BY: Ricky Ray Taylor
Every once in a great while a match-up catapults to the surface that gets us salivating at the mere thought of it. Although this weekends contest is about 5 years past what it could have been, in most boxing circles the JONES-CALZAGHE duel is no exception.
In August of 2003, Jones was proudly sitting on top of boxing’s pound-for-pound list. He actually was there for so long that his bones were beginning to creak. Jones had absolutely destroyed everyone in his path for 6 1/2 years in fights that were sometimes so lopsided that it left the casual Boxing “fan” questioning the abilities of his opposition. Nobody had a clue or seemed to pay attention to the fact that the combined record of Jones opponents within this 6 1/2 year run was 417-22; and 14 of those fights were for World Championships against mandatory qualified contenders. In fact the only issue people seemed to sink their teeth into regarding Roy Jones career was that he “just didn’t have anyone decent to fight”.
After winning a relatively controversial majority decision to Antonio Tarver in November of ‘03, for the first time we began to see some kinks in Jones armor. There just always seemed to be something about the loudmouth Tarver that Roy couldn’t seem to completely conquer. Perhaps it was the fact that Tarver showed absolutely no fear of Roy?
Regardless, the fight was finally close - so close that an immediate rematch was declared by the screaming-Tarver as well as all of boxing’s sanctioning bodies.
The second time around shocked us all as we witnessed yet another great champ be humbled by the brutality of our sport.
Two more losses followed by 2 wins verses B- fighters and a grand finale victory over an aging Trinidad have done little to recapture the legacy we once knew.
Funny, but by the time Jones was decapitated by Tarver - Joe Calzaghe was 35-0 and creating quite a legacy of his own across the pond. He has been calling out Roy for years. Understandably so, Jones handlers weren’t hearing him. They saw what happened to Kostya & Chris Byrd and wanted nothing to do with reliving the nightmare of what happened in the Olympics. Besides, Roy had troubles of his own in America battling the naysayers ~ and fighting an undefeated Welshman Calzaghe who nobody even heard of would only supply more rocks to the throwers if he were to beat him up. It was basically a lose-lose for Jones to fight Calzaghe.
Enter Jeff Lacy, at 21-0, Lacy traveled across the seas to take on Calzaghe in front of an International television audience. The fight was a beat down of cosmic proportions however, in Calzaghe’s favor! Calzaghe busted up 3 more victims before sizing up Bernard Hopkins in front of an American viewing audience.
Now however, the shoe is on the other foot with Calzaghe sitting atop of boxing’s pound 4 pound 4 list, it’s Jones calling out Calzaghe. Fortunately for Jones, Calzaghe obliged.
Now, finally there’s reason for Calzaghe and Jones to get it on. The big question however is “how much does Jones have left in the tank”?