It’s all about Roy Jones Jr.
By Rob Scott (August 5, 2005) 
Photo © HBO
In many businesses nowadays employers like to offer early retirement incentives. We all know that the premise for their ‘out with the old and in with the new’ proposal is one based on the prospect of paying new in-coming workers lower wages than that of veteran workers; but at the same time, it is an offer that would enable older workers to go out and enjoy life and what life has to offer.  Boxing’s early retirement incentive is the increased prospect of serious injury if a fighter remains in the game; an elongated stay in the sport would inevitably prevent fighters from enjoying life’s offerings.

The problem with fighters and the average everyday Joe is they have put so much into their jobs that they don’t have a clue how to do anything other what they have done – work. An alarming amount of retirees just shrivel up and literally die because life after work, to them, is actually no life at all.

The return of Roy Jones Jr. has had many scratching their head and asking the question, Why? With his promotional company, his record label and his on-air dates with HBO, one would think that the 36-year-old Jones would have plenty to occupy his mind as well as his time during his hiatus from active competition. So then why not turn his in-ring hiatus into something permanent?

Maybe the limelight is the magnet that is attracting him to make the return to the ring; it does have a pull that many fighters have found impossible to resist. To that, a definite truth is there; but it’s one that is not so much of him wanting that supposed limelight back, but of how his limelight was instantly dimmed. The thrill is gone, and how that thrill was taken away has definitely hampered his hiatus.

You can see it when he covers the fights for HBO; he is like a person who has an angel on one shoulder saying to be humble and a devil on the other trying to bring out that old boastful Roy Jones. The problem is, after being knocked out in his last two outings, the boasts have been more like a dog whose bark is worse than his bite.

He was no dictator, but his fall from grace is like that of Saddam Hussein where the ex-Iraqi leader ruled his land with an iron fist, only to be diminished to living in a hole in the ground. Now we definitely know Jones isn’t living in any hole, but his iron fisted rule was definitely taken away with those back-to-back knockout losses in ‘04 to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson – and a hole would have been a good place for him to hide his shock, anger and disappointment.

Now I’m only making the comparison between Jones and Hussein because of the head trips that both must be going through. Going from point A to point Z or crashing to the ground after living so high is something that is indeed boggling their minds. How they were taken out of power has left both dumfounded.

Saddam Hussein doesn’t have the ability to confront the new powers that be and turn back time, but Jones has the chance on October 1st at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to reclaim his throne when he faces the universally recognized light heavyweight champion, and the man who originally knocked him from grace, Antonio Tarver in a rubber match. It’s his chance to redeem himself and then leave the sport more on his own terms – which is his true and ultimate goal. Being one that has always done things his way, it’s hard for him to accept anything less.

Throughout his career Jones has shown that he is a self satisfying fighter and what the fans think of him doesn’t overshadow what he feels for the third personed Roy Jones Jr. Make no mistake about it, he is his worst critic. This is for him. This is for self. He is determined to write his own final chapter. Whether it’s being domineering at the negotiation table or dominating inside the ring, it’s this mentality that has led to his return. It’s a mentality that will eventually leave him self-vindicated or self-vilified. Why is he making a return? It’s all about Roy Jones Jr.
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