Argued by Paul Upham: Undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr seems to receive a lot of public and media criticism considering he is the premier boxer in the world today. My esteemed colleague Anthony Evans will continue in this vain, but don’t let talk of mandatory defences against undeserving opponents fool you into believing that Roy Jones Jr is anything but an all-time great.
To cover the question “Is Roy Jones Jr. an all-time great?” thoroughly, we first need to look at the statistical facts.
Jones has held the IBF middleweight, IBF super middleweight, WBC light heavyweight, WBA light heavyweight and IBF light heavyweight titles. He has a 21-1 (14) world title bout record and has defeated eleven current or former world champions and including those boxers who would go on to become world champions.
As an amateur Jones record was 121-13 and although he was awarded the silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games, everyone, including South Korean opponent Si-Hun Park, knows Jones was the rightful winner of the Gold.
Statistics can only tell so much about Roy Jones Jr. There is no measurement for his athletic ability, speed, power and smarts inside the ring. As he says in his rap song “Y’all Must Have Forgot”, it’s not that his opponents are that bad, he just makes them look that way.
Roy Jones Jr is so far ahead of the field it is incredible.
Yes, he has one loss on his record, a disqualification loss to Montell Griffin in March 1997. But he was never beaten. It wasn’t his best performance, but Montell Griffin never beat Roy Jones. With all due resect, the exclamation point Jones put on their return bout in August 1997 to regain the WBC light heavyweight title proved once and for all how Montell Griffin compares.
People will say that Roy Jones has ducked people. Really, who hasn’t he fought? Critics will always point to the undefeated WBO champion Dariusz Michalczewski who has been a very good champion. But unless he comes to the USA to fight on HBO, it is unlikely that the fight will ever occur.
After being burned at the 1988 Olympic Games, Jones has shown little inclination or desire to fight outside his homeland. It just seems to me that if Michalczewski is so determined to prove that he is the real champion, go to the USA for the fight and if he does find a way to win against Jones, then he can have the controlling hand in negotiations for a rematch. Until someone knocks Jones Jr. off his perch, he is the undisputed king and it is not for him to go to Germany to prove anything.
Many people would like to see Jones Jr in a rematch of his May 1993 bout with Bernard Hopkins. Granted, Hopkins is a better fighter now, the undisputed middleweight champion and a boxer who I have great respect for. It may well be a closer fight the second time around, but I still don’t see Jones losing.
The only opponent that I see Jones not being able to defeat is the ravages of time. Better for Roy to retire while he is at his best and the undisputed champion, rather than going on one fight too long.
I’d like to see Jones face Michalczewski at light heavyweight, Hopkins at super middleweight and Vassiliy Jirov at cruiserweight, then retire as the undisputed light heavyweight world champion and never entertain the thought of a comeback. It is even likely that Jones will receive greater acclaim many years in the future than he currently receives.
Regardless of what he achieves in the remainder of his career, Roy Jones Jr is already an all-time great. Not just in the world titles that he has won, but in the way he has performed in the ring, many, many levels above his opponents.
It’s not just the things that Roy Jones Jr has done in the ring that makes him an all-time great, it is the fact that he has performed those feats against men considered to be world class boxers, quite often physically larger than himself. He defies the accepted methods of successful boxing and wins. The great ones always do.
Do you agree with Paul Upham, that Roy Jones Junior has already proved himself to be one of the very best fighters of all-time? Is Upham correcting in stating five world championships in three different weight divisions are proof enough of legendary status?
Or are you convinced by Anthony Evans, who argues that for all his natural talent Jones has failed to test his mettle against suitable opposition, and thus has yet to earn a place alongside Ali, Louis, Armstrong and the others? Click here for his argument >>
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