|Roy Jones: “Keep Fighting, That’s What We Do, We Fight Until the End!!”
By Danny Serratelli at ringside (Jan 21, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Bob Kolb)
The fight at Madison Square Garden between Roy Jones Jr. and Felix Trinidad was very entertaining, at least until the half waypoint. Tito won the first two rounds and after those 2 rounds it looked like Roy may be in trouble. My first thoughts were of great warrior Arturo Gatti who recently seemed fine during training and coming into his fight with Alfonso Gomez, but after a few rounds it was apparent that Arturo was a step behind all night. Roy looked like he couldn’t pull the trigger, and appeared that he would have to rely on his will and intelligence more than his skill.
It was a good fight, at least for a while, better than many anticipated. Early on Tito did more subtle work, banging to the body and walking his man down; while it appeared Roy had a hard time getting warmed up. Roy started to showboat in the 3rd round in an apparent attempt to motivate him and steal some of the crowd, in a nutshell, get his groove on. The referee warned Jones for it, but Roy didn’t care. When Roy was asked about the showboating early in the fight he would later say he knew he had Pensacola in the house and he would not let them down. It seemed to work as Tito had a difficult time winning any more rounds the rest of the way as Jones found his comfort zone.
A knockdown in the 7th round and then another knockdown later in the fight took away any chance that Trinidad had of winning on the cards. The early rope a dope Jones was trying didn’t seem to be working. However, Roy did what he did his whole career, he picked his shots and was brilliant defensively, particularly on the ropes when Trinidad did some solid bodywork. Trinidad was unable to land anything big upstairs as Roy rolled with and did not absorb the full impact from the few decent left hooks that Tito was able to land. Roy had fun boxing the last few rounds like the old school RJ. It was surprising that Roy had a respectable amount of fans there. Madison Square Garden is usually Tito’s house and if
a fighter brings enough fans to compete with the Tito fans, that is impressive in itself. It was also very impressive that Jones, a 39 year old former heavyweight was able to weigh in under the 170 limit for this fight
While it is clear that Roy Jones best days are behind him, as are Felix Trinidad’s, they both showed that they are true professionals by coming in shape and giving their all to fight their fights. Tito’s best days were about 10 years and 25 pounds ago. Trinidad has only fought 3 times in almost 6 years so this fight must be looked at with knowledge of both fighters’ histories. You cannot say much to criticize either of these two all time great fighters. The fact is, Tito was always a strong fighter and a tremendous pressure fight has always had trouble with fast slick boxers, and Jones is a natural light heavyweight, who even won a heavyweight title.
Jones also peaked in his career 10-15 years ago, and must be commended for coming down to 170 pounds to make this mega fight for the fans with Felix Trinidad. While both are past their primes, they still showed what true professionals are all about and many young fighters can learn from them. You cannot help but to respect Roy at this stage. In his prime no one could touch him, but now after devastating knockout losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, and people questioning his chin, there is a lot more on the line whenever Roy steps into the ring.
In the end the scores read 116-110 (Tom Kaczmarek), 117-110 (Julie Lederman) and 116-110 (Nelson Vazquez). The Doghouseboxing/Brickcityboxing card read 117-110 when the final bell rang, all for Roy Jones Jr.
The fights Roy should be looking for are a 4th bout with Antonio Tarver and a rematch with Glen Johnson. Roy has nothing else to prove, he walked over EVERYONE, for many years, but was beaten twice by Tarver and roughed up by Johnson in an unbelievable knockout loss. At this stage it appears that neither of those men will make anything close to what they would make fighting Jones if they chose to fight anyone else. Those fights are not necessary, Roy can hang up the gloves at this stage, but if he wants to stick around, he should seriously consider avenging those losses. Alton Merkerson said after the fight that with Roy in the shape he was in for this fight, he is still capable of beating anyone. People will buy those fights; it just boils down to if they want to make them happen.
Trinidad should probably hang the gloves up for good. He came into this fight heavier than Roy, and it appears obvious he cannot make it down to any of the weight classes where his knockout power was devastating. However, because of his recent inactivity, his experience and the legions of fans anything is possible regarding Tito’s future.
It was a good night for boxing, although many purists viewed it as a sad night for boxing. Two great champions, past their primes, but they came to lay it all on the line. Roy has stated that while he wasn’t willing to travel into other top fighters backyards when he was “the man”, he would consider it now that he is now longer considered to be the best pond for pound fighter at 39 years old. At that point Joe Calzaghe’s name comes up, along with a fight in Wales. People may think that fight makes no sense at this time and worry about Jones, but the same can be said for when Ali came back and went to Zaire Africa to fight the (then indestructible machine) George Foreman. Another factor to consider is that Calzaghe is not exactly the youngest fighter himself, however he has looked totally awesome in his last few fights.
Both Trinidad and Jones obviously still draw at the box office, so if they decide to go on with their boxing careers, more power to them. If they decide to hang up the gloves, they are both definitely Hall of Famers as soon as they become eligible. Both of their futures at this point are not clear. However, despite what all the negative boxing press and boxing haters contentions, this fight was good for boxing. Boxing needs champions to fill the shoes of all the great champions who continue to fight late in their careers and there are many, who are on the verge of stepping in. Everyone in boxing, the fighters, promoters, managers, press, etc… must do their part to help the sport regain the popularity that it had for the first from when the Marques of Queensbury rules were first published back in 1867 up until recently when most of the networks and sponsors that boxing had for decades have slowly abandoned the great sport.
IBF N. AMERICAN & WBA FEDELATIN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: GOLOTA vs. MOLLO
Supervisor: Peter Wilkins, IBF Jose Oliver Gomez, WBA
Referee: Randy Newman, N.Y.
Judges: Bob Gilson, N.Y. 116-110 G
Tom Schreck, N.Y. 116-112 G
Robin Taylor, N.Y. 118-109 G
WBA INTERCONTINENTAL SUPER WELTERWELTER CHAMPIONSHIP: KARMAZIN vs. BUNEMA
Supervisor: Aurelio Feingo, WBA
Referee: Johnny Callas, Conn.
Judges: Don Ackerman, N.Y. 88-83 K
Billy Costello, N.Y. 89-82 K
Wynn Kintz, N.Y. 87-84 K
WBC CONTINENTAL AMERICA SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: CORLEY vs. ALEXANDER
Supervisor: Steve Wolochow, WBC
Referee: Gary Rosato, Pa.
Judges: John McKaie, N.Y. 116-111 A
Don Trella, Conn. 118-109 A
Steve Weisfeld, N.J. 118-109 A.