 with Adrian Davis. In his 9th amateur fight, July won the Washington, D.C. Novice Golden Gloves Championship and decided it was time to turn professional.

Humble, brutally honest and blunt, July understands that he is learning on the job. He describes himself as a “boxer puncher” and revels in the accomplishments of Muhammad Ali and Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, his two favorite boxers. Like Hearns, his game plan is unabashed aggression in trying to separate opponents from their senses.

Rivaling his love of boxing is his passion for reggae music. It is understandable that July has love and admiration for the great Bob Marley. However, Mavado heads the list of his favorite reggae artists. Therefore, fans know that July is about to make his ring walk when they hear the chorus:

I’m so special, I’m so special, so special, so special
Dats why mi strap wid mi 45 special…….

The July family has made its mark on America. The only difference is Dotlin is now an administrator at a healthcare facility and daughter Denise, now 35 years-old, has followed in her father’s footsteps and is an accountant. Dwayne, the youngest, at 26-years-old is a personal trainer. I only hope that this story ends with July taking a page out of Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s book. On May 2, 2010 Mayweather strolled out to meet “Sugar” Shane Mosley, who was already waiting in the ring along with his handlers, and the O’Jays standing not too far away singing For the Love of Money. July’s goal is to win the cruiserweight world title and maybe on that appointed night he will finally meet David Constantine Brooks. Dreadlocks flying, mike in hand rocking to the beat, Mavado will be in the ring spitting the lyrics to the gritty track as July makes his ring walk. Now that would be So Special.

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!

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About George Hanson., Jr Esq.

George Hanson., Jr Esq. has written 106 post in this blog.

Hailing from New Forest, Jamaica, Hanson started boxing as a teenager in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former welterweight contender, Dick Turner. He excelled, capturing four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships—his last while a junior at Drexel University studying Accounting. According to most who have seen Hanson fight, “He is the best fighter never to have turned professional.”

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