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Join Date: Dec 2010
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Insiderís take: Is Roy Jones Jr. ruining his legacy?
As Roy Jones Jr. prepares to fight tough, heavy-handed cruiserweight, Denis Lebedev, in Russia this Saturday, not many fans are giving the veteran four-division champ much of a chance. As a matter of fact, most consider the match-up to be an embarrassing mismatch in Lebedev's favor and many are even voicing concerns about Jones' safety and well-being in this contest.
But back in the day, Roy Jones Jr. was untouchable.
It takes a special fighter to be listed among the Top Five all-time greats in two separate weight classes, yet Roy Jones Jr., the boxing phenom from Pensacola, Florida currently has that distinction, as well as a sure-fire first ballot entry into the Hall of Fame.
Outside of his all-time status in the super middleweight and light heavyweight division, consider the fact that he can also boast a world title run at middleweight and an unlikely title grab in the heavyweight division.
Along the way, he beat the likes of Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, and John Ruiz, who counted themselves among the eighteen current, former, or future world champions Jones would defeat over the course of a twenty-two year career.
Putting record and belts aside, Jones just may have been the most physically gifted athlete to ever compete in the sport. To Jones, rattling off eight-punch combinations while easily evading all incoming shots was as effortless as walking through the ropes.
A prime Roy Jones Jr. was laser-fast, razor-sharp, and as dominating a fighter as had ever been seen in boxing. Making fellow first-ballot Hall of Famers like Hopkins and Toney look absolutely pedestrian was a clear indication that Jones was, indeed, something truly special.
Unfortunately, the 1990's Fighter of the Decade is at least seven or eight years past his prime now and his vaunted speed has been reduced to being somewhat average. As a fighter who buttered his bread with almost super human reflexes, Jones has not adapted well to playing within the physical limitations of mere mortals.
Whereas fighters like Hopkins and Toney are still chugging along, finding success well into their forties due to their supreme skill set and technical knowledge, the forty-two year old Jones still fights like he did in his primeó except without the actual athleticism to execute his style.
Always reliant on his speed and reflexes to win, Jones never developed a solid base in boxing fundamentals and, now, as his abilities have diminished with age, he has become a sitting duck for just about every fighter anywhere near world class.
Jones is 5-6 in his last eleven and, among his losses, has suffered three brutal knockouts (against Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, and Danny Green) as well as three one-sided decision losses (vs. Joe Calzaghe, Bernard Hopkins, and Antonio Tarver). Meanwhile, all of his wins during this run have been against either faded veterans like Felix Trinidad and Jeff Lacy or overmatched journeymen, such as Omar Sheika, Anthony Hanshaw, and Prince Badi Ajamu.
Now talking with a slight slur and moving in the ring as though burdened with fifteen lb. ankle weights, it's almost painful to watch what Jones has become.
Outside the ring, the swagger is still there. Jones will rap and, generally, talk the talk, but the fans aren't buying it anymore. It's hard to listen to pre-fight bravado from a fighter whose recent efforts have resulted in brain-rattling knockouts and/or passive, one-sided losses. Back in his prime, the fans would eat up Jones' rapper persona, classifying him as the new era Muhammad Ali. Nowadays, most just roll their eyes and move on, treating him like the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner who likes to brag about his athletic prowess, yet can barely lift himself off the sofa.
The big question, though, is whether Jones sticking around well beyond his prime is hurting his legacy as one of the all-time greats. How many times can fans see a legend battered and embarrassed before it starts to override the images of him dominating and thriving? Is it possible to be shocked and awed by a fighter and, in the same lifetime, also feel pity and remorse for that same figure without it affecting his legacy?
Is Roy Jones Ruining His Legacy? In this writer's mind, no. But as the greatness of the prime Jones fades from memory, this new, less-than-stellar version begins to occupy more and more room in our collective unconscious, gradually overshadowing the way he should be remembered.
What you guys think?
Join Date: May 2008
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No, not really. Most people, who have common sense....realize Roy's decline came after his fight with Ruiz. Dropping 20-25 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks is no joke, especially at 34. Im not a doubter of his chin so to speak, he just got caught with a great shot. The Johnson knockout.....he got blasted on the wrong spot on the side of the head...and that was it. I do feel like he is holding on too long, but he is the only man since 1896 to go from middleweight to heavy weight and win world championships. Then, he is the only man..to back down to light heavy and regain the title after a hard fought close fight with Tarver. That can't be erased....those of us who watched Jones live in his prime know better than to say he is ruining his legacy. It's cemented. Also, those of us know the fighters he lost too from 2004 on also know, even Roy's haters know.....that Roy Jones Jr in his prime wouldve smashed the likes of Danny Green, Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson. I think he would've had a tough go with Calzaghe between 2001-2003, but the supermiddleweight Roy Jones, the one who fought Toney...wouldve knocked Joe out or convincingly won. But, that is the danger of fighting past your prime and leaving these questions in the air. I think Tarver knows he got Roy at the right time, and I give him the most sincere sredit for their second fight result. I dont know too many that wouldve have stood after taking that shot, matter of fact none. It was a perfectly timed punch, that was it. The funny part is Roy got up. But, no.....he isnt tarnishing his legacy, thats cemented in my opinion....top 15 All time Great...you cant convincingly argue that!!
Join Date: Oct 2009
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He's not to people who saw his era.
But he is causing kids or new fans of the sport to simply not realise how good he actually was.
They don't understand that there was once a time where people genuinely would bet everything they had that Roy Jones would never lose a fight. He was THAT good.
New fan's simply don't realise or understand this and it has something to do with the fact he is still fighting at 40+ years old and losing to people that wouldn't last 5 rounds with a prime Roy.
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