It really is quite hard to remember how truly special, how great Roy Jones Jr was. In his prime, from 1993 to 2003, Jones really was “Superman.” Untouchable, unbeatable, as fast as he was wickedly accurate and powerful with his lightning bolt punches. Jones, when he was turned on (in his prime, Jones, as great as he was, was able to carry a fighter, this being something he sometimes chose to do), was a chilling puncher.
Some fans point to Jones’ icing of Montell Griffin in their rematch as his neatest, most venomous punching display. Others point to the crippling piece of punching prowess Jones showed on this day in 1998.
Facing a fine fighter in Virgil Hill, who was 43-2 at the time, having never been stopped, Jones met a fighter some felt would give him problems. Hill might have been past his absolute best, having lost his light-heavyweight crown to Dariusz Michalczewski in his previous fight (the Pole being the only fighter Jones ever “ducked” according to some critics), but “Quicksilver” was still the third or fourth-best 175 pounders on the planet.
The fight, which took place in Biloxi, Mississippi, was actually a catch-weight, non-title bout, the two men each weighing in at 177 pounds. This was far from the talking point afterward. For three rounds, Hill was in the fight. Then, in the fourth, Jones landed one of the most peach-perfect body shots ever seen. A hard, sharp right hand cracked into Hill’s kidney, and he went down. In great pain, Hill showed amazing heart in getting back up, but he was done. Hill remained on his stool for some minutes after the fight, medics being called. Hill was taken to the hospital, the doctor fearing he had suffered broken ribs.
Jones had never looked so devastating. Jones was even scared by the KO punch himself, or by the sickening sound it made when it connected. “Sometimes when you’re hunting, the shotgun makes a sound like that,” a victorious RJJ said. “But I’ve never heard anything as devastating as that, or I would have given up hunting a long time ago.”
Jones was a predator on this day 22 years ago. The thought of Jones being beaten was not on anyone’s mind. At all. Certainly not Virgil Hill’s. Hill would be stopped only one other time in his career, this via eighth-round corner retirement to Jean-Marc Mormeck up at cruiserweight. Hill was 38 years old at the time. However, Hill was far from finished – coming back as he did five fights later to defeat Valery Brudov to become a two-time cruiserweight champ.
In short, nobody ever did to Hill what Jones did.
Roy Jones Jr. record as a pro: 66-9 with 47 knockouts.