So now Roy Jones would beat Bernard Hopkins?

by Geoffrey Ciani - Roy Jones Junior looked absolutely sensational during his impressive victory over Jeff Lacy. Indeed, it was a turn-back-the-clock type of effort for the former pound-for-pound king. Jones was doing everything right, never allowing Lacy much of a chance to get into the fight. He showed tremendous hand speed and was able to put together multiple-punch combinations almost effortlessly. His left hook looked outstanding, and at times he was capable of throwing four, five, and even six consecutive hooks, all of which usually found the mark. Most devastating of all was the left hook to the body which landed frequently and visibly shook Lacy each time it landed..

It was a ‘vintage’ Roy Jones Junior performance. Or was it? In the aftermath of the one-sided beat down administered by Jones, many boxing fans are sold—Roy Jones Junior is back. According to some, he is capable of beating the best and re-solidifying his position as one of the best in the sport. Some fans have even gone so far to suggest that Roy’s recent performance is evidence that he could beat elite fighters like Bernard Hopkins or Chad Dawson. Unfortunately, these fans are delusional in thinking that ‘Roy is back’. Don’t buy it, he isn’t.

Jeff Lacy is nothing more than the latest in a line of carefully selected opponents intended to make Jones look good. There is no doubt that Roy Jones looked impressive against Jeff Lacy, but Lacy fits the mold of fighters who Roy Jones can still feast on, even at his advanced age. That mold largely consists of fighters who have mediocre skills, lack tremendous KO power, and are slow in terms of both hands and feet. These are the fighters Jones excels against during this embarrassing stage of his Hall-of-Fame career. In many ways, the fight against Lacy resembled the farce against Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad—a man who had no business stepping into the ring against anyone at 175 pounds, let alone Roy Jones Junior.

Up next, Jones is rumored to face Australian pugilist Danny Green, who appeared on the under card This contest is rumored to take place on November 21, possibly in Australia (which would be ironic if Jones finally left the States for a fight now, when for all those years, he was never willing to go to Germany to take on Dariusz Michalczewski). Green is another fighter who represents the typical mold of a fighter Jones feasts on, and his fight with Green will probably look a lot like his fight with Lacy. Like Lacy, Green is too slow and lacks the skills to compete with Roy Jones.

So is the hype true? Can Roy Jones really still beat Bernard Hopkins? Absolutely, positively, not!

Sure, he still has good reflexes and blazing hand speed, but that would not help him against an elite fighter like Hopkins. Whenever Jones has stepped it up against elite opposition in recent years, he has been dominated. Hell, even when he has stepped it up against not-so-elite opposition, like Antonio Tarver and Glenn Johnson, he was still beaten and beaten badly. When he tried to face a truly elite fighter like Joe Calzaghe, he was thoroughly outclassed, having lost virtually every round of the contest. He can no longer compete against top level fighters, and he knows it. This is why he continues to feast on mid-level opposition, and in doing so, he is trying to portray the illusion that he is still the same old Roy.

Considering the fact that Roy was once widely viewed as the best boxer in the world, he should be embarrassed for even taking fights against the Jeff Lacys and the Danny Greens of the world. This should not come as a surprise, however. Throughout his career, Jones has always put business before legacy, and in the process, he has cheated the fans, the sport, and himself. Rather than daring to be great and consistently proving his worth against the best available opposition, he preferred taking the easier routes which largely involved minimum risk for maximum gain. I cannot fault him from a business perspective, for he was (and still is) a very shrewd and successful businessman, but from a fan’s point of view, he never became all he could have become and that is a major disappointment. He is perhaps the most athletic and physically gifted fighter to ever step inside the squared circle, but yet, he never tried to prove his greatness on a consistent basis like truly great pugilists from the past.

While Jones is busy pitching a charade to the boxing world, Bernard Hopkins is still fighting elite opposition. In his last three contests, he has faced Winky Wright, Joe Calzaghe, and Kelly Pavlik, all of whom were considered amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport at the time Hopkins faced them. He went 2-1 in those fights, losing only a razor-thin, debatable split decision against Joe Calzaghe. Now, he apparently has his eyes set on the winner of the Glen Johnson versus Chad Dawson rematch. Assuming Dawson will win this fight (as most observers anticipate), Hopkins will once again be taking on an elite pound-for-pound talent, and in the less probable event that Dawson loses, there is still a chance he might take on another elite fighter in the form of cruiserweight champion, Tomasz Adamek. Meanwhile, Jones is preparing to challenge the unheralded Danny Green.

If they fought a rematch now, Hopkins would thoroughly outclass Jones, and Jones knows it. This is way Roy is carefully selecting opponents like Trinidad, Lacy, and now Green. At this stage of his career, Jones would rather avoid meaningful fights against the likes of Adamek, Dawson, or Hopkins—because he knows he would get beat and probably get beat badly. Instead, he prefers virtually meaningless fights against mediocre opposition that poses little challenge to him, even in the twilight of his career.

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Article posted on 20.08.2009

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