Roy Jones Jr: Shattered but Not Broken

25.05.04 - By Luke Dodemaide: For fifteen years Roy Jones Jr. has stood above the boxing world, his aura of invincibility only rivalled by that of the 87’ to 89’ model Mike Tyson. For Roy’s opponents, losing was nothing but a formality. Doesn’t matter if your name’s James Toney or Bernard Hopkins, you don’t beat Roy Jones Jr., simple as that. You can even outweigh the man by thirty pounds, it doesn’t make a difference, he’s still going to beat you. Roy Jones and losing, goes together like hippies and George Bush. Just a pity nobody told Antonio Tarver this.

In the second round of their WBC light heavyweight world championship re-match, Tarver hit ‘Super Man’ Roy Jones with a left hand that blew him onto the canvas, and kept him down for the full ten count, Tarver did this as easily as if Roy Jones, Superman, were a mere mortal.

The shock this punch caused was indescribable; never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined such an astonishing event would take place before my eyes. But on Saturday night, that’s exactly what happened.

When my jaw finally again joined the rest of my face, questions ran through my head like never before ‘Now what?’ I was puzzled ‘Do I still have to die and pay taxes?’.

Not only does the world have a new light heavyweight world champion, but suddenly Roy Jones has lost grasp of his claim of being the number one pound for pound fighter in the world, and his claim as fighter of the era is also up for question.

All legends have found themselves in this position. Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Henry Armstrong, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard all found themselves on the wrong end of a decision or a knockout punch. But all enhanced their legacies after their first major set back, and in some cases, after multiple set backs.

Roy Jones’ second round knockout loss to Tarver on the weekend, wasn’t the preferred result for Roy, obviously, but it does present Jones with the opportunity to rise above this disappointment. Suddenly he is faced with a challenge. Something that has presented itself to all legends, except it seems Jones, until now that is.

Antonio Tarver is the great rival Roy has waited for his whole career, Super Man’s Kryptonite. If Roy Jones runs back to the heavyweight division without a third match with Tarver, a rubber match, it will be a huge disappointment. It will also place an ugly blemish on Roy’s once perfect resume.

Beside that Tarver left hand, Roy’s major problem is age. At 35, does he have the time to restore his now damaged legacy and beat his nemesis Antonio Tarver?

Over the years Jones has lost the power to float on air - a feat he appeared to do in the ring when younger. He is now a stationery target, relying heavily on his reflexes to move his upper body out of the way of punches, and until May 15th this wasn’t a problem.

Roy Jones Jr. may not be the fighter he once was, but he is still up there with the elite.

Is RJJ still a fighter capable of getting in the ring, later this year, and beating Antonio Tarver to become world light heavyweight champion for the fourth time in his illustrious hall of fame career?

That Tarver left hand burnt a hole through Roy’s aura of invincibility, but that hole has exposed an opening he has never seen. He now has the opportunity to get in there and avenge his loss, as perhaps even a slight underdog as, suddenly, the shoe is on the other foot. Roy has made a living out of blasting out non threatening mandatory contenders. Now he has to prove his worth against a man, it appears, may just have his measure.

Roy Jones is faced with a predicament to overcome that can elevate his career to greater heights.

Legends rise with their backs to the wall, let’s see how Roy Jones Jr. responds.

Antonio Tarver – Roy Jones III is a must Roy’s legacy demands it.

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Article posted on 25.05.2004

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