By Kirk Lang – After a storied career that saw him, among other things, become the first former middleweight champion in 106 years to also win a heavyweight belt, Roy Jones Jr. was enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame this past Sunday.
He gave a rather brief induction speech at Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York but had a special treat for fans at the end.
“I came in this thing entertaining y’all and I’m about to leave this entertaining y’all,” said Jones, dressed in a tuxedo, just before going into an updated version of his rap song, “Y’all Must’ve Forgot.”
One line was, “A future Hall of Famer and I just got that.” Near the end, he rapped, “Thought I fell off but I’m back in the game, thirty years later and I still aint changed.”
Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather Jr, may have given longer speeches, but Jones’ musical send-off will live on in the minds of fans long after they forget the specifics of anyone else’s words.
Jones’ induction (Class of 2022) was part of a Trilogy induction that included the Classes of 2021 and 2022, which could not take place in their respective years due to the Coronavirus and COVID-19. With three years of fighters being inducted on the same night, Jones would share the stage with, among others, Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Sugar Shane Mosley, Mayweather, Ward and Miguel Cotto. In addition, female fighters were inducted for the first time in the Hall’s history, and women boxers being inducted included 92-year-old women’s boxing pioneer Barbara Buttrick, who heads the WIBF, Christy Martin, Ann Wolfe, Regina Halmich, Lucia Rijker, Holly Holm and Laila Ali.
When 1970s era boxer Mirian “Lady Tyger” Trimiar was presented a WBC championship belt from Mauricio Sulamain, she was overcome with joy and emotion, throwing her head back at one point and saying, “Oh My God.” Jones was sitting next to her and helped her flip the belt around to show off its impressive front side so her family could get better photos.
Jones, during his induction speech, said it was an honor to be immortalized with all the great fighters from the three induction classes.
He provided some humor at one point when he mentioned fellow inductee Dr. Margaret Goodman, who is the founder of VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency), and said he volunteered to submit to drug testing for he and Mike Tyson for their recent exhibition, because he was “going in there with the biggest psycho in boxing and I’ve got to be crazy for messing with him at 50 years old.”
Though the relationship between Jones and his father has had its rough patches, the former middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and WBA heavyweight champion thanked his dad for “getting me started in boxing.” He also thanked Laila Ali’s father “for inspiring me through my father to become a great boxer.”
Jones also credited his family for always supporting him through the years. He further added, “In this game of boxing…we’ve got to have a hell of a woman at home, in order to leave us with a sound mind to be able to go through training camp and go out and fight the way we do, and my wife has been there every day of my life.”
It was a four-day induction weekend for fans and the boxers that arrived early. Jones arrived on the first day, so he truly got to soak up the entire weekend and the love of his fans. He provided one of the first ‘Ringside Lectures” of the weekend. After a back-and-forth with Las Vegas-based TV show host James Smith, the talk was opened up for questions from fans, and the line to ask questions of the four-division world champion would be longer than any other line throughout the weekend, and other Ringside Lectures throughout the weekend featured Toney, Hopkins, Ali, Halmich and Martin, among others.
Other festivities throughout the weekend included a Friday night fight card at Turning Stone, a Saturday afternoon fist-casting, a Banquet of Champions, a Sunday afternoon parade down Canastota’s Peterboro Street, and last but certainly not least, the induction at Turning Stone.