Boxing


The Death of Superman: Roy Jones Jr.

25.05.04 - By Derek Tang: Roy “Superman” Jones Jr. (49-2) is one of the most talented and gifted boxers to ever step into the boxing ring. Despite his surprising upset in his rematch against Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (22-2), Roy has commanded much well-earned respect and glory from his peers as well as boxing enthusiasts from around the world, including myself. A lot of people have already forgotten Roy’s legacy as a boxer. He should have won the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics Junior Middleweight division, only to have the sympathetic Korean judges award his Korean opponent the decision. Coming back from the Olympics in Korea, he debuted as a pro in boxing and went undefeated for 8 years, dominating 34 opponents. Roy’s first loss came then when he hit Montell Griffin after the bell, which ended the bout in a disqualification for Roy and an automatic win for Griffin. For another 6 years, Roy never lost a single fight until that Saturday night where he rematched Tarver.

For 25 years of Roy’s boxing career, he has been recognized generally as the best pound for pound fighter. As a fan of Roy’s, I’ve watched almost every single fight of his and Roy possesses boxing skills and mentality like no other. He makes his opponent fight his fight; his speed, agility, and power enable Roy to move in and out on his opponent without getting caught in the chin. Credit has to be given to Roy’s intimidation tactics in the ring as well; watch the James Toney fight or even the Glenn Kelly match. Both times, Roy toyed with his opponents, got his opponents off guard for a second, and the next thing that happened was the opponent kissing the canvas.

25 years later, Roy is still Roy “Superman” Jones Jr, just 25 years older. Now at 35 years old, he still has those skills, those evasive movements, the head bob, those dazed boxing eyes in the ring, and even the power. What has gotten slower are maybe his reflexes and his speed, but believe me, his hands are still pretty fast. The reason why Roy lost that one Saturday was because up to that point, no opponent has ever fought back to Roy while he was dominating the ring. When the fight is at the center of the ring, Roy will always win because he makes the opponent fight his fight. Buddy McGirt, Tarver’s trainer, can vouch for me on this. Roy’s opponent will then cover up and step back, while Roy lands a few very fast and fairly accurate punches; Roy does this for rounds and this eventually wears out the opponent, rendering the opponent’s counterpunching ineffective. Even James Toney, a very gifted counter puncher, just could not take it to Roy during their encounter and was soundly beaten.

On that disappointing Saturday, Buddy McGirt had trained Tarver to acknowledge Roy’s fighting style and to counterpunch and not miss. Tarver had to be willing to get hit, step back, and then counterpunch accurately. Look what happened: Roy was knocked out in the second round. This has nothing to do with Roy being slow or his skills being diminished. Many inept boxing enthusiasts even exclaim that Roy is getting too old; however, these very inept boxing enthusiasts fail to realize that Tarver is the same age. Roy lost because he just did not expect Tarver to counterpunch accurately like he did and that punch which caught Roy flush in the chin ended the whole fight.

What next for Roy Jones? Roy won’t retire until for a few more years; at least, that is what I’m conjecturing. He needs to regain his legacy as superman, as the alpha, as the best pound for pound fighter in the world, but especially as the Roy Jones Jr. He’s going to most likely decision Fabrice Tiozzo next and then maybe take a third rematch with Tarver; if not, Roy will somehow win those belts back when the bald Tarver loses them in his next fight (possibly Joe Calzaghe). Roy said he always wanted to fight Mike Tyson, but this either won’t happen or won’t happen anytime soon. Both need to regain themselves, their reputations, and their fan base first before this mega fight could even happen.

The death of Roy’s legacy may have already begun but like the comic books, Superman gets reborn again after his death. Trust me, Roy will find a way to be up top again and turn Tarver’s mouth into a closed belly button.

Article posted on 25.05.2004



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