Twenty years ago, a Roy Jones Jr. fight happening in the afternoon American time would likely be taking place on a major network with a fairly good buzz going. Sadly that was not the case on this day in 2012.
Saturday afternoon U,S. Pacific Time, 43-year old Roy Jones Jr. won a controversial ten-round split decision over previously unbeaten yet unheralded Pawel Glazewski in his native Poland. Jones was a solid 3-to-1 favorite, but fought much like former rival Antonio Tarver did against Lateef Kayode earlier this month. One problem was Jones Jr. didn’t turn it up in the second half and it looked as though he was thoroughly outworked. Jones Jr. also suffered a 6th round knockdown off a punch that wasn’t quite devastating.
According to this BoxingScene.com report by Luke Furman, Jones Jr. has a pre-fight agreement with WBC titlist Krzyzstof Wlodarczyk, who stopped former adversary Danny Green while behind on the scorecards in November. There was projected to be a rematch between Wlodarczyk and Juan Palacios on Sept. 22, but that fight remains unsettled. It looks as though they held off in case Roy Jones Jr. came through with a win, which he technically did today.
Anyone who saw the fight would tell you they don’t want to see Jones fight again. Roy called for the retirement of Paul Williams on HBO while Erislandy Lara shellacked him last July. Ironically, Jones has let his career deflate to the point that not only is he not fighting on either of the big networks, but his fight on Saturday was in no way accessible to an American citizen via traditional means. As well, during his fight with Glawecki, people were calling for Jones’ retirement across Twitter while he fought an unspirited fight and got rocked a few times by a lightly hitting Pole.
Jones showed glimpses of what once made him great, but his reflexes have deteriorated to a point that you could watch as he saw openings but couldn’t exploit them the way he once could. Jones was definitely an intelligent fighter to an extent in his prime, but he always relied on his superior athleticism. Like how having superior bat speed in baseball is a huge advantage, having the reflexes that gave you an extra split-second or two to get from point A to point B was a massive asset. Unlike former counterpart Bernard Hopkins, Jones never adapted to his eroding late career self.
Glazewski couldn’t get the fair shake on the decision in his own homeland, a shame. Glazewski was a late substitute for Dawid Kostecki, who was jailed recently. Kostecki was a much more powerful potential opponent and probably would have stopped Jones.
In this writer’s opinion, there was really no aspect of the bout that Jones excelled in. Glazewski pressed the bout, landed the cleaner blows, was more active, and just seemed more comfortable in there. Jones definitely had moments, but it was mostly surrounded by the business of Glazewski.
The scores were close, in no way a landslide, with a 95-94 Glazewski score being overruled by 96-93 and 96-94 scores in favor of Jones. Jones did his best work in the middle portion of the fight but saw a lot of that momentum assumably ruined when Glazewski dropped Jones with a left hook.
In the post-fight interview, Jones said he will be back and he felt he won the first four rounds easily. Delusion like that should be ground for a license being revoked, but prepare for Jones to get beat up by Wlodarczyk before 2012 is over.
As A Bay Area, Calif. based writer who has covered the rise of super middleweight Andre Ward since fighting Rubin Williams in 2008, Jones was a name Ward often mentioned in terms of the fighters he looked up to. Ward was even promoted by Jones’ Square Ring Promotions in part early in his career. Now that the young fighters that grew up on prime Jones are hitting their strides as professionals, it will be interesting to see what kind of lasting image that leaves on that generation and everyone younger.
Jones was the first cover guy for the EA Sports “Knockout Kings” reboot “Fight Night” series. His hold on the top of most people’s pound-for-pound rankings held firm for a good stretch of time. The way in which Jones was such a competitor, having played a semi-pro basketball game on the same night as an HBO fight of his, it was hard to predict this is the way his career would go.
It isn’t that he can’t go and do other things. Despite sometimes making some interesting commentary, most people enjoyed Jones in that capacity as an HBO analyst in the prime of his career and even as of late on Boxing After Dark. There are better things for him to do than be a stepping stone of unknown and lightly-regarded fighters.
He’s still a first ballot Hall of Famer, but his reputation has no doubt been tarnished. Nobody would have guessed he’d be close to being a 10-loss fighter at the end of it all, but this is where things have wound up.
At this point, one can only hope this tale doesn’t get much sadder.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.