Jones - Tarver: Who Will Win This Epic Trilogy?
By Oleg Bershadsky (September 30, 2005) 
Photo © HBO-PPV
Who will win this epic trilogy is the question on everyone’s mind this week. Jones was once considered the best pound for pound boxer in the world, while Tarver was a virtual unknown at that point in boxing history. And just like that, one day it all changed and their respective roles were reversed in a heartbeat. With one left hook Tarver was able to dethrone the king and take his place as perhaps one of the top pound for pound fighters. A lot has happened since those two met last, in that time Roy Jones Jr. suffered another embarrassing knockout loss at the hands of Glen Johnson, the second of his career. Tarver also went on to lose to Johnson just as Roy did, only to come back and win a tough rematch. So now these two fighters are back at square one, except this time there’s no clear cut favorite and it’s anyone’s game.

Tarver would seem to have the psychological advantage coming into this fight. His knockout of Jones and his hard fought win over Glen Johnson should only boost his confidence. Jones, on the other hand, left boxing after two devastating knockouts that are surely to still linger in the back of his mind. Can Jones overcome the impact of his two losses to Tarver and Johnson? The answer to this question only Roy Jones knows and if he can put behind him those two defeats then he will be a hard man to beat.

Just as important in this fight will be the physical condition of each fighter. It is still uncertain how much each boxer has left in his “gas tank.” Jones suffered two brutal knockdowns which could possibly affect him physically. Tarver had two physically trying fights against Johnson but it doesn’t appear that the two bouts took a heavy toll on him. It is also important to mention that both fighters are well in their thirties, a fact that can possibly come into play if the fight turns out to be a long and brutal affair. This will not be an easy fight for either boxer and both better be prepared to for the toughest fight of their respective careers.

Roy Jones Jr. has never been the most technically sound fighter, and that’s because he really never had to. Only Roy could fight with both hands down around his waist while being able to dodge all his opponent’s punches and at the same time being able to practically land all his blows at will. This was the case in the not so distant past, but at the present moment those lightning fast reflexes of his have seemed to have faded some. If this is really the case then Jones will either have to change his style and fight in a more conventional way or face the possibility of being exposed to Tarver’s precise counter punching. How much of Roy’s athleticism is left will be a key for him in winning this fight.

It is never easy to come back from retirement and more often than not, that step proves to be a foolish one for the returning boxer. Most boxers will tell you that in order to be the best you have to love what you do and have the desire to do it. I’m not sure that Jones is coming back for the right reasons because at times it seems like he is more concerned about his bruised ego than anything else, but I may be wrong. In any case, if Jones has once again regained his love for boxing and most importantly his desire to compete, then he should be a formidable threat to Tarver or anyone else who stands in his way. Tarver, on the other hand, seems sure of what he wants to accomplish with this fight and that’s to make history by beating the man many see as the most dominant pound for pound fighter of his era. This fight is definitely a must see, as this might be the last time we get to check out Roy Jones Jr. in action, and considering that both boxers view this as a must win, as the defining fight of their careers, it is almost guaranteed to be a good fight.

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