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Roy Jones Calls Out the Klitschkos

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I can’t think of a stranger sports career arc of the last 20 years than Roy Jones Jr. Okay, maybe Jose Canseco, but grant me this: the two guys are in the same ballpark. Once among the greatest pure athletes their respective sports have ever seen, each is now a sideshow farce, reduced to doing just about anything he can think of to make a buck. ↵

↵Canseco, of course, has fallen further on this count. After all, Roy is less than a year removed from fighting a big-time HBO pay-per-view bout against Joe Calzaghe and starring in the network’s vaunted 24/7 series, a farce in its own right, but one that masqueraded as serious drama. Nothing Canseco has done in the last ten years has even bothered with such a masquerade, and his latest gambit has been to get beaten down in Japanese MMA bouts. ↵

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↵But the freakshow MMA circuit seems like it could be in Roy’s future as well. Who knows how long he’ll be able to get people to watch him ply his trade as a washed-up, third-rate boxer on the strength of his former glory. Based on my observation, he’s very close to the end of that line. He’s got himself a has-been versus a never-was fight with Jeff Lacy on August 15 that will be broadcast on pay-per-view by Roy’s own promotional company, Square Ring Promotions, a contest that one imagines will struggle to do in the hundreds of PPV buys. ↵

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↵But ole RJJ has been down before and gotten back up, and the man has some ideas about making some better cheddar in the future. No doubt even casual fight fans will remember that Roy once won a share of the heavyweight title by blowing himself up from 175 to around 200 pounds to decision the decidedly uninspiring big man John Ruiz. At the time, back in 2003, it was all a part of Roy’s boxing superman routine, a routine that, unbeknownst to Roy, was in its last act. In retrospect, most blame the rapid weight gain and loss for his precipitous decline. ↵

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↵Roy, however, seems not to remember any of that, and is thinking about moving up in weight to tangle with the big boys again. In fact, he’s thinking about tangling with the biggest boys, namely the Klitschko brothers. ↵

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↵It would appear, however, that Jones, like so many fans, has no idea which brother is which. ↵

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↵“I’d fight either Klitschko,” Roy told Boxing Scene, “because Chris Byrd beat one of them, and if he beat ‘em, I damn sure know I can.” ↵

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↵Unsound on so many counts, Roy’s tight on his history, at least. Chris Byrd did beat one of them there Klitschkos. It was Vitali, and it was about nine years ago. It must be pointed out, however, that Byrd was getting destroyed in that fight before Vitali was forced to retire due to a torn rotator cuff. Not exactly a heroic victory for Mr. Byrd. Subsequently, Byrd fought Wladimir Klitschko twice and got merciless whuppings for his trouble both times. ↵

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↵Now, maybe Roy has been developing a secret rotator-cuff punch, but I doubt it. I gather that he’s willing to call out just about anybody right now in the hopes of getting his name back on boxing’s marquee. In the same piece, he calls out Bernard Hopkins and says that Bernard is ducking him, despite the fact that everyone in the world knows that Hopkins would have been happy to fight Jones this year, with the only caveat being that Jones had to prove his worthiness for the bout by beating Calzaghe last November. ↵

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↵And Roy, uh … Roy didn’t beat Calzaghe. In fact, Roy got quite a beating from Calzaghe, and this a Calzaghe known among many boxing aficionados as Slappy Joe, a man with zero punching power and brittle hands whose only avenue to victory is to pitty-pat you all night while remaining elusively unhittable, thus killing you on the scorecards but leaving you otherwise fresh as a daisy. ↵

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↵If such a man could bust up Roy’s face (and he did), imagine, just imagine what a Klitschko would do to him. And I’m talking, EITHER Klitschko. The mind boggles. Me, I think Roy would be much better served just hastening the inevitable and challenging Canseco to … I don’t know … an emu-punching contest? An illegal knife fight on international waters televised via satellite? Or hot-dog eating – what about hot-dog eating? They’re into that in Japan, I hear. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.