Graceful Exits

Posted: November 9, 2008 in Boxing
Tags: , ,

joenroy When word first broke that Roy Jones Jr. would be fighting England’s Joe Calzaghe I felt both excitement and apprehension.  Excitement because Roy Jones Jr. ranks 2nd on my list of all time favorite fighters.  Apprehension because judging by Roy’s recent performances I felt that he’d be dominated in this fight.

In actuality I needed only to review Jones’ most recent fight against Felix Trinidad to make a prediction about a Jones/Calzaghe match up.  Roy had Felix in trouble several times but chose not to close the show.  As Jones fought at Light Heavyweight for the majority of his career and Trinidad was and is a natural welterweight I thought Jones, even at age 39 could have walked right over him and knocked the much smaller fighter out.  Jones opted as he has in recent years to play it safe which shows me he lacks the heart and confidence he once had.

Keeping Jones’ recent performance in mind I predicted that Joe Calzaghe would maul and dominate Roy Jones Jr. for an entire 12 rounds.  I tuned into this fight in hopes that Roy would actually take the fight seriously and try to win and not just outlast the clock.  Aside from a knock down delivered by Jones in the opening round (which was due to an elbow and not a punch) the fight went nearly exactly as I saw it happening in my head months prior to the fight.  Calzaghe no longer possesses the power he once had but he embarrassed Roy tonight and did so emphatically.  Roy fought so poorly even for a man his age that Calzaghe began carrying his hands down at his side and began showboating quite a bit.  Even more embarrassing for Roy, Calzaghe stood in front of Roy several times with his hands down, shook his head to taunt Roy and Roy did nothing.  The one sided beating continued for 12 rounds and Joe walked away with the unanimous decision.

Calzahe’s absent power and Roy’s unwillingness to fight told me months ago that there’d be no knockdowns in this fight and I was nearly right.  Joe beat Roy senseless and I congratulate the Welshman on an outstanding performance.  That said this fight showed something important.

Roy Jones Jr. needs to retire.  Many experts claim that Roy’s skill set is not what it once was.  I disagree completely with their sentiments however and believe that Roy possess most of the skills he used to dazzle us with, he simply doesn’t have any desire to use them anymore.  The three fights Roy had prior to the Calzaghe fight where simply promotional tools for a Calzaghe showdown.  This fight was just a payday for Roy.  Roy barley threw any punches tonight and when he did it was one at a time, much like Tyson did from the mid 90’s onward.  Tyson wasn’t fighting to fight…he was fighting for a paycheck.  Roy is doing his fans and boxing a disservice by showing up and fighting the way he did tonight.  Some say the Roy we see now is merely a shell of the Roy of old.  I would go a step further and say that the Roy we see today isn’t a shell of his old self but rather just a name.  If he was any other fighter and had the same recent performances he’s had he’d never get the attention he still receives.  Roy is only embarrassing himself by continuing to fight.  He’s got the name and I’m sure there’s plenty of ways to make good money in the world of boxing without having to fight, especially when you’re name is Roy Jones Jr.  Like Max Kellerman once said to Floyd Mayweather during a broadcast, “if you’re heart isn’t in it, don’t come back”, I would say the same thing to Roy tonight…quit fighting because it’s clear your hearts no longer in it.

I can recall nearly every boxing fan and many boxing experts counting Roy out long before the fight took place and before Bernard Hopkins destroyed Kelly Pavlik.  As soon as the 43 year old Hopkins broke down and beat a 26 year old Pavlik, many experts and fans started calling for the Jones upset.  Evidently people started drawing parallels to Hopkins brilliant performance and Roy’s apparent resurgence.  I too was hopeful for a Jones upset but I always knew in the back of my mind that Joe Calzaghe was going to dominate Roy Jones.  Though his punches aren’t to powerful Calzaghe has, with the exception of Hopkins, thoroughly dominated his last few opponents while Jones fought two nobodies and failed to stop an over the hill, ring rusty Felix Trinidad.   So many of us, including myself hold onto the foolish hope that Roy Jones Jr. will give us one more great show and while it’s evident, especially after tonight, that he could where his heart in it, he chooses not to.

I will always remain a fan of Roy Jones Jr. and prior to this fight I would have tuned into any fight that he was a part of but tonight solidified my belief that Jones has only been fighting for money and has nothing left to give boxing fans.  I never want to see any great fighter retire but Jones no longer belongs in the boxing ring.  To win fights you actually have to fight and that means throwing punches and evading your opponents, not laying on the ropes and blocking all night.  This was truly a pathetic performance by any boxing standard, regardless of age.  Pack it in Roy it’s all over.

We all need to know when to make a graceful exit…now is that time Roy.

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