Roy Jones Jr. Can't Go Out Like That

16.02.05 - By Darrell La Montre: Roy Jones Jr. (49-3 38 ko’s) is a fistic legend and without a doubt a legitimate lock for the Hall of Fame. Having won titles at 160lbs, 168lbs, 175lbs (Undisputed), and Heavyweight (WBA title), he’s had one of the most amazing careers one can have in boxing, and sports in general. He’s done things in the ring that up to that point had never been done. Who will ever forget him tying own gloves behind his back and dodging two punches thrown by his opponent (Glen Kelly), before firing a hard right hand to the side of his head and knocking him out? That was truly magical. Or the amazing, rapid- fire flurries that he would habitually throw at 160 and 168lbs, often unleashing quadruple left hooks inside of a second!!

When Jones moved up to Heavyweight in 2003 and schooled John Ruiz, I really don’t think he got nearly the credit he deserved. Putting on a virtuoso performance and showing the heart and chin that were in question, Roy hit a career zenith that night. Say what you will about John Ruiz, but with the exception of David Tua, no fighter past or present dominated him in the manner that Jones did ---the same Jones who turned pro at 154lbs!

He could have easily called it a day on that night…but he didn’t. His ego was too great, and when Antonio Tarver (Unified Light Heavyweight Champion at the time) called him out at the post fight press conference, it was on.

After burning around 25 pounds of muscle in eight weeks, an anemic Jones took on Tarver. As we all know, Jones barely escaped with a win on that night, and was subsequently knocked out in the rematch. Call me a Jones nut-hugger, but I truly believe that Jones’ excuses of being weight drained from muscle loss and for not being able to get up for Lightheavyweights anymore were legit. Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. You have amazing skills, speed, athleticism, etc. and have basically gone undefeated for 15 years. Very few fighters can win a round from you, let alone be competitive. You end up moving up a total of 45 lbs above your initial fighting weight in search of greatness and competition, and now you’re back down to fighting the same guys you’ve been beating in your sleep. Wouldn’t you be a tad burned out? Of course, it’s his fault that he either didn’t retire or stay at Heavyweight and fight smaller men for large purses.

When Tarver called him out, he should have told him, “Look, man…if you really want to fight me, move up to Heavyweight like I did and fight me for my WBA title!! You’re 6’2 and walk around over 200lbs…if I can do it, you definitely can”. Tarver would have had nothing to lose and everything to gain, but Jones stupidly moved back down to 175 to fight him, and the rest is history. After being knocked out again by Glen Johnson, and Johnson having beaten Tarver, Jones is faced with a dilemma. Does he retire? Or does he wait out the rematch between Tarver and Johnson and after a tune-up fight the winner? I say he should do the latter. Even though he has absolutely nothing left to prove, a special fighter like him should not end his career on a sour note. That’s exactly what he would be doing if he were to hang the gloves up now. Of course his fight with Johnson was supposed to be “a tune-up”, but again you could tell by his countenance on that night his heart wasn’t in it.

Jones is more of a fighter than people give him credit for. I truly believe that his hunger for redemption is existent. Jones should redeem himself by beating the winner of the Tarver/Johnson rematch and then ride off into the sunset. Hopefully he won’t get knocked out again, but in life you must take risks. Otherwise, you end up being called “reluctant Roy”.

Article posted on 16.02.2005

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