The night of Saturday, September 25th was supposed to mark the resurrection of one of boxing's leading men. Roy Jones Jr. was expected to take back his rightful place up on the Light Heavyweight throne. It wasn't meant to be, however, as he was knocked out by journeyman and current IBF World Champion Glen Johnson.
It was a very sad state of affairs to see Roy Jones, who reigned supreme for so many years as one of the Pound for Pound best fighters in the World, come to a screeching halt as Glen Johnson landed an overhand right that canceled him for the night. Roy laid still, unable to move or get to his feet to attempt to beat the count. It's evident that Jones will no longer be King of the Light Heavyweight division, let alone be a challenge for his conqueror Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver, who sat ringside.
Roy was in complete denial about what happened against Antonio Tarver, and vowed he would not only avenge his defeat to Tarver but would return the favor in the same manner, via knockout. No matter what he tried to make himself believe, the effects of the Tarver fight were ever present early on, as Jones did almost nothing but move from one ring post to another, offering nothing in return as he allowed Johnson to pound on him round after round.
Jones showed not even a mere glance of the fighter that ruled the Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and even captured a portion of the Heavyweight Championship. He appeared as though he was just waiting to get knocked out. I guess this is what they mean when they say 'a fighter growing old before your eyes.'
The skills that once separated him from the pack no longer existed; he seemed to fall apart and deteriorate right before the eyes of millions of viewers. Who is this guy in the ring tonight imitating Roy Jones? I asked myself. What happened? With each passing round I tried to hold on to my faith in Jones... I told myself he is going to do something spectacular; yet in my heart I knew I was hoping against hope. This just in no way could be Roy Jones Jr., the Roy Jones I once admired, looked up to and considered one of those special fighters that comes along once every ten years... Well, from what I was watching, he was no more, that Roy was an afterthought. The Roy Jones I once knew and looked up to was the pre-Tarver version.
The Roy that fought tonight lived up to one of the earlier labels placed upon him, 'Reluctant Roy," as he appeared to want no part of physical contact. I guess I have only heard the stories of the great fighters and how the day finally came for them to say it's over, even if in their own minds it wasn't. Fighters like Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and many more who came before them. Roy Jones was that guy tonight, he went from being a special fighter to someone less than ordinary.
It's strange how a fighter can grab a hold of the hearts of so many fans. My phone was ringing off the hook with Jones' fans pouring their hearts out to me, with hurt and disbelief, unable or unwilling to accept the harsh reality that time is up for Roy and it doesn't matter how hard they wished it isn't so... It doesn't matter if they choose to hold on and cling to the great moments when Roy amazed with his dazzling hand-speed, his flashy combinations, his brashness, and even his bigger than life ego.
Roy Jones Jr. gave us many great years of boxing entertainment, from playing basketball before one of his title fights to doing what he called Cock Fighting, as he would put both hands behind his back then unleashed a vicious right hand to KO his opponent. We even got to meet his alter ego R J, the bad guy you didn't want to piss off, the one he claimed to have released on Montell Griffin in the rematch.
With all that being said, on Saturday night September 25, 2004, Roy wrote a new version of his song "Ya'll Musta Forgot", this one entitled "He Musta Forgot," and he fell victim to its lyrics, as he did none of the things we have become accustomed to and expect from one of boxing's shining stars.
No one knows what the future holds for Roy Jones Jr. but the Roy that gave us all those great moments in time, he's gone forever. It's over with...
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