Sharkie's Machine: Thoughts on Roy Jones Jr.

roy jones jr.By Frank Gonzalez Jr. July 15th, 2007 - Its not that surprising that nobody cared much about the return of Roy Jones Jr. (51-4-0, 38 KO’s) and his fight against Anthony Hanshaw (21-1-1, 14 KO’s) that aired on PPV Saturday night, the same night HBO delighted fans with a -triple header of exciting and defining match ups.

I read a few articles about Jones vs. Hanshaw on the only real place for boxing news—the Internet. What really closed the door of interest about the Jones fight Saturday was that it was on Pay-Per-View. Why on Earth would anyone pay to see Roy Jones Jr. in a potentially boring fight, when they could catch three great fights for the price of subscription to HBO on cable TV?

Even though the venue where Jones vs. Hanshaw took place was crowded, I figure most fight fans didn’t see it, knowing that it would be re-aired next week. Most fight fans were revved up to watch Margarito Williams, Gatti Gomez and Cintron Matthysse.

According to what I read, it was a competitive fight. Hanshaw opened the first round with a can of asswhoop to win the first round but that Jones was able to outbox him most of the fight. Jones knocked Hanshaw down in the 11th round, but instead of going for the kill, he let up and coasted to a Decision victory.

After the fight, Jones said he just felt he needed the rounds. That is questionable but understandable. Had the fight been on regular cable, most fans would’ve at least taped it and watched it after HBO’s triple-header. While Jones won the fight in his return to the ring, hardly anyone got to see it, mostly because it was on PPV.

There was a time when Roy Jones Jr. was electrifying. When he beat James Toney in 1994, putting Toney down in the third, then out boxing him to the point of humiliation throughout, I was amazed. His reflexes and unorthodox style was almost like kung fu with just the hands. I couldn’t wait to see him fight again. But after a while, I noticed that he was becoming the King of the Bees instead of the best fighter fighting and beating the best fighters. Most of his opponents since 1997 were B class fighters and yes, that includes John Ruiz, who is arguably the most B Class HW champion we’ve ever known.

Yeah, he knocked out Virgil Hill with a body shot in 1998 but he absolutely refused to fight Hopkins or Toney again using contract negotiations to kill it. He also refused to go to Germany to fight Dariusz Michalczewski, unless he’d be paid the ridiculous sum of 25 million. Jones used the negotiation process to insure that certain dangerous fights never happened. He said he’d fight the winner of Trinidad vs. Hopkins but when Hopkins won, he used the negotiation process to insure that Hopkins wouldn’t fight him. For a man who was being touted as the best pound for pound fighter in all boxing, Roy was reluctant to ever prove it against credible opponents.

Roy did what he pleased in the boxing world. It felt like he had connections with endless pull (see HBO). His mandatory opponents always looked like made to order tomato cans that were slow, awkward and not known for having much pop in their punch. There was often the feeling that there were bigger fish for Jones to fry but Jones made it clear that anyone who wanted to fight him had to earn the number one spot and take way less money than him. When he fought Glen Kelley of Australia—that was it for me. Like many fans, I was sick of Jones fighting guys who weren’t top-notch fighters. How could you be the greatest if you always fought the so-so guys? And all his fights were on PPV. Jones ego got bigger than anyone he ever fought, even James Toney. It felt like Jones was scamming the public and being paid big money to fight little names.

Finally, in November of 2003, he fought Antonio Tarver, a man who had been calling Jones out for a long, long time. It was a close fight and I thought Tarver won but the Judges gave the decision to Jones. There were a lot of fans that thought Roy got a gift and wanted to see a rematch. To my shock, a rematch was made six months later in May of 2004 and Tarver knocked Jones
out cold in the second round with a counter punch that Jones never saw coming. The way Jones went down was chilling. Looked like his jaw had not been tested in such a long time that Tarver’s punch was like a bull in the China closet. After that fight, Jones stock plummeted.

Four months later, in September of 2004, Jones picked an opponent to redeem himself with in Glenn Johnson. Johnson was able to control the fight with aggressive pressure and knocking Jones out cold in the ninth round. Questions about Jones chin had been answered.

Thirteen months later, Jones got real brave and fought a rubber match with Antonio Tarver but lost a 12 round decision in what might’ve been candidate for the boringest fight of the decade.

No longer considered best Pound for Pound fighter. No longer much considered at all, Jones continued on, fighting Prince Badi Ajamu in July of 2006, winning a Unanimous Decision. Last Saturday night, a year later, Jones fights up and coming Anthony Hanshaw and wins another UD. Jones has been disappearing as subtly as he ever appeared.

There is one fight I’d like to see Roy Jones Jr. take before he retires—and that is against Bernard Hopkins. If he were to beat B-Hop after all he’s been through and after all Bernard has accomplished in his own right, Jones will have some redemption that will be meaningful. Of course that fight would be on PPV and that…would be understandable.

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Article posted on 16.07.2007

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