by Mark Staniforth
Last week Riddick Bowe announced his comeback at the age of 43. This week, it is the turn of Roy Jones Junior to deny the passage of time in an ill-advised quest for one last glimpse of greatness.
There was a time not so long ago when a Jones fight eclipsed almost any other sporting event on the planet: certainly, it would have knocked Amir Khan's fight in Washington on Saturday night down to bit-part billing.
But while Khan hogs the limelight in America's capital, Jones will be facing Max Alexander - a fighter boasting five defeats and one draw from his last six fights - at the Civic Centre in Atlanta.
What is more, the former world middleweight, super-middleweight, light-heavyweight and, most enthrallingly, heavyweight champion will be fighting for the ludicrous UBO intercontinental cruiserweight crown.
Even in the woolly world of boxing sanctioning bodies, the Universal Boxing Organization are obscure. Their last recorded heavyweight champion was a Hungarian called Adrian Rajkai, who fought mostly as a super-middleweight.
While it is ludicrous that Jones should be lowering himself to such depths in the mistaken belief that a second-rate cruiserweight crown might count for something, what is more concerning is the state of his health.
Alexander has failed to stop any of his opponents since 2006, but no matter. Jones has lost his last three fights, and his last bout in May he was hammered unconscious by Russian Denis Lebedev in Moscow.
Jones, it is clear, is barely even a shadow of the super-slick, future Hall-Of-Famer who dominated through the divisions and capped his extraordinary career by moving up to take the WBA heavyweight crown off John Ruiz in 2003.
There is a school of thought that says it was all downhill from there. Having bulked up by more than three stones to face Ruiz, he found that in shedding that load he lost some of his legendary sharpness too.
Although he clawed a majority verdict over Antonio Tarver in his next fight, he was then knocked out in round two of a rematch, and went straight into a showdown with Glen Johnson, when he was stopped in nine.
Defeat in a rubbermatch with Tarver all but ended his career as a top-level performer, although his name was good enough that Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins both subsequently dragged him back into the pay-per-view arena to score facile wins.
Therein lies a lesson for all great fighters. Had Jones announced his retirement in the ring after beating Ruiz, and stayed true to his statement, he would today be held up as one of the finest fighters in history.
The sad fact is, while his Hall Of Fame place is guaranteed, Jones' attempts to embellish his status still further have been damaged on almost every subsequent occasion he has laced on gloves.
But Jones is adamant - despite all indications to the contrary - that he is still good enough to win a version of the world cruiserweight title in a division which is hardly bursting with big names.
Jones said: "I want to win the cruiserweight title. I've won everything but a cruiserweight title. Those of you who think I'm washed up, that's cool. I am going to shock the world with my agility and skill level."
Nothing good can come out of Saturday night. A great will either get embarrassed by a club fighter, or else secure such an easy win that it lends further succour to his misplaced belief that he still has what it takes to regain former glories.
The reality is that having the UBO's less-than-prestigious intercontinental cruiserweight title wrapped around his waist ought to give Jones the clearest indication yet that it is time to call it a day.
Mark Staniforth covers boxing for PA Sport.
Tags: Roy Jones Jr