September 23rd, 2012 By RingTalk
JONES HAD THE GOODS, NOT THE GUTS
Thousand Oaks, CA- Though he is still an active fighter, Roy Jones Jr.(56-8, 40 KOs)
career as a prize fighter is essentially over. So how will history remember a man who had unlimited amounts of skill and reflexes, but never had the mind frame to match? Jones in his prime avoided serious competition like the plague and always found a reason not to take a risk. His career numbers are quite impressive on the surface: four division champion, heavyweight king, and unification of the light heavy title. But take a closer look at his record and things aren’t quite as good as they appear.
JONES WON BOGUS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
His heavyweight title is fraudulent. The fact that Jones chose WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz and not lineal heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis as his heavyweight opponent should tell everybody of Jones’ mindset . Safety first! He even backed out of a fight with a way overweight Buster Douglas. Ironically, Jones won his first two titles against his best competition, a pre-prime Bernard Hopkins for a vacant 160 lb. title and a prime James Toney for a 168 lb. title. By the time Jones moved up to 175 lbs., he was avoiding top competition. There wasn’t a lot at light heavyweights at the time, but Jones was facing fighters like Derrick Harmon, Richard Hall (for which both fighters failed a post fight drug test AKA “steroids”), and an off duty New York City police officer Richard Frazier.
JONES’S CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS CALLED INTO QUESTION
If you analyze Jones achievements closely, he never even won a legitimate linear world championship. His most legitimate title is the IBF 168 lb. title because he beat the undisputed top dog in the division for it. Most people who don’t follow boxing closely will say he unified the light heavyweight titles. True, but he was never, EVER the lineal champion. Virgil Hill had already established the lineal title in 1996 when he beat undefeated Henry Maske. Dariusz Michalczewski beat Hill in 1997 to unify the WBA, IBF, and WBO titles. Though he was stripped of the WBA and IBF belts soon after, Jones needed to beat Michalczewski for the legitimate linear title, which he never did. (In fact Zolt Erdei is currently the linear light heavyweight champion to this day). This is important because it demonstrates how Jones went around the legitimate champion to unify the titles. Most people believe he would have beaten Michalczewski.
ROY WAITED UNTIL HIS BLADE WAS DULL!
To make matters worse, Jones started fighting the best only after his prime. Even though he lost to Joe Calzaghe the long reigning WBO super middleweight champion, most would agree that Jones would have easily handled him if they had fought around 1996 or 1997, which is when the fight should have taken place. Bernard Hopkins, who Jones has infinitely more talent than, will probably go down as the greater fighter. All this is not meant to discredit Jones, but to put into perspective of what was and what could have been. He’s still clearly a first ballot Hall of Famer, but for a guy who many compared to Sugar Ray Robinson in his prime, he could have achieved so much more. If only his mind frame had matched his talents.
Editor’s Note: Tony Hung is known as “The Human Boxing Encyclopedia” has a BA degree in History from Cal Poly Pomona and today he makes his debut at RingTalk.com