Jones vs. Hanshaw: Vulnerability equals excitement

roy jones jr.25.05.07 - By Ted Sares: Former world champion Roy Jones Jr. (50-4, 38 KOs) will go up against unbeaten Anthony Hanshaw (21-0-1, 14 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout on July 14 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi. The name of the event is "He's Baack! Witness The Return Of A King."

To Roy’s credit, Anthony is no easy opponent; he is young, reasonably tough, undefeated and represents a threat. But Roy Jones Jr. is no Jean Paul Mendy. Indeed, aside from Mendy and Rocky Camou, Anthony’s level of opposition leaves something to be desired.

What makes this fight compelling is Roy’s vulnerability. Which Jones’s will we see? The one who was sent to dreamland by Johnson and given some scary moments by Prince Adjamu in the first round of their fight, or the one who was throwing combinations, superb body shots, shooting blistering leads, and using great footwork during the rest of his fight with The Prince?

For those remaining rounds, he showed great bursts of energy that were missing in his prior three fights. He was a Jones I had not seen in years. Tellingly, Prince Badi Ajamu went on to stop tough Craig Cummings, 53-7-1 with 43 KO’s, for the Vacant WBF Light Heavyweight Title and the NBA Light Heavyweight Title this past January.

I suspect it has taken time to restore his health after making a monster mistake by losing almost 25 pounds of muscle after beating heavyweight John Ruiz. Losing fat is one thing; losing critical muscle is another altogether, but my guess is he is no longer a gaunt shell of his former self. At any rate, Hanshaw will be a great measuring stick, maybe his last.

If Roy looks drained coming in, he could be knocked cold and that adds juice to the action. If it is the totally spent Jones who fought Glen Johnson, he will be fighting his last fight ever. The specter of Roy sprawled out unconscious was something simple unimaginable years ago, but that is no longer the case.

However, if Roy comes in looking fresh, fit and ready, we may see more than just flashes of the legend that was Roy Jones Jr., and I will be more than happy to buy PPV to see which one it is.

The future Hall Of Fame inductee asserts he is ready, willing and able to prove that he still has what it takes to be a world champion. Maybe, but I do believe we will see a much better Roy Jones Jr on July 14.

As an interesting aside, if Roy wins impressively and Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver fails to impress against Elvir Muriqi, 34-3 with 21 KO‘s, on June 9, their respective fortunes could do a quick reversal. Who could have suspected that possibility two years ago? Only in boxing.

Article posted on 25.05.2007

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