Before Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather captivated fans with their verbal and physical skills, Roy Jones Jr was the master of both.
The man nicknamed “Superman” or “Captain Hook” was regarded as the greatest pure talent boxer to ever come out of the US Amateur system. After taking a 1988 Silver Medal in the Olympics, Jones went into the professional ranks and dominated for over a decade. He was a champion who defied the imagination with one punch knockouts over future hall of famers and contenders.
Love him or hate him, you always respected Roy Jones Jr. just for the fact that he could not only talk trash with the best of them but make highlights in all of his fights.
Which makes it all the more depressing that the man many said might be “the greatest of all time” has now become a comedy figure that fights tomato cans in Russia.
It begs the question; “How did Superman turn into Fartman” and when will we see rock bottom of Roy Jones Jr?
Part of this is expected in most sports as most of the time athletes don’t realize when it’s time to hang them up for good and stay retired. For every John Elway there is a Brett Farve, for every Lennox Lewis there is a James Toney, for every Bill Russell there is a Robert Parish. Athletes who seem to soil their reputations by battling on and making it painfully obvious to all that they are shot.
Denial runs deep as they insist that they are just a win or two away from getting everything back.
Roy Jones Jr. hit an all-time low after making the decision to compete for a REGIONAL title in Russia. Making matters worse was the fact that Jones has gotten this fight after becoming a citizen of Russia and schmoozing it up with Vladimir Putin.
Roy Jones has gone from being an old fighter to another sad and pathetic athlete in the mold of Dennis Rodman. A walking punchline.
Part of the problem with Jones has been his greatest strength and weakness: his vanity and reliance on his athletic gifts. As a young fighter in his mid-twenties, he was able to beat James Toney, Bernard Hopkins and Mike McCallum by using his physical gifts. His hand speed, power, and quick reflexes allowed him to never develop pure boxing skills in key defensive areas.
When he fought Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson near his mid-30s, he paid the price and was violently knocked out by both men.
But even then, he still continued to fight— taking vicious beatings from good but not great fighters. Some allege that his pride wouldn’t allow him to stop boxing on a losing note. Many others state that financial reasons are at the heart of the issue. In 2011, Examiner.com reported that Jones faced liens from the IRS over unpaid taxes to the tune of just over $3.5 million.
No matter the reasons, it’s painful to watch as Jones struggles to beat guys that he would have destroyed a decade ago. The last time Roy took on a top 20 fighter, he was violently knocked out by Dennis Lebedev– and when I mean violently knocked out, I mean on the canvas laying there like a corpse.
It’s easy for some in the media and fans to take a small amount of pleasure in this as Jones like Mayweather and Rousey was a lightning rod for criticism. He cherry picked opponents for years and refused to travel outside the US to fight top opposition. His attitude was borderline arrogance as most of his interviews were about how great he was and fast his hands were.
And don’t get me started on his basketball or his rap music.
Much can be made about the fall of Roy Jones Jr. and how in many ways he has brought this on himself with his actions and vanity, but it’s still sad that he is now fighting a cruiserweight and gunning for a title shot.
Roy should retire already and just end this silly charade.
It’s not worth his life, nor his reputation, to go into Russia and risk getting knocked out by Enzo Maccarinelli.
Keeping the HBO gig and continuing to make money as a commentator would be good enough for almost any seasoned fighter in a similar position.
He seems to enjoy training young fighters, many whom hold Jones to the highest of regards.
If Roy continues to fight and go to Russia, to me and the fans he could weaken his standing as a once great fighter.
I don’t want to see Superman turned into Captain Underpants.