By Jake Donovan
Resurgent welterweight contender Carson Jones picked his seventh straight win – all by knockout - after scoring a fourth round stoppage of Ricardo Williams Jr on Thursday evening in Oklahoma City.
Jones scored three knockdowns en route to becoming the first fighter to stop Williams Jr., who had won nine straight since returning to the ring in 2008.
The win nets Jones a regional title as he advances to 33-8-3 (23KO).The Oklahoma City native is now in prime position to challenge for a title as early as next year. Ranked ahead of the 25-year old are Mike Jones and Randall Bailey, who are working out details for a vacant title fight in the first quarter of 2012.
Heading in the opposite direction, Williams Jr. falls to 19-3 (10KO) with the loss as he finds new ways to add to an already disappointing pro career.
High expectations followed his run in the 2000 Summer Games, in which he captured a silver medal for the U.S. Olympic boxing squad. The Cincinnati native signed a lucrative deal with then-new promoter DiBella Entertainment, complete with a seven-figure signing bonus.
The letdowns soon followed, first in the gym as he literally grew fat and lazy. Then came the shocking points loss to Juan Valenzuela on HBO in 2003, an occurrence that was trumped only by his equally stunning loss to middle-aged Manning Galloway a year later.
Williams managed one more win before being sent to prison for three years on cocaine distribution charges before returning to the ring in 2008. A nine-fight win streak followed, but none of which prepared him for one of the sport’s greater Cinderella stories in recent memory.
The ubiquitous Jones – who won his fifth fight in 2011 - has shown the very trait Williams has so greatly struggled with in his adult life; the ability to overcome adversity. The early portions of his career, which began in 2004, were spent grossly mismanaged before hooking up with renowned manager and matchmaker Bobby Dobbs in 2008.
Jones has lost just twice since Dobbs has taken over the managerial reins in his career – a tough points loss to Jesus Soto Karass in 2009 and a split decision loss to Rogerio Pereira last September.
The latter loss marked the last time Jones competed at junior middleweight, dropping down one weight class to the far more lucrative welterweight division. Seven more wins have followed, including an eye-catching seventh round knockout of Said Ouali three months ago in the non-televised portion of Floyd Mayweather’s return to the ring when he stopped Victor Ortiz in four rounds.
Becoming the first fighter to stop Williams Jr. is just one more chapter to add to the constantly rewritten book that has become Jones’ career. From journeyman to spoiler now to welterweight contender, it’s been a wild ride for the 25-year old and with the best still yet to come.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]