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Home Boxing Jones-ing for Belief
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Jones-ing for Belief

jones_vs_lacyWho didn’t think, to some extent, that we were watching the Roy Jones Jr. of “old” as we watched him systematically dismantle fellow Floridian Jeff Lacy on Saturday night? Sure, it sounds cliché but, at 40 years of age, Jones, 54-5 (40) looked every bit as vital as he did seven years ago against light heavyweights Clinton Woods and Glen Kelly. Hell, we were believers again, weren’t we?

Against former super middleweight titlist Lacy, 25-3 (17) with one no-contest, the cockiness and fast connects Jones has been renowned for in his heyday were in attendance in full force as Jones took the event-appropriate nickname “Captain Hook” to a new, literal level; trumping Lacy’s “Left Hook” moniker (and ability to hook) in spades.

Lacy, game as can be, pressed the action but could barely get off before Jones literally beat him to the punch by throwing multiple hooks; even cutting Lacy’s right eye with a sharp left in the third heat. Lacy would resort to clinching early on but Jones was still potent on the inside. For the duration of the ten rounds it took to fully dispatch Lacy, Jones had no shortage of playful, confident mouthiness; bantering with the crowd as Lacy’s eyes gradually swelled. Seemingly, Jones pace, energy and will became more profound as evidenced by Jones firing off a crowd-pleasing salvo of over a dozen punches to cap off the fifth; all the while, chatty as-all-get-out with the 9,000-plus seated butts in Biloxi’s Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

By the time Lacy’s own corner called a halt to the beating after the close of the tenth round, everything Jones set out to accomplish, pre-fight, was a lock. And talk of Lacy being a past-his-best fighter doesn’t apply to facing Jones. Perhaps against a Glen Johnson or a Chad Dawson this would apply but there’s nothing illogical about seeing Lacy as a threat against the 40 year-old ex-Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion. At 32, age, was Lacy’s advantage. His only advantage, but one nonetheless.

Beating Lacy is a coup for Jones as much as beating rugged Omar Sheika was. Sheika, best known for his two gutsy, thrilling super middleweight wars against fellow journeyman Scott Pemberton, had that advantage in age but fell to Jones via fifth round TKO loss but was much more ring worn than Lacy is now. Still, had Sheika gotten off accordingly, Jones might’ve been in a world of hurt; especially since the stigma of suffering back-to-back KO losses to Antonio Tarver (KO 2) and Glen Johnson (KO 9) never went away; even if five years had elapsed since the Johnson loss (which culminated in a rather frightening, in-the-ring vigil for Jones; who took several minutes to rise from the canvas, post-fight). On the other hand, there’s was relatively less threat from Lacy, who hadn’t scored a knockout win in almost four years since savagely clubbing Pemberton to the tune of a second round TKO win. In his next fight, a vacancy-filler for the then-vacant THE RING World Super Middleweight Championship, Joe Calzaghe, common enemy to both Lacy and Jones, took away Lacy’s zero and, seemingly (and permanently, apparently), his will with a one-sided pounding that changed fans’ opinions on how powerful the Welshman’s punches really were.

Since the Calzaghe loss, Lacy has struggled to force his once-indomitable will against opponents like Otis Griffin, Epifanio Mendoza (who lost via fourth round TKO to B.J. Flores on the “Hook City” undercard), Vitali Tsypko (in a rematch) and former Undisputed Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor. Against Griffin, Mendoza and Tsypko, Lacy squeaked by with majority decision wins. Of course, against Taylor last November, Lacy dropped a unanimous decision over 12 rounds; further diluting the gravity of his menacing façade and loosening his hold on a plan to take over the 168-pound division.

Diluted Lacy or not, Jones’ win serves as a warning to the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions, especially to Aussie Danny Green, who TKO’d Julio Cesar Dominguez in five on the “Hook City” undercard. Green is scheduled to fight again in November and Jones is tentatively penciled in as “The Green Machine’s” next opponent.

