Roy Jones Jr.: Past, present and future

By Reg Jones


Roy Jones Jr.: Past, present and future

Roy Jones Jr. returns to the ring tonight in a bout that many boxing analysts and sports’ writers are considering the end to an amazing career that stemmed from 1989 to 2006. Just some three years ago, after his historic defeat of John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title, Jones was being mentioned in the same breath as the great Ray Robinson. Today, Jones has taken scrutiny from the boxing public for his lackluster performances with Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. In recent interviews, Jones has implied that a rematch with Johnson is something he wants before retirement. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine Johnson having a problem with that, considering Johnson is on the tail end of his career and looking for the most lucrative fights he can get before retirement. Jones’ legacy is already secure in Canastota and those that try to question his legacy based on his last three performances are silenced by a quick look at his career accomplishments.

Jones entered the boxing scene winning the 1984 United States National Junior Olympics in the 119 lb weight division.  He went on to capture other amateur titles, winning the 1986 United States National Golden Gloves in the 139 lb weight division and the 1987 United States National Golden Gloves in the 156 lb weight division. Jones started his professional career with a (17-0) record, all by knockout.  He continued to rip through the middleweight division when he ran into none other than Bernard Hopkins in 1993.  The two battled in what many, including myself, agree was a boring fight with Jones squeezing out the decision. His successful career continued, with wins over names like James Toney, Thomas Tate, Vinny Pazienza, Virgil Hill, Montell Griffin, Reggie Johnson, John Ruiz and Antonio Tarver, until he was knocked out badly in his rematch with Tarver.  It was without a doubt one of the most shocking knockouts in the past fifteen years of the sport of boxing. The disappointment of the loss led Jones to what he thought would be a good tune-up fight in Glen Johnson. Unfortunately for Jones, this fight also turned out disastrous, leaving him with two back-to-back knockouts.  Of course Jones, being the competitor he is, signed on for the rubbermatch with Tarver. That ended up being a twelve round unanimous decision for Tarver as Jones simply tried to survive without being knocked out again. The reality that Jones was no longer an elite fighter set in overnight amongst boxing fans and writers around the country. I guess it’s safe to assume that Antonio Tarver was the kryptonite that destroyed the myth of the man who was once referred to as Superman. Superman lost his powers overnight, just like that!

Well for those that know the Superman movies from years ago, when the lead role was portrayed by the late Christopher Reeves, you know that Superman actually regained his powers in part two of the trilogy. So is it remotely possible that Jones, with some stroke of luck and bravado, can leave the boxing game the way he came in, as a respected fighter? Who knows, Jones will start the long road back to boxing glory by facing NABO light heavyweight champion Prince Badi Ajamu from Camden, NJ in a 12 round bout tonight. Questions as to why the fight is taking place in Boise and why Jones is fighting a fairly unknown fighter in Ajamu are things only he can answer. What the future holds for Roy Jones Jr. is uncertain at this time.  If he is successful in his return bout with Ajamu, a few will be curious to see the rematch with Johnson or potentially a fourth dance with Antonio Tarver, but do any of us really want to see those fights?  As a fan of the sport of boxing, I wholeheartedly respect the accomplishments of Roy Jones Jr. How can you not? He’s accomplished things, relative to boxing, that we may never see again for a long time. It would be fitting to see Jones retire on a positive note with a win but the reality of the situation is that he may no longer be the fighter he once was. Tonight’s fight, however, should answer a few questions as to what the future holds for Roy Jones Jr.


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