Jones-Calzaghe Countdown: Roy Jones Jr. - The Man, They Myth, The Truth About Roy.....

roy jones jrBy Vivek Wallace: Despite the huge success and many accolades, there remains a strong contingent who fail to see the true worth of arguably the best talent to cross the pond in the history of the sport, which is why yesterday in our first installment of the countdown to Jones/Calzaghe we took a closer look at "The Truth" behind the 'Pride of Wales', Mr. Joe Calzaghe. In today's segment we take a look at a his opponent, a man who many experts once considered to be the most talented fighter of his generation, arguably one of the most talented fighters in history.

There's an old Japanese proverb - reincarnated recently by the NBA's Dwyane Wade/Converse - which breathes life into the mantra "Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8". Few will ever understand the passion for success in the mind and heart of a warrior but in an era of the sport where fighters are routinely protected to preserve the non-blemished record, these two legends help us understand that without those proverbial 'falls' of the past, we may never have seen their current 'stands' of the present.. For Calzaghe, the defining moment of his career was the 1990 Jr. European Championship hosted in Prague. For Roy Jones Jr., it was his well documented and highly contested loss in the 1988 Seoul, Korea Olympic Games. As we prepare for Saturday's showdown, we realize that Calzaghe has kept true to his vow to "never" lose again, while Jones finds himself needing to 'stand up' once more. Some feel he no longer has it, but as we examine 'The Truth' about Jones Jr., today we'll define the very reasons which highlight why he does.......

THE TRUTH ABOUT ROY JONES JR.: Roy Jones Jr. is a once in a lifetime type athlete. As you scan down the list of boxing greats over time from Marciano to Calderon and a countless amount of others in between, few on that list have possessed more pure talent. Never in the history of the sport have we seen a fighter rip off 10,11,12 punch combinations with ease, topping it of with enough clout to often sit back for a moment to admire his work while those in attendance sat in utter amazement. Recently in HBO's countdown to Jones/Calzaghe many learned of the horrid training that he encountered at the hands of his Father as a child; Everything from a wooden platform with bulging nails above his head as he learned the fundamentals of bobbing-and-weaving, to trailing the young Jones, swatting the back of his legs form a pickup truck as he ran endless miles to boost ring stamina. To many, these conditions were absolutely incomprehensible, but to Jones and his Father (and former trainer), greatness desired left little room for error.

From the moment he stepped in the ring as a professional back in 1989, the mission was not only to be the best, but to actually define the best, creating a bar that few could ever reach in the sport. The speed, reflexes, power and stamina of Jones were so amazing in his early days that he rarely loss multiple rounds on any score card ever recorded. At times his fights appeared so effortless that it actually worked against Jones, leading many to find him boring, due to the fact that his efforts were totally one-dimensional. His rise to stardom saw him enjoy victories over both the legendary Bernard Hopkins and James Toney, arguably the two most intelligent fighters of his era. After soundly defeating the best talent he could find in the middleweight and super middleweight ranks, Jones would continue to rise higher - in weight and accomplishments - by joining the light heavyweight ranks where he would once again clean house. His effort in the light heavyweight ranks were beyond amazing as he eventually grabbed an astonishing 7 world titles simultaneously (WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO, NABF, WBF, AND IBA). To some, many of those titles don't hold much significance, but the bigger picture is that there was simply no belt established that he couldn't walk into a ring on any given night and take at will. And so that's exactly what he did.

After he once again ran out of challenges, he set out to do the impossible by venturing up to the heavyweight ranks where he ultimately accomplished a feat that even by historian accounts was unfathomable. That accomplishment was becoming the first former middleweight title holder to become a heavyweight champion title holder in well over a century. Despite the great heroics involved and the perfection required, it was Jones' next act that stands to define his legacy the most. We often learn in life that everything which goes up must one day come down, and in a true parallel, after seeing himself rise beyond the stars, at the hands of Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, Jones' star would soon come tumbling down to a mere basement level. Few in the sport have ever recovered from such humbling and humiliating defeats, particularly after being viewed as invincible, but in a true testament to his per severance and ability to reinvent himself, here we now stand only days away from an effort that could surpass everything that you just read. The belts, the accolades, and the history broken were all superb accomplishments, but for Roy Jones Jr., re-writing a legacy means far more than all of those things combined. It's typical for the boxing media and fans to ask all the questions when a fight is on the brink, but in a quick role reversal, this defining moment beckons for an answer to a question presented to that same group of people on behalf of our subject. The 'full circle' question posed directly from the mind of Roy Jones Jr.: "After questioning my PAST, will you allow me to now PRESENT my FUTURE"?

As the author I can't respond to his rhetorical question, but here's a quick hint to the nay-sayers......Don't stick around if you're not ready for the answer....Come Sunday Morning he'll make sure you all know! Maybe he was right when he said "Yall Must Have Forgot"!

(Day 4 of the countdown is now in the books. Tomorrow, Day 3 shifts the focus to the 'Left-Hook Lounge', our weekly Mailbag, featuring all questions relative to the pending Jones/Calzaghe showdown).

Remaining countdown schedule as follows:

Wednesday: 'Left-Hook Lounge' Mailbag (All mailbag questions dedicated to the fighters and the fight only)
Thursday: Calzaghe/Jones: Great Ring Moments of Adversity: (A look at ring moments of adversity in the careers of the two legends)
Friday: 'Call Em Out Fridays': Jones/Calzaghe - Two Countries, Two Men, One Legacy Standing In The End
Saturday: Calzaghe/Jones: Fight Strategy, Predictions
Sunday: Calzaghe/Jones: The Aftermath (Fight recap, and a look at where the two men go from here?)

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, or show some love at

Article posted on 05.11.2008

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