What's The End Game For Roy Jones, Jr?

03.04.09 - By Doveed Linder: After his recent TKO victory over Omar Sheika, Roy Jones, Jr. (53-5) has made it clear that his intentions are to move forward with his career and go after some big fights. One might wonder why Roy wants to continue fighting at this point, given the fact that he has made a considerable amount of money and cemented his legacy as one of the best fighters of his era.

With the exception of a disqualification loss to Montell Griffin which was avenged via 1st round KO, Roy Jones' Hall of Fame career had not a single blemish until he faced Antonio Tarver for the first time in 2003.. In this fight, Roy had just come down to light heavyweight after defeating John Ruiz to win the WBA heavyweight championship. This loss of weight undoubtedly took a toll on Roy, as he looked pale and unhealthy before the fight. During the fight, Roy spent a lot of time on the ropes, took punishment that he had never taken before, and didn't look as sharp and fresh as he had in previous fights at light heavyweight. Nevertheless, he pulled through and managed to win a decision.

Since this fight was more competitive than previous Roy Jones fights, it seemed a rematch was in order. Many thought that Roy had a bad night and that he would win the fight much easier this time around. But to the surprise of the boxing world, Antonio Tarver avenged his loss with a 2nd round TKO.

After that fight, Roy has experienced a series of ups and downs. In his first fight back, he suffered a 9th round KO at the hands of Glen Johnson. He then took some time off and returned a year later to face Antonio Tarver for a third time. He lost a decision, but was still determined to keep fighting. Back to the drawing board, he fought and beat Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw on points. The following year, Roy took on former three-division champion Felix Trinidad. He won a decision against the Puerto Rican superstar and managed to drop him a couple of times along the way.

Having defeated Trinidad, Roy was now in a position to challenge Joe Calzaghe, who was considered one of the best fighters in the world. A win over Calzaghe would have surely brought Roy back to the top of the game, where he has been for the majority of his career. However, things didn't go Roy's way, as he was dominated throughout the fight and suffered a nasty cut above his eye.

Now that Roy has defeated Omar Sheika, he vows to move forward to bigger and better things. Having won titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions, it's hard to imagine what Roy could do to add to an amazing career that will undoubtedly put him in the Hall of Fame.

The fact of the matter is that boxing is a very addictive sport. It's not uncommon that a boxer continues fighting well past his prime. Boxing becomes such a way of life that the very idea of retirement is inconceivable. When a fighter wins, he wants to keep on winning to add to the euphoria that comes with a victory inside the ring. When he loses, he wants to get back in there and redeem himself, so he can leave the game on a more positive note. In the case of Roy Jones, it's hard to say what he's after. Perhaps he just enjoys doing it. But one can only hope that he walks away from the game before any more damage is inflicted upon him.

It's fair to say that when Roy made the move down to light heavyweight, he was no longer in his prime. One can make a strong argument that a prime Roy Jones would have done much better, and very likely would have beaten, Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. One could also make a strong argument that a prime Roy Jones would have a better than 50-50 chance of beating Joe Calzaghe. Most every boxing fan around will say that Roy was not at his best when he fought those fights.

However, Roy did prove a thing or two with the fights that came during the decline of his career. When Roy was on top of his game and disposing of fighters left and right without getting so much as a scratch, one never knew how he would react to adversity. In his first fight with Antonio Tarver, Roy showed tremendous resolve. He didn't have much in the tank, but he dug down deep and pulled through and won the fight. And the fight against Joe Calzaghe was an unbelievable display of guts. He was clearly out-gunned and bleeding badly, but he kept his composure, he never stopped trying, and he made it to the finish line.

So when you put Roy Jones' career into perspective, you have a fighter with phenomenal athletic ability who reached the status of being the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. And on top of it all, he had the heart of a lion and always gave it 100%. You just can't ask for more than that. At this point in his career, there's nothing he can do to add or detract from his accomplishments. So if he does continue fighting, one has to wonder what his end game might be.

Article posted on 04.04.2009

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