Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Mike Jones is Focused, Geared and Ready For Prime Time

By Jake Donovan

Everything is finally falling into place for Mike Jones.

It’s been a rough road to notoriety for the unbeaten Philly welterweight. His first taste of televised exposure came on the previous version of Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo, one of the few African American fighters to be regularly showcased on a series geared towards a predominantly Hispanic market.

From there, it was on to ‘Top Rank Live’ once Russell Peltz, a Hall-of-Fame promoter and matchmaker from the City of Brotherly Love, agreed to allow Top Rank into the fold. The move led to a televised undercard appearance on a Manny Pacquiao-led pay-per-view show last November. He nearly flopped in his first huge break, punching himself out after having Jesus Soto Karass out on his feet early in the fight, and barely escaping with a disputed decision win.

Jones performed much better in the HBO-televised rematch three months later, earning airtime in a supporting capacity to Nonito Donaire’s highlight reel knockout of Fernando Montiel. That Donaire delivered one of the more memorable knockouts of the year left Jones’ own performance something of an afterthought.

The next big break in his career will come this weekend, when he received airtime in the preliminary portion of Saturday’s pay-per-view rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden. However, even that came with its share of anxious moments, given the uncertainty surrounding Margarito’s license status in the state of New York.

All fears wouldn’t be alleviated until a Thursday afternoon hearing that ran well into the early evening, when it was revealed that his license application was approved and the show would remain in New York as planned.

As far as Jones was concerned, there was nothing at all to be concerned about. Call it a gut feeling he had, but something about his preliminary bout with Sebastian Lujan has the rangy welterweight feeling good about the direction of his career.

“I just read about what was going on, but never really bothered to think about what would happen until a decision was ready to be announced,” Jones (25-0, 19KO) said of the entire ordeal that was even covered by HBO’s 24/7 camera crew. “It didn’t get to that point for me because I felt positive that it was going to be there (at Madison Square Garden) when all was said and done.”

The reason for Jones’ sudden optimism is the series of events that have followed the announcement of his appearing on what has become the year’s most anticipated show. When the opportunity was first presented to face Lujan, Jones and his handlers gladly accepted it without truly knowing what would follow with a win.

Jones and his handlers now know what’s at stake.

In the wake of Andre Berto vacating his alphabet welterweight title, Jones’ bout with Lujan has now become a sanctioned final eliminator. The winner will face mandatory challenger Randall Bailey for the vacant title sometime early in 2012.

With two fights on the card that are rematches to previous Fight of the Year candidates and another slot dedicated to all-action lightweight Brandon Rios, the Jones-Lujan bout threatened to merely serve as ‘just’ the fourth televised fight on the card.

Jones was perfectly content with just being seen on a high profile card. Now he gets exposure for a fight that has him one step closer towards living his dream.

“It feels good,” Jones admits of the raised stakes. “I’m always down to fight anyone willing to get in the ring, which is why we took this fight – he said ‘yes. Now, I’m one step to getting a title, so that means a lot to me.”

Carrying even greater meaning is the fight coming weeks after the sport lost one of its legend, a man whom Jones considered a mentor and a true friend.

The death of former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier earlier this month shook the boxing world, including Jones, who credits Frazier for helping him tremendously through the early years of his career. He now hopes to pay respect to his memory by delivering the performance of a lifetime.

“Joe was a great mentor and a good friend. I’ll always carry him with me,” Jones says.

Perhaps even more fitting is the fact that the fight to put Jones within arm’s length of a title shot comes in a venue that helped define Frazier’s greatness.

“Madison Square Garden is a great boxing venue, and where Joe won the biggest fight of his life (first fight with Muhammad Ali). A lot of all-time greats fought there before me. Key word is great,” Jones points out. “I look to show greatness.”

What he’ll have to show is his best stuff in order to get past Lujan, a sturdy veteran who has competed at the sport’s highest level. While tempting to think ahead to a possible vacant title fight showdown with Bailey, Jones remains grounded enough to take things one fight at a time.

