ONE OF THE GREATS

The bril­liant Roy Jones Jnr was THE boxer of his gen­er­a­tion yet, as he ex­plains to Thomas Ger­basi, he is still not get­ting the credit he de­serves

Boxing News - - Contents -

We speak to the bril­liant Roy Jones Jnr, ar­guably the boxer of his gen­er­a­tion

YOU GET TO A POINT WHERE YOUR BODY FAILS AND YOU’RE HAV­ING A HARD TIME”

ROY JONES JNR was at ease be­fore his re­tire­ment bout against Scott Sig­mon in Fe­bru­ary. That wasn’t a sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing that a jour­ney­man like Sig­mon prob­a­bly wouldn’t have lasted three rounds with a prime Jones.

This wasn’t a prime Jones, who, at 49, was about to take the walk to the ring for the 75th time as a pro­fes­sional. But in his mind, the for­mer pound-for-pound king was as good as he’s ever been. That never got af­fected by the com­bi­na­tions thrown by Fa­ther Time.

Yet even Jones knew that he couldn’t fight for­ever, and there was no bet­ter time than now to walk off into the sun­set with his fac­ul­ties in­tact and a win­ning streak that turned from three to four when he scored a clearcut 10-round de­ci­sion win over Sig­mon in his home­town of Pen­sacola, Florida.

“You get to a point where your body starts to fail you and you’re hav­ing a hard time,” Jones ad­mit­ted. “Then it’s time to start say­ing, ‘Okay, now may be time to give it up.’ When your body starts not re­ally hold­ing up to the whole train­ing camp, it makes you start look­ing at it a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. Be­cause if your body holds up, then you’re good. When your body starts break­ing down, then you ain’t good.”

It was a rare dose of re­al­ity from a man who made a ca­reer out of do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things that ap­peared to come from a video game and not a box­ing gym,

even if re­cent years had seen him far re­moved from those days. And if Jones couldn’t be Jones, he wasn’t go­ing to try. “Well, y’all don’t ap­pre­ci­ate me, so I don’t see me stick­ing around if I’m not ap­pre­ci­ated,” he dead­panned when asked why this was the right time for re­tire­ment. It was a telling state­ment be­cause he’s right when it comes to his place in the box­ing world from 2009 to the present. Dur­ing those fi­nal years in the ring, Jones could only muster brief flashes of his for­mer great­ness, giv­ing a younger gen­er­a­tion a false read on who he re­ally was as a fighter. But re­cently, so­cial me­dia and Youtube have shown that gen­er­a­tion the “real” Jones, lead­ing to a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the fu­ture Hall of Famer. “I see that all the time,” he said. “It’s like they for­get un­til they look at it, and when they look at it, they’re like, ‘Whoa, who was he?’ And it’s like the song says, ‘Y’all musta for­got.’” Jones laughs, al­ways pro­mot­ing. Yet while Y’all Musta For­got was the mu­sic world’s first in­tro­duc­tion to the Florid­ian, it was the song

Can’t Be Touched off 2004’s

Body Head Bangerz: Vol­ume One al­bum that truly de­scribed Jones at his best.

Can’t be touched Can’t be stopped Can’t be moved Can’t be rocked Can’t be shook

The lyrics cap­tured the first 15 years of Jones’ pro ca­reer per­fectly, yet iron­i­cally, it was in 2004 that the wheels came off. ³

KING OF THE WORLD: There was a time in the not too dis­tant past when Roy Jones Jnr seemed un­beat­able

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