By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
While a bit difficult to hear over Tuesday’s jumbled conference call, the legendary Roy Jones Jr. did apparently at least, sound like the Roy Jones of old, rather than simply an old Roy Jones. “I ain’t ready to give it (boxing) up just yet,” stated the former pound-for-pound king who began his dominant reign following a convincing victory in 1993 over Bernard Hopkins, picking up the than vacant IBF middleweight crown in the process, his first of what would eventually amount to seven major championship belts.
Almost eleven years, to the day, Jones’ dominance came to a crashing, and crushing, halt under the fists of archrival Antonio Tarver (TKO 2, 05/15/04). As Jones was assisted from the ring that brutal night, leaving his WBC and WBA light heavyweight belts in the care of Mr. Tarver, boxing’s most superior craftsman was definitely knocked from his lofty position as king of the hill.
Another resounding knockout at the hands of veteran Glen Johnson, a former world champion himself, followed by a second loss to Tarver grounded the once thought to be immortal fistic warrior. At this point most boxing fans figured they had seen and heard their last of Roy Jones Jr.
Obviously, we don’t know Pensacola, Florida native Roy Levesta Jones.
“I should have taken more time off after the first Tarver fight (a 12 round majority decision, won by Jones in November of 2003). But I didn’t.”
“Why?” asked the loquacious Jones, who answered his own question, “Because I’m a warrior! It was twenty five pounds of muscle lost, I should have given my body more time to recover.”
Last July, Jones returned to the ring to face Prince Badi Ajamu, (25-3-1, 15 KO’s), a credible foe considering Jones was coming off of those three big losses, two via the knockout route. Jones prevailed, taking Ajamu’s alphabet NABO light heavyweight belt, with a 12 round decision that hardly excited anyone other than Roy. “I’m back,” stated the victor.
Hence, the July 14th fight vs. unbeaten Anthony Hanshaw, 21-0-1 (14 KO’s), billed “HE’S BAACK, WITNESS THE RETURN OF A KING.”
No doubt, Roy Jones was boxing’s king for close to a decade, just as Anthony Hanshaw was a highly touted prospect before a self-exiled twenty-six month hiatus, which began in mid 2004 - mainly attributed to personal problems - stifled the upward progress of the talented twenty-nine year old native of Massillon, Ohio. “Roy Jones was a great one. I looked up to Roy, as a kid,” stated Hanshaw, but his time has passed. It’s my time now and I will prove that to him and to the world on July 14 in Biloxi, I can’t wait.”
While this bout against Jones is the biggest opportunity to date for the twenty-nine year old Hanshaw, an impressive Jones victory could propel “RJ” back into the spotlight of big time boxing. In the works for early 2008 is a huge blockbuster event of a fight against the again un-retired Felix “Tito” Trinidad!
“This fight (vs. Trinidad) should’ve happened back in the day, but his loss to Bernard (Hopkins) ruined it,” stated the confident Jones. He added, “I can’t, and won’t take Hanshaw lightly. I’ll take care of him July 14th, and then me and Tito can get it on…. I love it!”
Roy Jones was thought to have vanished from the boxing scene, now he is a fight away from getting back onto boxing’s grandest stage. Roy Jones would not have it any other way. Neither would promoter Murad Muhammad, who also promises an explosive undercard, which will feature the brash and cocky super middleweight prospect Ron “The American Dream” Johnson (8-1, with 2 KO’s), from Cleveland. Johnson has improved immensely under the tutelage of Floyd Mayweather, Sr., who also trains Hanshaw.
To order the July 14th Roy Jones Jr.-Anthony Hanshaw “HE’S BAACK, WITNESS THE RETURN OF THE KING” PPV event, contact your local cable operator or dish TV provider.