Roy Jones Jr. - Can Roy Regain His Skills In The Heavyweight Division

karen belford03.07.06 - By Karen Belford: Hello East Side People. I just want to thank the many people for their show of support for me. It's appreciated, believe me. As for my many detractors, I'm going to continue writing until you start showing me some admiration and a little love. Now, much has been said in the past two years about Roy Jones Jr. being old, over-the-hill and no longer a competitive boxer, much less a champion. However, for me, when I watch his last two fights against Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, I still see much of Jones' skills and speed present and largely intact. He doesn't look "old or finished," as a boxer; On the contrary, looks pretty good, although, he does seem a tad bit gun shy, possibly still thinking about his horrifying one-punch knockout loss to Antonio Tarver in 2004. The other thing that jumps out at me, though, is how tired and emaciated Jones looks while fighting as a Light heavyweight, almost like someone who was on a severe diet.

In fact, I think Jones is no longer right for the light heavyweight division because he's now more of a legitimate cruiserweight after having gained a lot of weight for his fight with John Ruiz back in 2003. However, there is a stubborn quality to Jones, which makes him repeat past mistakes, hoping for a miracle to happen and somehow, a different outcome. For most people, especially ones that had found past success, they would have moved back up the heavyweight division after the first fight with Tarver, a fight that Jones had to struggle to lose weight to make the fight happen.

So, for Jones to fight at light heavyweight, he has to train very hard to lose weight every time out, leaving him looking and feeling very weak. If you doubt what I'm saying, just look at his winning performance against John Ruiz, a fight where Jones won the WBA heavyweight title, and then compare it to the way he's performed since then. Just take one look at Jones, and note the haggard, hound dog look on his face, and it becomes crystal clear that it's taking too much out of him to continue fighting as a light heavyweight. Clearly, he needs to move up back up once and for all. Of course, the move will not be without risk for Jones, since he will be getting hit by much bigger fighters and he'll have to get used to that.

However, most heavyweights are incredibly slow compared to Jones, and they'll have nearly an impossible trying to hit such an elusive target. Even giants like Wladimir Klitschko and Nicolay Valuev, would be left punching at air in a fight with Jones. They'd be hard pressed to even lay a glove on him, whereas Jones, with his fast hands and feet, be able to jump in and out, all night long, landing flurries and frustrating the giants in the division. However, other than perhaps Shannon Briggs, or possibly, Audley Harrison, there's really no one in the heavyweight division that has the skills to outbox Jones and give him any trouble. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't rule out Jones being knocked out by a miracle punch thrown by someone as strong as Samuel Peter or David Tua, but aside from such a scenario, it would be difficult for them to lay a glove on him.

Through boxing history, most of the greatest boxers have moved up in division while growing older, and have found success in each new division. For example, Oscar De La Hoya, he started as a 135 lb Super featherweight, and slowly moved from one weight division after another as he aged, all the weight up to middleweight. Can you imagine? That's five different weight classes. That's just one example, and believe me, there's many more fighters that have done the same. Having said that, can you imagine Jones, who has equally advanced skills, not doing the same?

As things stand right now, Roy Jones Jr. is scheduled to fight later in this month on July 29 against light heavyweight Prince Badi Ajamu (25-2-1, 14 KO's) in Boise, Idaho. I have no doubts that Jones will win the fight, of course, since this guy is not in Jones' class. And, unlike others, I won't condemn Jones for wanting to fight Prince Badi, for he's doing the right thing by getting a gauge on his skill level, while at the same time, he can pick up a much needed confidence boost from the experience. However, once this fight is out of the way, Jones is clear to move back up the heavyweight division, something that he has hinted about in recent interviews.

I'll be so happy when that happens, for I still remember the sad look in Roy's eyes after his losing a decision to Tarver in October 2005, because he looked as if he his chances of ever contending again as a light heavyweight were at an end. For Jones to be able to come back after losing his last three fights, would seem like a fairy tale story, and it would be the fitting end for such a great career like his. I just hope, after all of this is over, Jones will finally be accepted and loved for his great talents, rather than criticized and despised by the legions of seemingly never ending critics.

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Article posted on 03.07.2006

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