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Roy Jones, JR. – The King
By Tom Gray (April 27, 2004) 
Roy Jones JR.
Do you think Roy Jones’ place is secure among the pantheon of ring legends?

He has won over ninety percent of the professional rounds that he has boxed. He has won titles in four weight classes. He was the Boxing Writer’s fighter of the nineties. He has defeated fifteen world champions. He was the first man in over one hundred years to win middleweight and heavyweight titles. He boxed an entire round without being hit and can throw six punches in less than a second, on a floor to ceiling bag. It’s not Superman, as Don King would have you believe, but it’s pretty damn close!

In this writer’s opinion, Roy Jones Jr has no equal in terms of talent. I’m not one for holding up nostalgia as an insurmountable roadblock and although I greatly admire the fighters from yesterday, there is no doubt that Jones can do things that previous greats never dreamed of. There is no way that Robinson, Ali, Leonard, Duran or anyone else can compare with Jones technically and to deny that is simply foolish.

The arguments rage when opposition is analysed, so let’s address that first of all. Sugar Ray Robinson fought countless big names, including La Motta, Basilio, Turpin, Fullmer, Maxim, Armstrong, Graziano, Gavilan, Olson and the list goes on. Do any of these guys beat Jones, in a pound for pound match up? Well, the first five did beat Robinson and I can’t see any of them, laying a glove on the current pound for pound champion. I’m going on what I’ve seen and to my mind there is no comparison and I don’t apologise for that, because I’m only being honest.

Sure they fought every other week back in the old days and Robinson avenged all of these defeats, except Joey Maxim, but my point is that Jones would beat the likes of La Motta like a rubber toy. It wouldn’t be called the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”, more like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”; it would be a blood bath and a mismatch! Everything that Sugar Ray did in his career is encrusted in gold, where as Jones’ achievements are swept under the carpet and labelled inadequate.

Sugar Ray landed the “perfect punch” against Fullmer? What about Jones’ knockouts of Thomas Tate, Montell Griffin or Virgil Hill? Will these moments of genius be remembered in the same way, fifty years from now? Probably not, because the sport isn’t revered in the same way as it was back then, due to the advent of PPV and ridiculous boxing politics which prevent great match ups being made frequently.

When Roy agreed to fight John Ruiz last year, there were many respected journalists who went against him. I never had a doubt that he would school Ruiz, but so many pundits predicted Jones’ downfall. Now, everyone labels the victory meaningless, because Ruiz is an awful champion. It’s actually priceless! Can you imagine if Robinson had defeated a heavyweight? Bert Sugar would still be dancing at the old Madison Square Garden arena, right now!

In less than a month Jones will fight a rematch with the only man to take him to a close decision, Antonio Tarver. Jones has had months to prepare, so there will be no excuses relating to weight problems or anything else. I’ll go out on a limb here, he won’t lose.

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I remember reading that the late Eddie Futch would have picked Louis to beat a prime Muhammad Ali. I respect Futch as a genius and a master of the sweet science, but even he is susceptible to being swayed by hero worship and it is a well known fact that he idolised Louis. The fact is that Ali had huge advantages in hand speed, foot speed, weight, height, skill, reflexes, chin, versatility and endurance, so why pick Louis? I’ll find out in fifty years time, when someone asks me if Jones could have handled “the new superstar” and I’ll probably say no, because it would seem like sacrilege not to.

Think about it!
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