Jones vs. Lebedev: Another knockout loss for Roy?

By Vitali Shaposhnikov: For years, Evander Holyfield has been the household name for grossly unnecessary and in some ways disappointing boxing. His fans have begged for his final and irreversible retirement, as their boxing idol kept fighting battles that tarnished his name. Not only is boxing dangerous at a certain age for every given fighter, but is also degrading to one’s status and legacy.

On May 25, 2011, veteran boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. (54-7-0) will continue his boxing career in Moscow, Russia. Jones will face a thirty one year old Denis Lebedev (21-1-0), who is currently being trained by a hall of famer Kostya Tszyu (31-2-0). (

I feel that for Roy Jones, this fight will feed his addiction for the sport and his unquenchable thirst for the cheering crowd. Beside getting paid and crossing the ring ropes just one more time, this is a bad fight in every respect. His gains, even if victorious, are minimal, while the risk is very real and damaging. His career and name is being pulled under via the same unnecessary and hopeless biological drug of adrenaline and his wide off the mark self image. Just like Evander Holyfield (43-10-2), Roy Jones is not doing himself or his fans any favors taking fights with no clear benefits to him. Since 2008, Jones won two out of his last five fights. Sure his win over Jeff Lacy was impressive and uplifting, but in a way, it may have caused a sense of false future. “I feel really great at this weight and camp couldn’t be going better. I’m looking forward to going to Russia and showing Lebedev and the rest of the world that Roy Jones, Jr. is still making his mark in the boxing world” – Roy Jones Jr., (

Denis Lebedev may have a pretty impressive record, but his boxing resume is a bit green. With no meaningful names, his opponents provide no solidity to his true capabilities. Unfortunately, besides getting a world recognized name on his resume, beating Roy Jones Jr. at this point in time will not tell me much about his potential inside the ring.

What is interesting to me is what, if anything, Kostya Tszyu will do with Lebvedev’s style and boxing strategy. Tszyu was a very good tactician, with impressive patience and ring smarts. It’s exciting to witness what he is like as a trainer, and get a glimpse of what he though of to outsmart and beat a veteran like Roy Jones. Since Lebedev’s boxing style looks unimpressive and sloppy to me, I would not pick him to win even against an older and much less effective Roy Jones. Nonetheless, it’s the Tszyu factor that keep me interested in this fight, impatiently waiting to see what will happen.

If Tszyu is unable to influence Lebedev’s fight, I see Jones taking a win via a very dominant U.D. Older and slower, the current Roy Jones still moves better than Lebedev, with faster hand speed and reflex timing. I see Lebedev missing a lot of attempted power shots, while Jones pecks at him throughout the fight.

But what if we see a new Lebedev enter the ring on May 25 in Moscow? What if the new Lebedev knocks Roy Jones out early in the fight? Will that say something about Jones’s immediate need to leave the sport for good, or will it say something about Lebedev’s new and improved self? This I can’t yet answer.

Article posted on 22.04.2011

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