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Jones/Tarver II Has Classic Written All Over It
By KS Rangi (May 14, 2004) 
Tarver Vs Jones Jr. 1
Photo ©
Before I begin with what I have to say about the fight a quick side comment: Why is it that when Roy Jones, JR. fights no one plans their weekend around it the way they do when De La Hoya or Tyson fight? He’s the third man in the trio of most famous boxers of their era, but whenever he fights it’s just like any other big HBO fight night, nothing more. I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that in the past his opponents have included a fireman, a gym teacher, and a homeless man, but still…..

This fight has the ingredients to make a classic. Usually such high regard and anticipation is reserved for the smaller weights, where we can be certain the two combatants will bash each others brains in good if they hope to return to TV, but if the first fight was any indication, Jones, JR. and Tarver will put on a show to remember.

The first thing that people need to realize is that RJJ’s weight loss excuse was complete and utter B.S. Even if he did have trouble losing weight (whose fault is that anyway?), every fighter gets an injection of the greatest problem solving drug in the world the second they step out of the locker room and start walking towards the ring: adrenaline. Roy is the same guy who has fought with a broken wrist, a broken hand, and a hurt shoulder. (Listen to his rap song “Y’all Must’ve Forgot” for the complete list of injuries he has overcome in the ring). The point is that if he had gone through adversity before and come out looking so remarkable, then the only explanation for the welt covering the left side of his face after the last fight was Tarver’s brilliance. This can be corroborated by the fact that RJJ, for no apparent reason, loves to stand on the ropes at any given time during any given fight. It’s just that against the Clinton Woods’s and Glen Kelly’s of the world it doesn’t really matter where he stands.

Personally I found it surprising that Roy accepted this rematch. Sure it’s pay-per-view, but the risk to reward just doesn’t add up. Does he really think Tarver will be more scared of him this time than last? Or that somehow Tarver’s height and reach will have shrunk? The truth is that Tarver will improve immeasurably. There is no way that coming into the last fight Tarver could not have been intimidated by Roy Jones, JR., more so the myth and the legend, as hyped by HBO and Nike. It would be unnatural not to have such respect, however damaging it may have been to his cause. Well, this time you can forget Tarver believing anything about RJJ other than what he remembers from last November. It is a great advantage to him that he has demystified Roy. Obviously RJJ is not afraid of Tarver either, a critical element in making for a legendary night. But it is Tarver with long arms and style that gave Roy extreme difficulty the first time, and as everyone knows if a fighter can give you fits one time, then in all likelihood he has your number.

What does all this mean? It means that Tarver, not Jones, JR., as he would like people to believe, has all of the upside going into this fight.

And what does that mean? It means that Roy Jones, JR., the man who has been ranked #1 on the mythical pound for pound list for the past decade will enter the ring with serious risk of defeat for the first time since he fought James Toney. It means we will finally get to see RJJ matched against an opponent of equal caliber who believes in his heart that he can win. It means Roy Jones, JR. will finally have a fight.

I doubt anyone ever accused RJJ of being afraid or unwilling to fight—that would almost certainly constitute a low blow. It’s just that Jones, JR. has always maintained a brilliant balance between Roy the person and Roy the fighter. And RJJ the person has always instructed him that there is no need to fight any decent level of opposition, especially when he can get so much money, respect, and power fighting bums. Still, that is not to say that he can’t fight good fighters. No doubt he can, and he will on Saturday night.
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