Boxing

Super Man Is Dead: Johnson KO’s Jones in 9!

27.09.04 – By Lee Hayes: Tonight, Roy Jones Jr. may have stepped in to the ring for the last time, the end of a stellar career. Being KO’d by rugged journeyman Glencoffe Johnson will most likely be the end of the line for Jones, who by his own admission has lost interest in the sport in the growing years.

Several factors probably played a part in the loss. Certainly, had this been even 3 years ago, Jones would have destroyed the likes of Johnson. Who is a very likable chap, but whom nobody would place in their top 10 pound for pound ratings. Yet Johnson, wisely, rushed right at Roy and pinned him on the ropes, very similarly to the strategy that Antonio Tarver applied to Jones Jr. on November 8th, 2003. One noticeable difference however, after the second round, Johnson began taking a step back and throwing his punches in a much straighter fashion, thus increasing his accuracy and the effectiveness of his blows. Roy’s trainer probably summed it up best, after the fight, when he stated that he’s noticed that with age “Roy gets hit a lot more now”, “he gets hit with shots he didn’t used to when he was younger”, and that, probably more than anything else was the reason for the conclusions of his last two fights.

Other factors that may have affected the fight are mostly moot now, since it is doubtful that Roy will ever be able to bring in the size of crowds necessary to pay him the type of money he has demanded over the years. Still, without offering an excuse, it would be negligible not to include mention of the intangibles. Aside from his age, Jones also had the affable feat of overcoming a destructive, quick knockout at the hands of Tarver, the only nemesis of his career. It’s one thing to be knocked out by an opponent and have to launch a comeback, but to be KO’d by an opponent that has so openly, verbally lambasted you as “a coward “, that ducks quality opposition…understandably would make for a monumental task to overcome. Did Tarver ruin Jones Jr.? It’s possible. Psychologically, it had to be devastating to have someone like Tarver come along at the end of Roy’s career, calling him out and being able to back up the charge. Roy’s not used to being treated like a punk. He’s played the role of exposing the fakes and making good fighters look ordinary.

Last week, Roy Jones Jr. was unable to make the HBO telecast of Hopkins vs. DeLaHoya fight, because one of his ranches/homes was ruined by Hurricane Ivan. It destroyed property and indirectly caused the death of his fighting birds. Before the fight, Roy never offered the devastation as an excuse; he simply showed up to fight. Could this have had an effect on his psychological state of mind? Possibly.

Lastly, enough credit has to be given to the Jamaican born, American citizen, Glencoffe Johnson. He is a solid fighter that always comes in shape to box. He’s a true professional that, despite expert opinions, always believes he is in a fight. Johnson is a throw back to the type of fighter that would lay his life on the line to win. He had a game plan that he executed perfectly, and he had more power, speed and stamina than Jones. He also was clearly the stronger man when it came to clinches and physical play. With this added boost of confidence, Glen may be able to make a serious mark on the light heavyweight division, assuming he can stay away from Tarver. If he does, there is no reason to believe that he won’t have a nice stay at the top. He deserves it.

In summary, I would like to add my personal feelings about this fight and the current state of the game in boxing. It’s been a couple of shocking weeks for our sport and quite honestly, I can’t recall the last time I was this shocked by more than one fight in a row. I had mentioned to anyone that would listen, as soon as I heard this fight was announced, that Johnson was a bad choice for a comeback opponent for Roy, but then again, if he’s as shot as he appears, he’s done. He should retire. I can’t say enough, how much I wished that Roy had retired immediately after beating John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweights belt. It was the pinnacle of his career and it would have been a perfect way for him to bow out. The Tarver and Johnson -back to back- knockout losses were serious. They weren’t like the body shot that stopped DeLaHoya, or the way we normally see a knockout. Roy hit the canvas hard, and when he went down in tonight’s fight, his head, violently smashed the canvas, not once, but twice. I never in a million years envisioned myself concerned for Roy’s health in the ring. He just never got hit all that much, but tonight, as I saw him lifeless on the canvas, I was concerned. Very concerned. During his career, Roy has been arrogant to the point where he nearly turned me off from watching his fights, but I always respected his skills. Tonight, all of that was gone, and I truly felt bad for the man, and I kept thinking “just stay down Roy, wait for a stretcher”, because we have seen far too many times, a fighter die or suffer serious injury from knockouts less devastating than this one.

As to the state of the game, let’s face it…it’s a mess. The heavyweight division may be the worst of them all, but it is hardly the only weight class that is suffering. Luckily, there appears to be a surge of young Latino fighters at lower weight classes that may help the sport persevere until a few young lions at the heavier weights can emerge. The devastation of the losses that Oscar and Roy have suffered may contribute to a dip in the popularity of the sport, as both “the Golden Boy” and “Super Man Roy Jones” were probably the most talented superstars of our generation. Certainly, outside of the heavyweights, they offered the most money making potential. Still, boxing is the most resilient of sports. It has suffered worse than this and it always survives. There will be other super stars. There will be other great fights, and unfortunately, other ends to great careers. As sad as they are, perhaps we should be glad for all of the moments that Roy has given us over the last decade and a half and be respectful in our farewell to a true ring legend. I know I for one…will.

Article posted on 26.09.2004



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