“For me, it’s not tough to look past (Lujan). If I don’t take care of business, there won’t be no ahead.”

A setback at this stage wouldn’t be disastrous for the 28-year old, who is in the prime of his career.

Still, it’s a lot easier to reach your destination when you’re not forced to claw your way back.

That is what motivates Jones to win and win big on Saturday night. 
 
“It seems like everything has gone as planned. My career is coming along nicely and I’m learning. I’m looking forward to Saturday, and fighting in prime time in front of a big crowd and for the fans at home to see.”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Kayo on 11-28-2011

..........Who?

Comment by jjbj2 on 11-28-2011

Mike Jones, you deserve it and I hope you perform greatly. Don't take Lujan lightly the guy went toe-to-toe against Margarito. And he fought a lot of top contenders too. So, please stay grounded and deliver on your promise. Looking…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Vijender Singh Inks Promotional Pact With Top Rank News: Christopher Diaz, Bryant Perrella, Tori Nelson, Luis Lebron Hearn: Hooker is The Standout at 140, I Want Defense in Dallas Broner: F*** The Money, I'm Not Just Coming To Get a Check Photos: Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner - Face To Face in NYC Broner: Pacquiao Ain't Fighting Floyd, I'm Gonna Beat His Ass! Photos: Canelo Grinding Hard For Rocky Fielding Title Clash Pacquiao Confirms He'll Work With Roach Again For Broner Bout Pacquiao Warns Broner: I've Learned To 'Problem Solve' in Politics Canelo on GGG Win: Nicest Feeling To Shut Mouths With Facts! Claressa Shields vs. Femke Hermans Set, December 8 on HBO Ganigan Lopez Tops Telemundo Card in Mexico City Yves Ngabu vs. Micki Nielsen Finalized For February 16, Belgium Nathan Gorman vs. Alex Leapai Set For Warrington-Frampton LIVE STREAM: Pacquiao vs. Broner - NYC Press Conference Bivol: Alvarez KO Of Kovalev Surprised Me, Favor Him In Rematch Ugas Confident of Winning WBC Belt - Surprising Porter, Critics Hurd: I Would Beat Both Charlos, Canelo and Golovkin! Joseph Parker: After Flores, Hopefully I'll Be Fighting in The UK BoxingScene.com's Television Pick of The Week - Nov. 19 Photos: Manny Pacquiao Hits New York For Broner Presser Kieran Smith Ready For Step Up in Class With Peter McDonagh WBC Prez: I Hope Golovkin vs. Charlo Eliminator Will Happen Frampton: Warrington is Made For Me - I'll Prove I'm Better Canelo Says His Coach Felt Fielding Was Perfect Foe at 168 Juan Francisco Estrada Year-End Ring Return Ruled Out Pascal Can Take Legacy To A New Level With Win Over Bivol De La Hoya: If I Train For 3 Months - I Can Get in With The Best! Claressa Shields: I'm The Greatest Woman of All-Time! Photos: David Lemieux, Yves Ulysse Presser For Canelo-Fielding Thomas Valdez Shocks Luis Coria With Split Decision Win Chavez Jr. Admits To Abusing Drugs, Alcohol After Martinez Loss Brandon Rios: If Hearn Presents a Title Shot Next - I'm There! Photos: Jean Pascal in Top Form, Grinds For Dmitry Bivol Clash Anvar Yunusov Stops Jose Salinas in Seventh Round Jarrell Miller: If No Joshua - I'd Fight Whyte, Chisora, Allen or Price! Firat Arslan, Sefer Seferi Battle To a Draw: Chudinov Faces Mendy Photos: Matchroom Girls Hit The Kansas Star Arena Photos: Brandon Rios Batters and Stops Ramon Alvarez Hearn: Wilder-Fury Will Be Terrible; Fury Will Get Knocked Out
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement