Friday, November 20, 2009

Roy Jones, Jr. Believes He Has More to Prove

Jones has been fighting for two decades and is destined for the hall of fame. But he fights on in an effort to accomplish more.

Because of the recent preoccupation by the boxing media with Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and this weekend's upcoming fight between Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic – many other promotions and somewhat newsworthy events have been relegated to the back burner.

One of the events neglected from coverage is that Roy Jones, Jr. will fight outside the friendly confines of the United States for the first time when he meets Australia's Danny Green for a minor cruiserweight title on Dec. 2 in Sydney.

Jones, 40, turned pro way back in 1989. Yet despite several attempts over the years by various promoters, managers and fighters to lure him overseas, Jones never made the journey. In fact, the furthest he has performed from his native Pensacola, Florida was a 2002 bout versus Clinton Woods that took place in Portland, Oregon.

“It's going to be unchartered territory for me,” says Jones in regards to fighting on a different continent. “It's a big event for me because it's the first time I will have ever fought as a pro abroad. This will be a fight that is virgin territory for me.”

After being robbed of the gold medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea – Jones vowed to never fight overseas again. But he claims one of the reasons for the decision to fight halfway around the world after all these years is to quell the critics and settle a question in his own mind.

“I'm still hungry and I've still got things to prove,” said Jones. “I want to prove that I can go outside the country and win. My job is to try and knock Danny Green out.”

Jones has struggled since 2003 when made history by thrashing Johnny Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title. He became the first middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in over 100 years, but since that victory he has lost 4 of his last 10 fights and was knocked out twice.

“To me, fighting in Australia is very exciting,” said Jones of his continued motivation. “Some people asked why I still fight and it's to participate in events like this and also because I wanted to get my body back to being right. I wanted to get back to being my old self...get back to where I was with my body.”

Jones attributes his losses and lackluster performances to the fact that his body was somehow damaged by the weight fluctuation he endured in between his 2003 fights against Ruiz and Antonio Tarver. Jones weighed 193 for Ruiz. But eight months later struggled mightily to scale 175 for the first Tarver fight – a fight he barely won. He then lost his next three fights in a row.

“I really feel right now that I'm body is back and I feel good,” said Jones. He has scored two stoppage wins in a row over Omar Sheika in March and Jeff Lacy in August. He has rebounded nicely since a decision loss to Joe Calzaghe last November. The Sheika win was the first time Jones had stopped an opponent in almost seven years and he was impressive in his recent dismantling of Lacy.

“I really needed to bet back to being right,” says Jones. “I needed to get my old self back. Once I get to feeling like this, if somebody can beat me when I feel like this I can accept it. But until I got back to being my old self I wasn't able to accept those defeats because I knew I wasn't right. If someone can beat me when I feel like this, then I could accept it and walk away.”

Should Jones prove victorious against Green, he is tentatively scheduled to face Bernard Hopkins early next year in a rematch of their 1993 bout.

November 2009

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