Roy Jones was once among the most talented fighters who ever lived, a man possessed of speed, style, power and technique. A seemingly unbeatable fighter whose only true adversary was his own boredom.
Roy Jones once played a minor league professional basketball game and fought for the Light Heavyweight title on the same day, just because he could. He didn’t lose either.
Roy Jones was unfuckwithable for his entire prime. Take away his dubious DQ loss to Montell Griffin (that he later avenged by first round KO) in 1997 and Jones was undefeated for the first 15 years of his pro career. Shit, nobody even came close during that span. Not James Toney, not Mike McCallum, not Bernard Hopkins. Jones was at least two or three classes above almost everyone he fought in those days.
Roy Jones had all the attitude and swagger to match his talent. Roy Jones should have made De La Hoya money. Tyson Money. Mayweather money. Roy Jones was (and still is) charisma in a bottle.
Roy Jones was business savvy. Back in the day, he refused to sign with a promoter, instead opting to sell each fight to the highest bidder. Roy Jones was not going to be taken for a ride by the Don King’s and Bob Arum’s of the world.
Roy Jones finally got beat. For real. Everybody does, sooner or later. Won a disputed decision against Antonio Tarver in a fight that looked as if Jones wasn’t taking Tarver seriously, then got put to sleep in the rematch in less than two rounds. Fifteen years of invincibility wiped away by one left hook he just couldn’t get away from after a career built on avoiding them all.
Roy Jones couldn’t leave well enough alone because really, almost no fighter ever can. Tarver got him again. Glen Johnson damn near killed him. Still, he kept him fighting. Why he did would be any sane persons guess, but since when has a pug even been sane?
Roy Jones may or may not be broke now. Depends on who you listen to. I do know that he’s still out there in Boxing trunks, traveling to faraway lands to fight bums on there home turf for larger sums of money than he would see otherwise. “Come one, come all, watch your local boy whip Roy Jones’ ass!”. Some Aussie named Danny Green, a Russian named Lebedev. Would have been a Pole named Dawid Kostecki, had the guy not got rung up on organized crime charges mere days before the fight. Shrewd, at the very least.
Sugar Ray Robinson, the greatest fighter who ever lived, went out the same way. So did plenty of others. Still, it wasn’t supposed to happen to Roy Jones. Not him. He was supposed to have the skill, the heart and the good sense to get out before all of this stuff happened to him.
Roy Jones, the best fighter I’ve seen in my lifetime, has signed on to fight Kimbo Slice in Jamaica, a freakshow fight for people who has never seen either in person. An exhibition, no less. Show up, do the damn thing, cash the check so that the IRS or whoever else Jones owes money to will be pacified for the time being. Best case scenario, he can get a few more of these kind of paydays before his name and likeness aren’t worth money anywhere in the world. Maybe not suffer any more brainings while he’s at it. That would be nice.
I love boxing. I really do. One day though, I’ll have had enough of the violence and the brain damage and the pissed away fortunes and the sad, sad endings. The end of the road for a baseball player is finding out he cant swing his bat fast enough any more. The end for a boxer, no matter how great he once was, almost always looks something like this, if not worse. For now, Jones is still healthy enough to fight for his living and articulate enough to earn a paycheck as a talking head for HBO.