March 02, 2003

Roy Jones Jr. makes boxing history: Although Jones has long been acclaimed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the business, and perhaps in history, he's always lacked the publicity and the spoils of the heavyweights. Last night, fighting at a 33lb disadvantage, the 34-year-old former middleweight and light-heavyweight champion claimed the WBA heavyweight belt against John Ruiz with a masterclass in boxing. A fight with Lennox Lewis is in the distance; what's certain is that Roy Jones will no longer be 'the best boxer you've never heard of'. Is it a sad reflection that boxing's brightest spark has had to enter the murky world of the heavyweights in order to make a name for himself, or is Jones's move the best thing to happen to the division in decades?

posted by etagloh to boxing at 12:42 AM - 7 comments

The first thing I thought when I heard this was: Who's John Ruiz? What title does he have? I'm not a big boxing fan so I just assumed that Lennox Lewis was still the undisputed heavyweight champion. When/how did Ruiz end up with the WBA title? That said, I knew who RJ Jr. was so I'm quite glad to hear that he's living up to the pound-for-pound hype.

posted by grum@work at 10:25 AM on March 02, 2003

Ruiz fought a couple classic battles against Holyfield a little while back. He beat Holyfield and took his title, and then they drew in their rematch. Good questions etagloh. I don't know about a Lewis fight though. Lewis, at 240 or whatever he fights at is just too big. And besides a couple million, what does Lewis have to gain by fighting Jones? As far as sad reflections on Boxing, the Heavyweights have always been the marquee matchup unless the lighter classes have a rivalry, like Hagler-Hearns or Leonard-Duran. Jones has always been about moving up in weight class so he never had the opportunity to develop a three-fight rivalry against the same challenger. You know what fight I'd like to see? Tyson-Jones. Think about it. Tyson could easily fight down at 210, and he still has plenty of speed at this stage in his career which would really be enhanced at a lower weight. And he would have something to gain, which is that he would have to actually box well to beat Jones. That said...Jones looked fucking spectacular yesterday. He caught Ruiz flush with some shots.

posted by vito90 at 12:59 PM on March 02, 2003

Emmanuel Stewert said that Jones would never be able to compete with the super heavyweights like Lewis, the Klitchko brothers, but Chris Byrd is a viable option, but Jones said the fight would be boring. I loved watching Jones paint Ruiz's face with jabs, and hooks all night, and Ruiz's crying like a little baby about the ref was just sad.

posted by jbou at 11:33 AM on March 03, 2003

Very interesting match. I've always liked Roy Jones, although he is a bit of a shameless showboater when fighting lesser opposition. He's also been accused at times of taking easy fights. It's nice to see that he stepping up. Could he take a heavy puncher like Tyson, Lewis, or even Foreman? I don't know, he is one of the fastest boxers ever.

posted by patrickje at 12:32 PM on March 03, 2003

John Ruiz is a heavyweight that fights like a middling middleweight. I'm glad for Jones that he pulled this off, but it mainly happened because Ruiz is a lump. I'd love to see Jones up against a Lewis or a Klitchko, although he'd get mauled in the later rounds. Just don't put him up against Tyson he's appetizer-sized.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:47 PM on March 03, 2003

Although Ruiz may be the one of the weakest fighters to hold a major belt in the the last decade, it is certainly impressive that Jones not only trained hard enough to move up weight classes but that he had a successful challenge after doing so. That kind of training and discipline will be his legacy. Amazing. My only question is what he'll do now. Lewis is too big, Tyson is basically a circus performer, and both Klitschkos are so big and powerful that Vitali has to sue for a bout against the rightfully scared Lewis. Vitali Klitschko will bludgeon Lewis into retirement on June 8 (God willing), Jones will lose his belt, and be stuck fighting warm-up matches. I love and repect Jones, he has the skill and speed to best most modern heavyweights, but he doesn't have the power to compete amongst the premier heavyweights. I'd love to see him take Byrd (which he would), but his potential as a heavyweight ends there.

posted by ttrendel at 02:34 AM on March 04, 2003

Jones has always been about moving up in weight class so he never had the opportunity to develop a three-fight rivalry against the same challenger. Jones hasn't had any 'three fight' rivalries because no one has even come close to deserving them. You can't create what you don't have. If jones had more competition moving up in weight probably wouldn't be as much of a priority. I've always liked Roy Jones, although he is a bit of a shameless showboater when fighting lesser opposition. I actually played basketball with jones in high school and college and he was never a show boater. However, we are talking boxing here, half fighting and half wrestling. It's part of the sport. If you can't draw attention you don't make money, no matter how good you are. Jones has gone unnoticed for years and I'm sure some of the flamboyancy is an attempt to get noticed. That said, he's never been caught snorting cocaine or biting someones ear off, so he comes out pretty clean if you ask me.

posted by justgary at 05:56 PM on March 04, 2003

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