By Mike Coppinger
NEW YORK -- Welterweight contender Mike Jones fought two of his past three fights against tough Mexican Jesus Soto-Karass. Soto-Karass gave Jones all he could handle in their first bout, but Jones took care of him with ease in the rematch earlier this year on HBO.
Now, Jones prepares for yet another rugged fighter -- on HBO PPV against Sebastian Lujan under Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito -- and he's confident his past two bouts with Soto-Karass will serve him well on Dec. 3.
"It helps me out for this fight," said Jones, 28. "Pretty much [Soto-Karass and Lujan] have the same style, but [Lujan] throws a little bit more wider shots. More activity in the ring. But I'm ready for this."
Jones (25-0, 19 KOs) also realizes that this is his toughest fight to date.
"Most definitely my toughest fight yet. Lujan is a real tough guy," said Jones, "This is a big opportunity for me this fight, This is a title eliminator, so when I win this fight, I'll obviously be fighting for the title. So this is everything to me right now."
The 31-year-old Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) of Argentina is best known for having his ear torn off by Antonio Margarito in a 2000 ESPN 2 fight. This past summer, Lujan registered an impressive victory over previously-undefeated Filipino Mark Melligen, a win that vaulted him into the HBO PPV undercard bout with Jones.
"That's crazy. 'Never say quit', he never quits," Jones said of his opponent. "He's tough."
Jones has been itching to fight Andre Berto for a while now, and with the victory will become Berto's mandatory. Jones thinks he matches up quite well with the Florida-based fighter.
"He's got a lot of speed, I have speed," said Jones of Philadelphia. "He's got power, I got power. I think I move my head a lot more than he does."
Fellow Philadelphian Bernand Hopkins gave Jones some words of advice, "Be smart, stick to the jab, keep him to the outside," Jones recalled, adding, "Let the shorter guys run into the shots."
He's excited to fight at MSG for the first time and is confident the fans will see a steadily-improving fighter on Dec. 3.
"I had that second chance when I faced Soto-Karass and I proved to the fans I'm a much better the second time around," said Jones. "This time, I'm going to show the fans I'm a much better fighter than even the last time they saw me."