Boxing


Roy Jones Jr.: How Come People Can't Recognize His True Greatness?

12.08.05 - By Vernon Mcnicholas: Boxing has had over the years some true great amongst its ranks, from the awesome Mike Tyson, in his prime, (was there/will there ever be the like of that man in the boxing ring again?) to Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Muhammed Ali, Larry Holmes, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather. The list, as everyone knows, would be almost without an end, yet one fighter continually causes friction when mentioned as a true great of the ring and that is, Roy Jones Jr..

There have been many and differing opinions about Jones that have been published on this, and other sites over the past couple of weeks since his rubber match with Tarver got rubber stamped. Now as far as I can ascertain, the argument against Jones goes a bit like this, "Jones is a fraud, a man who always took the easy way out, who never stepped up to the plate when it really mattered, has a glass jaw (hence, he never fought a puncher) and is now a shot fighter to boot.

Usually the articles that state this are also written in a ‘I knew he’d get his backside whipped some day’ kind of tone, which shows that most people that write these things don’t have objectivity on the subject, but instead disliked Jones for his trash talking rather than the fact he isn't a good boxer.

As far as I'm concerned, the simple fact of the matter is that Jones did fight against the best there was at the time. For example, Toney was one of, if not the best, pound for pound boxer when he fought Jones in November 1994. Toney could barely lay a glove on Jones for 12 rounds. What about Hopkins? Jones fought him as well. So what if most of Jones' important fights occurred 10 to 11 years ago? The simple fact is, he beat Hopkins fair and square, and he wasn't, "Green," as many have said on this site. At the time of their fight in May 1993, Hopkins had a 21-0 record, and he was just as good then as he is now. Nevertheless, Hopkins was soundly beaten by Jones - not many before or after can say they had it their own way against Hopkins, although we’ll get back to B-Hop later.

Admittedly, these are probably the two biggest names on Jones' record, but who else was there for him at the time he was at 160 and 168? Yes, there was Gerald McClellan, but he was Jones's friend, so a fight with him never came off. There was Julian Jackson, but he was the WBC Middleweight champion and there wasn't a cry at the time to unify the titles. The fact is, Jones didn’t stay at 160 long enough to entertain the silly argument that he ducked guys, so lets move on.

While fighting at Super Middleweight (168), the champions during his reign were: IBF champ Frankie Lyles (WBA), Nigel Benn (WBC), Eubank (WBO) and Collins (also WBO). For sake of argument, you can add them to the mix of excellent fighters Jones avoided while fighting as a Super middleweight. To be honest, not one of them would have been worth the bother for Jones, so why did he need to fight these guys? To keep the public happy, lets say he did fight any or all of them and beat them as easily as he did any one in his prime years. Would we still hear the same hollow claims about him? The fact of the matter is, Jones beat the men put in front of him by the IBF, and held the 168 lb. super middleweight title for two years, making some 5 defenses. Heck, Hopkins has made a career out of fighting mandatory challengers, and no one says he’s ducked anyone. As for the Trinidad and De La Hoya fights, lets be honest: Hopkins exposed Trinidad as a limited fighter, who was unable to come up with a plan B when getting beaten, which was also confirmed earlier this in May, when Winky dominated him over 12 rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. And De La Hoya was just a blown up Welterweight, a great fighter but not at 160, which further diminishes Hopkins' accomplishments.

Jones' time at 175 has been plagued by accusations about his perceived reluctance to fight the Garman-based Dariuz Michalczewski. Of course, the fact that Michalczewski wouldn’t leave Germany to fight anyone might be more of a decent argument as to why that fight never happened. Although Jones didn't want to travel to Germany, so it's debatable who is the guilty party for the fight not having come off. Nevertheless, for my 2 cents worth, I’d just like to say, why should Jones have fought Daruiz? Who’s that guy ever beaten? Just look at Michalczewski’s record - it’s a list of the who’s of boxing rather than who’s who. Other than him, Jones owned that division for 5 years, unifying the titles in the process. He fought everyone there was to fight. ( come on, how else would Jones have gotten all the straps? So what if the light heavyweight division was a weak division during all those years, Jones still dominated it. Let's also add at this point, that Jones took the heavyweight crown from a limited, but none the less bigger man. (John Ruiz) Jones made a smart play, and fought the battle that he could win. However, he wasn’t naive enough to think he could beat Lennox Lewis, so he opted for John Ruiz. As I said, Ruiz may have been limited, but he was then, and is still now, one of the heavyweight champions of the world, and on that night of their fight in March 2003, he was soundly beaten by Jones.

Finally, to his so called glass jaw, it’s easy for people to say things like this when he’s been knocked spark out twice in the last two fights, so I guess that then negates the fact that Jones never hit the canvas, save once in the 15 years previous to that. If ever people jumped on a bandwagon, it was on this point and that for sure. Bottom line here is everyone is entitled to their opinion about Jones, right or wrong, love him or hate him, yet perspective is needed before you throw your, "Jones is a joke" hat on and spout some of the rubbish that is being said about this great man every time the great boxers topic comes up. Nevertheless, when its all said and done, Jones has accomplished more in boxing than most and was the pound for pound king for a decade. His record speaks for itself. Now, is that greatness or did every single boxing pundit who knew anything about the game get it wrong for 10 years? How about you decide that one for yourself.

Article posted on 12.08.2005



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