Jones claims his intent is not to exceed 185 when competing at cruiser, a division that enjoys a 25-pound spread. Post-Green, Jones plans on returning to light heavy, then possibly making a permanent jump to heavyweight to pursue THE RING World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko and his older brother, WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali.

But is what Roy wants what Roy’s really going to get or even deliver to the fans? And what does Jones plan in an abbreviated stay at 175 after facing Green, should he prevail? And what if he loses to Green?

Let’s just say Jones beats Green. What intrigues this writer is the possibility of Jones’ former network HBO courting him if the potential for profit suits them. Jones-Green at cruiserweight is a fantastic proposal in the first place because the winner will look really appealing as an opponent for THE RING World Cruiserweight Champion Tomasz Adamek; should Adamek decide not to toy around with a run at heavyweight.

But if an opportunity against Adamek doesn’t quite materialize, Jones always has former Undisputed Middleweight and THE RING Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins to fall back on. After all, talk of a Jones-Hopkins rematch has burned in both men’s ears since they verbally squared off from separate locations during a February 2002 double bill that featured Jones defending his Light Heavyweight Championship against Glen Kelly and Hopkins defending his Middleweight Championship against Carl Daniels (“60/40 will get your ass whupped!” Jones would declare). What’s rare is that the fight will be actually interesting because of where Jones and Hopkins are now. At his age, Hopkins needs a marquee fight if he doesn’t pursue Adamek or an alphabet titlist. If both fighters can get past ongoing differences in purse percentages (Will Jones really be worth what he’ll ask for?), we might just get a damn good fight. Go ahead and scoff. I fully believe this.

But just as career decisions are important for Hopkins at this juncture; it’s obvious that Jones has to be just as calculating when it comes to his own. This means that all the division jumping should be a one-way trip. If he couldn’t effectively bounce back at light heavy five or six years ago after his meticulous beating of former WBA heavyweight titleholder John Ruiz, there’s no chance he’ll do it effectively now, even IF he only climbs eight pounds to face Green. If he treasures his marbles, he’ll stay at cruiser and let his body acclimate the way a fighter’s body should with age.

And how long is Jones exactly thinking about sticking around the sport anyway? Bernard Hopkins is an obvious and rare anomaly and that’s something that has to spark an unspoken and jealous fire deep inside Jones’ belly. In facing another heavyweight of arguably higher caliber than Ruiz (in either Klitschko), Jones takes a sizable risk that could pay astounding dividends when comparing the legacies of Jones and Hopkins.

It might seem obvious that between the brothers Klitschko, the right guy to pick would be older, injury-plagued Vitali. Still there’s quality in facing Wladimir, especially if Jones can pick apart the taller champion the way he picked apart Lacy with ridiculously killer angles. And how could either Klitschko say no to a voluntary defense that, on paper, is very winnable. Of course, this is contingent on whether or not either Klitschko still has a championship or title to defend; especially regarding September's Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola battle.

Timing is everything for Jones from this point on. As opposed to beating less-than-threatening light heavyweights like Prince Badi Ajamu or Anthony Hanshaw or a half-retired (at the time) Felix Trinidad (just to say he could) for useless regional belts, Jones is viably defying odds late in the age game. But every move is key and Jones is getting a second chance few thought he’d earn or even deserve.

What Jones does with that chance might just make us believers again.

Associate Editor Coyote Duran isn’t much of a believer. In fact, his book “Chicken Soup for the Atheist’s Soul” had only two chapters, Chapter One: “I Don’t Believe in Soup” and Chapter Two: “F**k Soup.” Chapter Two had only one page and it was blank. If you believe in soup or even boxing, e-mail Coyote at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also track Coyote at www.myspace.com/coyote_duran and www.facebook.com/CoyoteDuran or gaze at what he thinks are really pretty pictures at www.convictedartist.com/coyote_duran.html.

But he doesn’t “Tweet.” Sorry.

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MARGHERITA VALENTINI  -  JUST SAYING..... |
CALZAGHE PLASTERED JONES.....YOU DIDNT MENTION IT.... :)
 
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