Boxing


Roy Jones Jr. Taking His Act to Philly

01.11.06 - Itís official. Former pound-for-pound kingpin Roy Jones, Jr. will be taking his act to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Dec. 9 in an effort to regain a foothold atop the light heavyweight division. Jones is scheduled to defend his minor NABO light heavyweight belt - which he won in July by defeating Prince Badi Ajamu - against former WBA belt holder Manny Siaca.

Although "RJ" is coming off a win in his last fight - against Ajamu - it was his first victory in more than two-and-a-half years. He is 1-3 in his last four starts. After barely defeating Antonio Tarver over 12 rounds in November 2003, Jones would lose three fights in a row, two by knockout. However, it should be noted the defeats came at the hands of Tarver and Glen Johnson, two men who were at the top of the division when Jones fought them.

Jones is playing it smart on his comeback. Heís testing the waters against the Prince Badi Ajamus and Manny Siacas of the world before trying his luck against Tarver and Glen Johnson or taking on current light heavyweight title holders Tomasz Adamek (WBC), Sylvio Branco (WBA), Clinton Woods (IBF) and Zsolt Erdei (WBO).

Siaca is rated in the top 15 by only one of the four major boxing organizations

It remains to be seen why Jones continues to fight. He doesnít need any more belts. Heís got enough to fill a few trophy cases. His legacy is secure. He was on top for a lot longer than many of his contemporaries who shared space with him in the pound-for-pound rankings. Among other accomplishments, Jones became the first former middleweight champion in more than 100 years to win a heavyweight championship when he defeated John Ruiz in April 2003 for the WBA belt.

Retiring after beating Ruiz would have been the perfect ending for a perfect career (outside of a disqualification loss to Montell Griffin in March 1997, later avenged with a first-round knockout). Instead, Jones would fight on, dropping from heavyweight back to light heavyweight and losing his aura of invincibility in the process. He was knocked out by men who are not exactly known as big punchers. But perhaps more shocking than seeing Jones get flattened was seeing Jones get outboxed by Tarver in their third fight. No one used to ever outbox Jones. Jones, in his prime, didnít engage his fights. He put on exhibitions. He was a one-man show. He floated in and out of range so adeptly, he had struck and was gone before an opponent had a chance to retaliate.

It remains to be seen how much Jones has left in his tank. He looked more like his old self back in July against Ajamu, but Ajamu hardly put any pressure on Jones after the first round. If the former pound-for-pound king is continuing to fight because he wants another crack at a world title, he first has to get past Siaca. Jones fans should hope "RJ" isnít underestimating the man he will meet in the ring at Temple Universityís Liacouras Center. The last time Jones met up with a man he felt had no chance of beating him, a single right hand from Glen Johnson left him lying on the canvas for minutes afterward.

The Jones-Siaca bout is being billed as "The Liberty Brawl." Tickets can be purchased at www.ComcastTIX.com or by calling the Liacouras Center box office at 1-800-298-4200.

Article posted on 01.11.2006



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