Roy Jones Junior vs Omar Sheika - Who Wins?

Roy Jones Jr.19.01.09 - by James Slater -- Word is the legend that is Roy Jones Junior will face tough battler Omar Sheika on March 21st, over 12 scheduled rounds at light-heavyweight. The fight will be staged in Roy's hometown of Pensacola, Florida and it will be promoted by Jones' own promotional company. A reasonable enough fight on paper - even though a number of fans wish the once sublime multi-weight champion would call it a day now that he's past his best and has turned 40 - the bout will, of course, be Jones' first since his clear points loss to Joe Calzaghe back in November. What can we expect?

We know what Jones has left; he is still quick, has maintained some useful punching power and he is capable of looking like the Jones of old for short periods of time in a fight. Easier to hit nowadays, and also, for the first time, being prone to cuts, the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer is roughly half the great fighter he once was. But what of Sheika, and can he be expected to defeat even a 50-percent Roy Jones?

Sheika, 31 years of age, enjoyed his best days down at super-middleweight, and in the early-to-mid 2000s. Once a very promising 168-pound prospect, Sheika got as far as challenging the aforementioned Joe Calzaghe for his WBO title. Losing on cuts in 5 rounds back in August 2000, Sheika was furious when the fight was halted. Aside from an upset points loss to another British fighter in Tony Booth two years previously, this was the exciting fighter's first defeat. After the loss to Calzaghe, though he continued to thrill the fans with his all-action style, things went downhill for Sheika.

Three wins against so-so opposition followed, before Omar lost four fights on the bounce (to Thomas Tate, WBC champ Eric Lucas and Scott Pemberton twice) - with two of these losses coming inside the distance. The two fights against Scott Pemberton, in 2003 and 2004, pretty much personified what Sheika is all about - dangerous and courageous, but not quite world championship winning material. Hurting Pemberton early in both slugfests, Sheika soaked up return punishment and was beaten both times - via a debatable split decision if fight one and via a 10th round TKO in the return. It seemed as though the man who was full of heart was destined to be a nearly man.

Moving up to 175, Sheika won a few bouts, before bad luck again visited him down at 168. Being well out-pointed by Jeff Lacy and Markus Beyer in world title bouts, Sheika's loss column now had eight entries. A stoppage win over the ordinary Tiwon Taylor, back up at light-heavyweight, came in September of 2007, and since then Sheika has been inactive. A fight with Elvir Muriqi fell through, and now a rusty Sheika gets the great Jones.

This fight has all the makings of a points win for Jones. Though the rest may actually have benefited Sheika - what with all the hard and damaging fights he's been involved in - but his sharpness cannot possibly be there. Though he was soundly beaten by Calzaghe on Nov. 8th, Jones will have his timing and his sharpness. Sheika is a tough man to take out - with only three of his eight losses being inside schedule - but Jones still has a wicked punch; as Calzaghe found out in the 1st round of their heavily hyped fight.

As a result, a KO win for Jones is possible. This writer picks R.J to pound out a clear-cut points victory, though. What Jones will do, and who he will look to face after the win is something else entirely.

Article posted on 20.01.2009

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