What is Roy Jones Jr. made of?

24.05.04 - By Jose Sanchez: It has taken 15 yrs, but finally boxing fans will get to see ‘the stuff’ that Roy Jones Jr. is truly made of. At age 35, Jones has suffered the most disastrous loss in his career. He was not only beaten soundly, but also knocked out by his bald nemesis, Antonio Tarver.

In a way, the adversity of his first convincing defeat has set the stage to teach us everything we need to know about Roy, ‘the man’ (as opposed to the boxer). It will tell us how highly we should rank him compared to the other great pugilists of past generations. Some will say that is an unfair comparison. After all, Roy is now 35yrs old, at the twilight of his career. Sure, all of the greats lost…however it was in their primes, when they were still young and brave enough to come back, right? Well not entirely.

Former Light Heavyweight Champ Archie Moore didn’t even win the title until he was 39years old! In large part due to the racism of the days, Archie Moore had to wait 17years for his shot at the same light heavyweight title Roy recently gave up. During those 17years he was pretty much ‘forced’ to fight all the best fighters in the world, including the man many feel is the best light heavyweight in history, Ezzard Charles. Once Archie Moore had captured the title at age 39, he would hold it for 9 more years, finally ending his career at the age of 50 (he fought Cassius Clay when he was 49years old). Archie Moore retired with more knockouts then most fighters have total wins (130).

Would it be fair to rank Roy above Archie if after his first loss he crumbles mentally, and retires into obscurity? What did ‘The Greatest’ Muhamed Ali have to say about defeat?

“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people that believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” (after being upset by Ken Norton)

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra once of power it takes to win when the match is even” (before his fight with George Foreman)

It has been said that a true champion shows us his very best, only at his worst moment. That moment is now for Roy Jones.

Article posted on 24.05.2004

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