Roy Jones Jr.: It's Time to Say Good Bye
By Mike Leanardi (October 4, 2005) 
Photo © Lamar Standish/
As a Boxing writer I am supposed to be unbiased, I am not supposed to have any emotional interest in fights I write about or cover and I am not supposed to have an emotional attachment to a specific fighter(s). But, at least this one time, I'm going to say "To hell with that," and here's why; I have been a Roy Jones fan for much longer than I have been a boxing writer, because of this I have a lot more experience as the former rather than the later. For that reason, I am going to tell you what Mike Leanardi, the diehard Roy Jones fan, has to say about Tarver/Jones III, rather than tell you what Mike Leanardi the boxing writer has to say.

While the fight went pretty much how I expected it to, that does not mean it makes the outcome any easier to take. As all hardcore boxing fans, such as myself know, we form attachments to fighters. That's right, you even start calling the really special ones "your fighter." You watch them, you cheer for them and you celebrate when they are victorious; however, even more powerful than their victories are their losses. When "your fighter" looses, it is heartbreaking, gut wrenching and demoralizing. For whatever reason, when "your fighter" looses you feel their pain. As a boxing fan, there is nothing worse.

When Antonio Tarver knocked out Roy Jones in their second fight, I was shocked. It was genuinely sad to see "my fighter" knocked out, especially in such a brutal and unexpected fashion. The Glen Johnson fight was just as bad.

Despite Roy's terrible performances in his previous two fights, when it was announced he was coming back to fight Tarver for a third time I was ecstatic. As I broke down the fight in my head in the weeks leading up to it, my mind was telling me "Roy can't win, he doesn't have the legs anymore to box all twelve rounds. Even if he does, will he be able to commit to an attack? Will he be able to get inside on Tarver?" This is quite the opposite to what my heart was telling me, "Roy's back!" and "He's gonna pull it off."

No matter how badly I wanted Roy Jones to win Saturday, I knew deep down that it was not going to happen. While Roy appears to have retained a great deal of the Superman-like skills he once possessed, it became clear throughout the night, he does not have the fight anymore. Roy was more concerned about not being hit Saturday than being able to land clean, effective punches. At one point, Roy threw only eight punches in an entire round, landing only one of them. While I am genuinely glad Roy did not go out there a get himself hurt, as many people expected to happen, I am also saddened by the loss of will by "my fighter," my all-time favorite fighter. I wish Roy at least tried to win the fight down the stretch, in the twelfth round Tarver was out of gas and while Roy was slightly more aggressive than previous rounds, he did not take the necessary risks to attempt to knockout Tarver and win the fight.

While I am glad Roy did not get knocked out and certainly glad that he did not get hurt, watching "my fighter" dance and showboat all the while he was unwilling to engage in combat, was just as sad to watch as his previous knockout losses because I realized, no matter how fast he still might be, the great Roy Jones is gone forever. In multiple post-fight interviews Roy left the door open for him to fight again, I hope he reconsiders because no matter how much he looks the part on the outside, the fighter inside is gone.

Roy thanks for the memories, you'll never be forgotten but it is time to say goodbye.
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