Roy Jones Jr is back: Tom Casino/Square Ring
Comment by Paul Upham: If you ever dreamed of wanting to see Roy Jones Jr back at his best one more time, it was all there for you on Saturday night against Jeff Lacy in Biloxi, Mississippi. The blinding hand speed, slick moves and in-fight trash talk. The old saying goes that every great champion has one great performance left in them - maybe this was it for the former long reigning pound for pound king?
Going into the match, there were mixed opinions as to the merits of Jones Jr and Lacy at this stage in their respective careers. On paper, Lacy appeared to physically have the advantage against a boxer perceived to be slipping a long way from his once stellar career heights, which included eight world titles.
Jones was a betting favourite, but there was some caution as to what the forty year-old would bring to the ring, with his father Roy Sr, back in his corner once more.
From the opening bell, Jones appeared to be fighting with confidence that had been absence since his knockout losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004.
Jones had looked just as good in the opening stanza against Joe Calzaghe in November 2008, knocking him down in the first round, but he was unable to make any further impact in losing the next eleven. Against Lacy, Jones was able to fight at a much better pace leading to his 10th round stoppage win.
In the second round, Jones’ workrate dropped marginally and he retreated to the ropes as Lacy tried to work his way in. There were some brief flashes of hesitation as Lacy landed a couple of hard punches, but his best work for the entire fight lasted a single round.
The promotion had been called “Hook City”, a battle between “Captain Hook” Jones and “Left Hook” Lacy, but in the end it was simply no contest. Jones threw his left hook with such fluidity, power and precision it was like a straight right hand.
As the rounds went on, Jones become even more confident, openly talking to next up opponent Danny Green seated at ringside. Even with Jones’ head turned to taunt Green, Lacy was unable to land anything of substance.
While it would be easy to label Lacy as a has-been, harsher critics may suggest he was more a never-was, the 32 year-old looked in phenomenal physical condition. His only two prior careers losses were to Calzaghe and Jermain Taylor. Granted, it was a poor performance from the former IBF super middleweight world champion, but certainly, what Jones was doing in the ring had something to do with it.
So impressive was he against Lacy, it made you wonder even more as to exactly what he was doing in the lead-up to those brutal knockout losses. Maybe coming back down from heavyweight after defeating John Ruiz in 2003 hurt Jones more than anyone could have imagined. Or did a lack of training and proper preparation affect him? No one will ever know for sure, but even if Lacy fought a poor fight, Jones was able to rediscover his sizzling hand speed which was not on display against Calzaghe.
Jones told the media after his win that his fight with “Green Machine” Green in Australia was scheduled for November 21. While a venue has yet to be determined, the business and marketing opportunities available would most likely see it held in Melbourne.
Asking for US$4 million to compete outside the USA as a professional for the first time in his career, Jones will be seeking to complete his collection of title belts between middleweight and heavyweight. Cruiserweight remains his only missing link.
It would seem to be a smart business move, picking up a pay cheque the size of which would appear unavailable to him in the USA at this time.
Looking through a list of other possible big fights right now, the most attractive and competitive for Jones would be against former foe Bernard Hopkins. Egos and purse demands would seemingly rule that rematch out, so for now, Jones is headed ‘Downunder’ for his first ever fight at cruiserweight in an attempt to win the IBO world title.