28.06.06 - By Mike Casile: Back in 2003, I gave Roy Jones Jr. a bunch of credit for fighting Antonio Tarver. I had believed for years, that he had not had a real challenge since he fought Bernard Hopkins in 1993. Yes, he had a few formable opponents, James Toney etc…, but nobody to really challenge him, which HE reminded us of every free chance he could get..
Article posted on 29.06.2006
In 1994, he jumped up to the nearly comatose division (Super Middleweight), captured a title, then to a division that was flat out dead (Light Heavyweight) and captured every belt there within a 6 year period, in which he dominated like no other before him. I absolutely loved the way he toyed with full grown professional grade boxers, like they were runny nosed school kids, begging not to be humiliated.
He punched off balance, from every angle; he did things that you were not supposed to do in a boxing ring. He would drop his hands, switched to southpaw, throw an 8 punch combination, then stick his tongue out, go conventional, and throw 10 jabs in a row, smile for the camera, before piercing through the best defense, with a right hand. This guy was made for HBO.
After his fights, he seemed annoyed with any questions regarding his lackluster competion, reminding us all, we must have forgot. It was really hard not to like him. He just flat out beat everybody in front of him up. The fighters that did survive 12 rounds, like Eric Lucas, and alike, were made to look even worse than if they had been knocked out. With the light heavyweight division seemingly firmly in his grip, he decided to do the unthinkable. In 2003, coming of a typical Roy Jones knockout of Clinton Woods, he went up to the glamour division, the Heavyweight division, to challenge a small scrappy champion named John Ruiz. At that time, the only thing I remembered about John Ruiz, was that David Tua put him to sleep in one round. I tried to forget the three fights with Holyfield, in which Ruiz went 1-1-1. Roy totally destroyed Ruiz. It was amazing; it was if he was unstoppable. Some writers were actually saying, he was better than, “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali. The boxing world, and really, the rest of the world fell in love with Roy Jones Jr. His commercials were everywhere, and he was the man, but reality has a loud bell, especially in boxing.
In a 17 month period, Roy Jones Jr. lost 3 times. Twice to the man I thought would beat him, and once to journeyman Glen Johnson, who I thought didn’t have a shot.
Since his defeat last year, we have not heard very much from Roy. He has mentioned retirement, but has not committed to time or date. He is going to fight Prince Badi Ajamu, on July 29th, for the NABO title, (whatever that is). I think he will probably win this fight easily, and then go for some big money in the heavyweight division. I always believed Roy Jones Jr. took his tremendous skill, his titles, and the sweet science for granted. He continually bragged about not being challenged, that he was bored almost to sleep while dodging Dariusz Michalczewski . He once played in a basketball game before a title fight, either to prove his point, or to further accentuate his greatness, but it only proved that his opposition was sub par, and it was insult to the science he had mastered. Did Roy forget what happened to him during the Seoul Olympics, and the outright robbery of his gold medal? Did he forget about how hard he initially had to work to be recognized as the pound for pound best fighter in the world? He must have forgot that he was fighting professionals, men that train their whole lives for the 36 minutes they get to show what they are made of.
The first Tarver fight showed me that Roy was not going to take any chances, he was going to do enough to win, and he barely did.
As Roy Jones chip began to shrink, with fame, recognition, celebrity and fortune, Antonio Tarver’s chip grew to epic proportions, and on May 15, 2004, during the second round of his rematch with Tarver, a hard counter left hook caught Roy right on the button. It sent shockwaves through the boxing world, and it was only the appetizer, for the meal Glencoffe Johnson served him months later. The vision of him laying on the canvas, over the graphic for his new rap cd that was to be released that Novemeber, is something that will stick in my mind for a long time. Imagine the possibilities of a fighter with his incredible abiltites, totally devoting himself to boxing. I wonder if the Roy Jones Jr. today, forgot about the Roy Jones Jr. that was 15-0 with 15 knock outs. The Roy Jones Jr. who didn’t play basketball before a proffesional fight, or worry about promoting music cd’s. I think Roy needs to start remembering, who is forgetting.