'Call Em Out Fridays': Roy Jones Jr. - Can He Rewrite The Memories?

Roy Jones Jr.11.07.08 - By Vivek Wallace: This weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' session takes a look at a man who stands on the brink of doing something that few others in the sport have been fortunate enough to do. That near impossible feat is redefine a legacy gone bad, and the man with the golden opportunity is none other than Mr. Roy Jones Jr.

Like any other Friday call out session, we take a look at a perspective presented by those that support the individual, we take a look at the perspective of those who no longer see an upside perspective to support, and after a bottomline analysis representing my perspective, we go to the readers who are always open to providing their own perspective. For any first time readers of the weekly 'Call Out' session, the only request is that you attempt to see the big picture by analyzing both arguments before forming your own perpective..

Roy Jones Jr. - (The Fan Supportive Perspective): Years before we saw the maturation and development of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the fighter most referred to as 'Superman', Roy Jones Jr. was by far heads and shoulders above any competitor in the sport from a pure talent standpoint. Ever since his shocking loss in the Seoul, Korea Olympics - which was clearly an aberration - there would be no stopping Jones who would eventually work his way up to 5 World Titles in 4 weight divisions. After piling up a string of victories over highly notable figures such as Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, James "Lights Out" Toney, and many others, Jones would step up to the heavyweight ranks and do something that hadn't been done in over 100 years; which was win the Heavyweight strap (from Puerto Rican John Ruiz) as a former Middleweight champion. It was all made possible by a pure crescendo of unrelenting talent. Quick hands, quick feet, cat-like reflexes, power in both hands, and any other asset known to man as it relates to a boxer. Of all the great assets Jones possessed, the most prominent thing was that which all the great ones in the sport embodied; that being the ability to out execute the opponent on any given night. The thing that made Roy Jones Jr. so great was the fact that not only did he out execute them, but he did it in a very entertaining fashion. Two examples immediately come to mind. One was when the legendary James Toney attempted to mimic a move that Jones did, and as Toney did it, he was drubbed, sending him backwards towards the ropes in what was ruled a knock down. Years later he would face Glen Kelley at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, where he would put both hands behind his back and imitate his notorious fighting cocks, and in the blink of an eye, drill his opponent in a shot that no one saw coming, yet everyone left the arena talking about. Few in the history of the sport have been able to capture the attention of the masses based on pure talent alone, evidenced in one of his patented 8-punch (or often more) combinations, but Jones Jr. was one of the chosen ones. With such a plethora of talent to go by, the notion of him ever losing a round, let alone a fight, was as far-fetched as the proverbial cow that jumped over the moon. Or so we thought......

Roy Jones Jr. - (The Critic Perspective): All good things must come to an end, and when it all boiled down, that list apparently included the great era of one of the sports most elite. After doing the impossible and moving up to the heavyweight ranks where he dethroned John Ruiz, Jones would find himself in one of the toughest fights of his life. To some, it was apparent that the Roy Jones Jr. who stepped in the ring with Antonio Tarver was a bit lethargic and far less energetic than fight fans were used to. With few other options on the plate and none that would amass the type of money a rematch with Tarver would, Jones decided to immediately face Tarver again to prove to the world that he was better than the questionable decision rendered after the initial encounter. Upon getting in the ring to be addressed by referee Jay Nady, many remember the famous incident where Jones and Tarver were asked the routine pre-fight question, "are there any questions"? In what would turn out to be a very ominous moment, Tarver looked Jones in the eye and asked "you got any excuses tonight Roy"? As if to say then was the appropriate time to make any injury or emotional declarations because after the pretty much guaranteed loss, there would be no excuse worthy of an intent to listen. In what would later become a very career humbling moment, Jones Jr. received the first loss of his career, a stunning knockout loss at exactly 1:41 into round two. Prior to this fight, few took note of the fact that trainer Alton Merkerson publically stated that he was concerned because he felt that his fighter was getting hit in camp with shots that don't typically land. Perhaps Merkerson, the only other man to train Jones Jr. aside from his Father, saw a few kinks in the champs armour and decided to be honest enough to voice his findings aloud. Whatever the case was, it was from this precise moment moving forward that Jones Jr was indeed on the receiving end of not only too many shots that had never landed prior, but a few that would ultimately land him back on the side of the everyday fighter, far removed from his glorious dominant days of old. The speed wasn't totally gone, but the lateral movement, the entertainment, and to some degree the overall skill had been suddenly dimished. As if the physical aspect of Jones wasn't torn down enough, the mental aspect had appeared to slowly fade as well, sinking the figher into a depression that would leave most questioning whether he'd even fight again. After suffering another humbling KO loss at the hands of gritty veteran Glencoffe Johnson and another loss to Anotonio Tarver, Jones Jr. would gather himself and set out to right the wrongs of days in the past, and do so with a determination previously unseen. At nearly 40 years old, skeptics openly question the odds of a man his age regaining the youth, stamina, and quite frankly, the skill level he once held.

Roy Jones Jr. - (The Objective Perspective): In order to evolve and/or elevate to a higher state, there must first be a setback, or some type of fall to rise from. Many can remember the lost of Michael Jordan's Father and the role it subsequently took in his life. Those same people can remember the day in which Michael Jordan developed a more balanced attack to nullify the effects of 'father time' who had recently stripped him of his ability to perform those dazzling dunks from a distance. Similarly, it can be argued that Roy Jones Jr. also has seen the mental and physical setbacks that he must now rise from in order to establish (or reestablish) his greatness. At this point in his career, the speed, the reflexes, the stamina may not be there, but a more energy efficient attack that remains sustained could potentially net him the same results. We saw an older George Foreman do it, and we've seen an older Bernard Hopkins do it. It's safe to say that Roy Jones Jr. has more pure talent than each of those fighters, and there's no reason to think that he can't accomplish the same thing or better. I've often said that to some, age is a loss of youthful progression, but to the great ones, age is an acronym, meaning A-Greater-Education. And the knowledge obtained in that greater education allows those great ones to use other means, more economical means, to produce the same heroic results. In the end, the losses to Tarver and Johnson could serve as nothing other than speed bumps along the way in a long journey. Roy has taken those losses and learned from them. After a series of fights in which he gradually stepped up his level of opposition in each fight, he has now appeared to have redeveloped his former confidence and set his sight on some huge things to come. Many have written him off and labled him a shopworn fighter, but if Jones can find a way to overcome any current weaknesses for one evening - (which at this point is all it will take) - instantly he becomes the toast of the sport by accomplishing something that no other man in the sport has; which is defeat Joe Calzaghe. No one knows whether Jones will tap into that greatness we've all come to know him by, or simply succumb once again to the pressure. But what we do know is that he's been too good of a fighter to not find a curious interest in watching to see. Come September 20th, Jones may once again be relevant, but hit or miss, there's no way his greatness can ever be downplayed. September 20th, whatever the final culmination will be, we can all look back and say it was one helluva journey. And so now we wait......and until see for ourselves, the debate continues. Can he, will he, or won't he?

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Article posted on 12.07.2008

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