Jones Jr. Vs Prince Badi… What need for a former king to fight a "Prince"?

25.07.06 - By Flavio Alvarez: The history of boxing is filled with the tales of legendary fighters who retired too late. Joe Louis, Muhamad Ali, Roberto Durán, all once greats that became little more than sad spectacles by the end of their careers. Roy Jones Jr. is not yet at that point, but we all have to wonder: what is the point Roy? It's hard to imagine you, even at your worst, losing to Prince Badi Ajamu, a notoriously gun shy fighter who just a couple of fights ago almost bit more than he could chew against Orlando Rivera, a 42 year old personal trainer that, although very brave and well conditioned, does not have the proper resume to even hope to tie your boxing shoes.

But then… if even you admit you could not get motivated for Antonio Tarver … why does Roy Jones Jr., voted the finest boxer in the Olympic games, former Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight champ; probably the only guy to ever truly beat Bernard Hopkins; the first guy who beat James Toney; the guy who once played a basketball game and fought a championship fight THE SAME DAY; the guy who surprised us if he lost a ROUND in a fight, a living legend, feels the need to fight Ajamu? Redemption?

A victory over Prince Badi will not mean a triumphant and dramatic comeback the likes of Ray Leonard or Felix Trinidad, who returned to defeat Marvin Hagler and Ricardo Mayorga, respectively, fighters at the top of their games (both Sugar and Tito were also swiftly sent back into retirement a little later, by the way). If you wanted redemption, you would have been much better off fighting the likes of James Toney, a name who can still command respect and somebody who has a very good reason to fight you: avenge his loss to you.

Glory? That you already have assured. Now consider this: If you excluded your last three fights, your record would be 49-1 (38 ko's), with that one loss being a disqualification against Montell Griffin, who you KOd in the first round your following fight. After that you have lost your last three times out, two by fulminating KOs. And as a 37 year old fighter who depends on speed and agility, the first two things an athlete loses as he ages, chances are from now on you won't be improving your legacy, you'll just be damaging your record. Keep this in mind also: History is always kind to our heroes. We remember more Ali Vs Frazier than Ali Vs. Jimmy Young; Louis KO of Schmeling than Louis loss to. Ezzard Charles

Money? Unlike Louis, or Mike Tyson, you're well off financially. In fact, you could be making millions just from endorsements with you chum Michael Jordan and calling HBO fights.

No, the reason is another, and I don't know anybody has the answer. Boxing is a game that can take a man from the lowest depths of society and lift him to the highest pedestal unlike any other. A skinny, hungry boy that slept on a straw bed can grow into a fearless man who sleeps with supermodels. A baby unloved by his father can feel the adoration of a stadium full of people in the ring. These things are hard to let go of. And unlike other sports, where retirement is many times forced upon an unproductive athlete, a boxer's former glory is often exploited by corrupt individuals looking for a quick buck, allowing the fighter to satisfy that addictive need for the warmth of the lights and the attention of the crowds, albeit a faded and corrupt version, where stadiums become clubs, and admiration becomes curiosity, not unlike that of a man watching a car accident.

Hopefully this end will not be that of Roy Jones Jr.. But it's a start.

Article posted on 26.07.2006

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