Roy Jones: An Examination Of His Career And His Legacy

roy jones jr.11.03.07 - By William Pinkard II: Have you ever had that feeling when time and time again upon visiting a Boxing chat room and people are posting that certain fighters are the greatest, hearing that they were sooooooooo good, they beat this many title holders, etc. etc etc. ??????? However, when you dig deep into their resume you see truths that fans refuse to admit or accept! Roy Jones is the perfect example of this issue.

There is no doubt about the skills he possessed. Anyone who can doubt the amazing offensive skills he had is blind. He had probably the fastest hands of all time. In fact, I believe at Middleweight his hands were faster throwing a single counter, or a one-two, than Sugar Ray Leonard’s were at welterweight. This is amazing because Sugar in the late 1970’s and early 80’s was the epitome of speed in the ring.. In his two biggest fights, he clearly outclassed his opposition. Bernard Hopkins, who is a very good fighter, not a great fighter, but a very good fighter, was neutralized by Roy’s speed. Hopkins never was able to get off. James Toney, who may or may not have entered the ring weakened, clearly was outclassed. Roy won every single round, and displayed boxing skills in that fight that was flat out scary. However, that is where the buck stopped, in 1994.

Since that fight Roy, has fought the weakest group of champions, police officers, teachers, part time fighters, etc that a fighter claiming to be an all time great has ever fought. Was Roy dominant in these fights? Yes he was. However, shouldn’t he have been dominant? If Michael Jordan and the Bulls became the champions in 1991 then instead of playing the best team in the West each year, they played an average team, and gave us many excuses why they did not play the current western conference champion, would we consider them a all time great team? This is exactly what Roy Jones did.

During his hey day, he was dominant versus in Floyd Mayweather’s terms, “C” class fighters. Yes they were ex champions, or some current champions, but none of them, not one single fighter was great at the time Roy fought them or since 1994 non-were very good. Not one was a legitimate threat. This was not because Roy was so good, but simply because the fighters he faced were not that good.

Lets examine. Virgil Hill had recently been beaten by a very old and above his best weight class Tommy Hearn’s & Dariusz Michalczewski…..hmmmmm. Mike McCallum was very old…hmmmmm. John Ruiz, this is the funniest of them all, was a handpicked safe opponent whom Roy and all his handlers knew had a history of very very low punch output and did not pressure fighters. More so he grabbed and held. Just look at his fights with a 40 year old Holyfield. Therefore the gifted Roy had a very good shot to beat Ruiz, if he simply stayed off the ropes and kept the fight in the middle of the ring. Against Ruiz, this was not a very hard thing to do. Pazienza just had serious neck surgery and moved up to face Roy. Who else, Griffin…hmmm I hope no one is calling him great. Tate, Telesco, Harding, etc… Wow!! Need I mention the other bums he faced?

Now every fighter has their list of bums that they face, but Roy’s list lasted from 1994 till now. Tarver was a nobody until he faced Roy. Tarver was not a up and coming young fighter that simply was too young for Roy, he simply was not scared of Roy, and had a style and a punch that could cause damage to Roy. Roy did not want to fight Tarver, however Tarver called out Roy at his press conference and thus forced Roy to fight him. All Roy fans….pay close attention. Roy has always been the cocky, rapping, “Ya’ll must of forgot” , fighter that when he faced C class fighters he knew he could play basketball the day of, and still have very little threat of being hurt inside the ring against the level of opposition he faced. However when he faced Tarver, you saw all the confidence, the swagger, the bravado go right down the drain. Hmmm I had him winning the first fight, only because Tarver gave away rounds 3-7, by not being active. In fact in the 11th round, I saw Roy finally fight! The 2nd fight was a different story. You could tell from the interviews prior to the fight who was the more confident fighter. Glendale Johnson was a journeyman, who put punches together. Since 1994, had Roy fought any fighter that put punches together? Hmmmm. You saw what happens when you meet a fighter with a style that forces you to dig deep. Roy either could not dig deep, or didn’t want to, but in the Johnson fight, and the Tarver fight #3, he flat out stunk. Did not even try to win.

Roy’s skills have slipped a bit. Please fight fans do not get excited by his fighting the likes of Prince Badi. Remember styles make fights. Prince Badi, had a style much like the previous bums Roy fought since 1994, until Tarver. Come forward throw a couple of punches, can’t get the spacing right to punish Roy while on the ropes, etc….Thus a very safe fight for Roy. Roy was very lucky in his career he did not have to fight a fighter like a Roberto Duran who had the ability to pressure him, counter, and take advantage of Roy’s flaws, such as lunging with his left hook, back straight up into the ropes, hoping to counter with a single left hook or upper cut. Duran at middleweight would have been to small to challenge a Prime Roy, but a fighter who was a natural middleweight with these skills would have stopped Roy at any time in his career based on what I have seen. What would have happened had Roy met Tommy at 154? This is a dream fight, but I have Roy getting ko’d in less than 5. Ray Robinson totally kills Roy. Michael Spinks at light heavy breaks Roy down inside of 5. Roy probably could have beaten Hagler, because as the Duran and Leonard fight’s show, Hagler could not adapt to fighting a fighter with movement, or when he was forced to lead. If Ray after 5 years off, and 2 weight classes higher than his normal weight was able to beat Hagler, then Roy would have made Hagler look very bad. Yes Hagler was older but so was Leonard too, and Leonard was inactive. Roy was faster at middleweight than Leonard was and much stronger. So that is a fight Hagler did not want any part of. However if Roy made a mistake and tried to fight Hagler hmmm. Just to clarify I am not saying Roy was as good a Ray pound per pound, I am saying that at middleweight and after 5 years of relative inactivity, Roy was better than that version of Ray.

One thing for sure though. The Hagler fight would never have happened. Why ????? Because like the Benn fight, the McClellan fight, like a Collins fight, a Eubanks fight, a Nunn fight, a Dariusz Michalczewski fight, none of these fights ever happened. Why? I keep hearing well Roy wanted to fight but none of them would fight him, or they would not agree to the contract. That is garbage. If Roy is so great, he would have found a way to fight some of these fighters. Fighters that had some chance of making the fight interesting. Would Roy have been favored? Yes, but was Roy favored vs. Tarver? Was Mosley favored vs. Forrest? Was Tyson favored vs. Buster Douglas? The great fighters find a way to get in the ring with the best of their generation. Roy did not. The all time great fighters are lucky enough to have other greats to test their abilities against. Roy unfortunately did not have any greats besides Toney to face. Not his fault on that, but as I always say, being a all time great brings into consideration what other all time greats did, and we as fans, experts, writers etc, do not have to anoint a fighter an all-time great simply because he beat the fighters he faced. The question is how do his accomplishments, and the level of his competition compare to the Greb’s, Robinsons, Ali’s, Louis’s, Duran’s, Leonard’s, Armstrong’s, etc. Roy does not belong anywhere near that list.

Sorry Roy fans. Roy was good, great skills, but not no where near an all time great, nor can you consider him a top fighter because he didn’t face the best fighters in his era, he simply avoided them.

Article posted on 11.03.2007

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