By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Roy Jones Wins First Bout In Nearly Three Years
By Francis Walker
Updated: July 31, 2006
NEW YORK — Former four-division champion Roy Jones, Jr. won his first fight in 32 months Saturday. Jones (50-4, 38 KOs) proved to be too fast and had too much experience for an overmatched and inexperienced “Prince” Badi Ajamu (25-3-1, 14 KOs) during a one-sided unanimous decision victory.
The last time Jones won a fight was in November 2003. Jones beat Tarver in the first of three epic fights in November 2003 to reclaim the light heavyweight championship.
Jones’ win against Ajamu came at a time when he clearly needed it most. Ajamu fought a 37-year-old Jones coming off three consecutive losses. In 2004, Jones suffered consecutive one-punch KO defeats to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson before losing a one-sided decision loss to Tarver in a 2005 rubber match.
Jones is the most vulnerable he’s ever been throughout his glamorous career. It was not surprising that Amaju tried to overwhelm Jones with a relentless barrage of punches in the opening round. Amaju is a strong fighter with exceptional power, but does not have the boxing skills of a Tarver or even Johnson. Jones was also the better conditioned fighter.
Jones was able to withstand Ajamu’s onslaught and slowly began picking Ajamu’s face apart with straight-punches and hooks to his head.
“I wanted to see if my reflexes were still there,” Jones said afterwards. “I wanted to see if I could do the things I used to do like catch him off balance.”
It was vintage Jones, as all three judges scored the bout 119-109 for the fallen, but once great light-heavyweight champion.
Make no mistake. Although Jones looked terrific and appeared to have returned to his old forum, it’s time for Jones to retire. His goal of having 50 career victories has been attained in impressive fashion.
He beat future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, the most dominant middleweight champion since Marvelous Marvin Hagler, to win his first world middleweight championship in 1993.
Jones is the only fighter to make James Toney look like an amateur when they fought for the super middleweight title in November 1994. Jones also unified the world light heavyweight championships before winning a piece of the world heavyweight championship in 2003 against John Ruiz.
Jones was perhaps the most dominant fighter in the 1990s and early 2000s since Mike Tyson. No one dominated their opponents the way Tyson did. However, no one dominated their opponents the way Jones did. Tyson never threw a knockout punch while his hands were positioned behind his back, but Jones did.
The key words in this story are ‘was’ and ‘did.’ Past tense! Jones’ dominance and his grip as one of the most watched fighters has loosened considerably.
His fight against Ajamu would have been televised on HBO if it occurred between 1996-2003 (Jones’ light-heavyweight era) when he fought Eric Harding, Clinton Woods, Glen Kelly, Julio Gonzalez, Derrick Harmon, Richard Hall, David Telesco, Lou Del Valle, Montell Griffin, and Reggie Johnson to name a few.
HBO and even Showtime was not interested in paying a site fee or negotiating a contract for Jones to fight another handpicked opponent on their network.
Famed venues that Jones has fought throughout his career: Madison Square Garden, Mandalay Bay, Atlantic City Convention Center, and the MGM Grand Hotel weren’t interested in putting up millions for a fighter coming off three consecutive losses in high profile fights.
That’s why Jones’ paint job of Ajamu was broadcast on pay per view for $29.99 from Boise, Idaho.
It would make sense for Jones to have returned for one last victory, which he successfully did against Ajamu. But the boxing world haven’t heard the last of Jones.
Sadly enough, maybe HBO or Showtime would entertain the idea of Jones fighting on their network again in a high profile fight.
It was a wonderful and well crafted career journey for Jones. It was not entirely his fault that he did not have anyone who could truly test him a close battle during the prime of his career.
Jones should retire.
Quartey-Forrest Meet At Crossroads
A pair of former world champions, Ike Quartey (37-2-1, 31 KOs) and Vernon Forrest (37-2, 28 KOs) will meet in a crossroads fight at The Theater of Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 5. The bout will be a 10-round junior middleweight contest.
Both fighters each suffered two devastating losses which led to their extended absence from boxing. Although both fighters are undefeated since returning to the sport, their status amongst the elite fighters between 147 to 160 has changed.
After Saturday night, only one fighter can and will remain alive in the world title hunt.
Quartey was a successful undefeated WBA Welterweight champion in the 1990s. Following close 12-round decision losses to Oscar De La Hoya (Feb. 1999) and Fernando Vargas (Feb. 2000), a frustrated Quartey quit boxing and did not return until January 2005. Quartey is 3-0, 2 KOs since his return following a five-year layoff.
Forrest, dodged by De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad during the primes of their careers, became an undefeated superstar when he beat Shane Mosley twice in 2002.
Forrest’s rise to the top of the food chain was short-lived following consecutive losses to Ricardo Mayorga including a one-punch KO in 2003. Forrest is 2-0 following a two-year absence.
Quartey and Forrest are fighting at the crossroads of their respected careers at a time when Trinidad, De La Hoya, and even Pernell Whitaker have retired. Vargas to be on his way out as well.
Should Quartey and Forrest elected to continue (or finish) their careers they will have the daring task of fighting the next generation of perhaps more hungrier fighters for less money. What would have happened if Quartey had not lost to Vargas or Forrest would have defeated Mayorga?
Quartey and Forrest either would have fought each other of even Trinidad or De La Hoya for more money. What would have been if Quartey and Forrest had not been inactive?
The future is Saturday and it will be a very revealing fight as to how much both fighter a have left.
Champion Seeks Redemption, Prospect Seeks First Title
On the Quartey-Forrest undercard, undefeated Sechew Powell (20-0, 12 KOs) will battle former junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma (24-2-1, 15 KOs). Powell-Ouma has the makings of an intriguing world title fight, but instead will be another crossroads battle between two young fighters.
Powell is an undefeated upstart from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, NY. He began his professional career in 2002 and boasts an undefeated record into a very crucial against Ouma.
Although Ouma has won his last three fights since losing the IBF junior middleweight title in July 2005, there is a lot of pressure on this young 27-year-old boxer from Kampala, Uganda.
Ouma, who lost a 154 pound word title in only his third defense, is out to prove to the boxing world that he can rebound from a title loss to regain a world championship. It will not be easy, as Powell is still seeking his first world title opportunity.
Quartey vs. Forrest and Powell vs Ouma will be broadcast live on HBO at 10 p.m./EST.