While Roy Jones Jr. may show flashes of his former self during short workout clips, the fact of the matter is, at 51 years of age, training every day just isn’t possible. So on a day where he allowed his old bones to rest, he decided to swing by Boxing Insider Radio to discuss several topics including how he has to be prepared to either “kill or be killed,” against Mike Tyson on November 28th.
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When you’re a four weight world champion, future first ballot hall of famer and considered by most as the best boxer to ever lace up a pair of gloves, it’s difficult to play second fiddle to anyone. Yet, in the case of Roy Jones Jr., that is exactly what is happening.
During much of the lead up of his contest against former heavyweight titlist Mike Tyson which will take place on November 28th, the Pensacola, Florida native has been summarily dismissed as having no chance against the surly knockout artist.
The reason is simple. For as great as Jones Jr. has been throughout his career, Mike Tyson has left many of his opponents either unconscious or in a vegetative state.
The accolades of Tyson scream dominance. In 1986, at 20 years of age, the Brooklyn native became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history when he destroyed Trevor Berbick in just under two rounds. He would go on to become undisputed world champion just one year later, outpointing Tony Tucker to do so.
Simply put, Tyson dominated the heavyweight division like no other. But while many are in awe of how he ran through his competition with deleterious shot after deleterious shot, Jones Jr. shrugs his shoulders. Dominating a weight class is difficult to do in itself, but making several divisions look like your personal playpen is something else entirely.
“A lot of people don’t really pay attention to the level of dominance that I had. I dominated from middleweight to heavyweight,” said Jones Jr. to BoxingInsider Radio. “Not just did it but I dominated. I didn’t just dominate one weight class, I dominated an area. I dominated a whole area. Anything from 160 to a heavyweight was not safe when I was around.”
Deciding who is the best fighter in the world has always been conjecture. Today’s list mostly varies at the top between fighters such as Canelo Alvarez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Terence Crawford and numerous others. But throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Jones Jr. was the only name that echoed throughout every list. With that being said, his heyday has long since past him.
During the back half of his career, his once impregnable defense was cracked on several occasions by lesser fighters. The hand speed he once possessed which forced viewers to hit the slow down button on their remote’s has dissipated as well.
In short, many believe that Jones Jr. held on far too long, retiring officially in 2018.
For much of his retirement, the four division world champion showed no interest of getting blood stained on his knuckles again. But the moment he became settled into the rocking chair of his retirement life, an opportunity of a life time came calling.
“I always wanted to fight Mike and he always wanted to fight me. But originally, I thought it was just an exhibition. I was called for an exhibition but I was invited to a fight,” said Jones Jr. before laughing.
Jaws hit the deck once Tyson vs Jones Jr. was announced. Fans began celebrating and planning their schedule’s around their November 28th date. They also began planning the funeral of Jones Jr. as soon as Tyson began dropping snippets of his workout videos.
With knockout losses at the hands of Enzo Maccarinelli, Denis Lebedev and Danny Green in the latter portion of his career, getting into an all out war with Tyson isn’t something that Jones Jr. had in mind. With that being said, neither does the California State Athletic Commissioner in Andy Foster.
For several months now, Foster started putting together the safety protocols that would prevent Tyson from living his bloodthirsty moments.
“I wanted to have their assurances that they understand, ‘I don’t care if they spar. I don’t care if they work.’ They are world-class athletes, even still,” said Foster several months ago. “They have a right to earn, and all these types of things. They’re about the same age. We can’t mislead the public as to this is some kind of real fight. They can get into it a little bit, but I don’t want people to get hurt. They know the deal.
“It’s an exhibition,” continued Foster. “They can exhibit their boxing skills, but I don’t want them using their best efforts to hurt each other. They’re going to spar hard, but they shouldn’t be going for a knockout. This isn’t a record-book type of fight. This is not world-championship boxing right now. It’s not what this is. People shouldn’t be getting knocked out. The public can see what kind of shape Roy and Mike are still in.”
Safety and Mike Tyson are oxymorons. Never have the two made sense in the same sentence.
Foster can speak until he’s blue in the face of the safety measures he is taking. Jones Jr. though, is preparing himself to take things to the extreme on fight night.
“When you listen to all that foolishness that they talking about, the real deal is you’re going into the ring with a killer. You either gotta kill him or he’s going to kill you. Don’t pay attention to what Andy Foster is saying. You either gotta kill him or he’s going to kill you.”