Roy Jones Jr Profile
Former Eight-Time World Champion in Four Separate Weight Classes: Middleweight (160), Super Middleweight (168), Light Heavyweight (175), and Heavyweight Born on Jan. 16, 1969, in Pensacola, Fla. Height: 5’ 11” Weight: Light Heavyweight (last weight 175). Record: 51-4, 38 KOs
Roy Jones Jr. is a man who defies definition. He is an eight-time world champion boxer in four different weight classes; a world-class boxing promoter and expert television analyst; a superb athlete in all arenas including professional basketball; a hit-music performer and manager; and a television and motion picture actor. In short, Roy Jones, Jr. is a renaissance man for his era and a legend for eras to come.
His ring accomplishments are staggering: He won the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight championship by defeating Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (22-1) in 1993; moved up to super middleweight and defeated the reigning, undefeated IBF super middleweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney (44-0-2) in 1994; moved up to light heavyweight and defeated Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum to become the World Boxing Council champion in 1996; was controversially disqualified in 1997 against undefeated Montel Griffin (26-0) but regained the WBC crown in an immediate rematch five months later, stopping Griffin in the first round; added the World Boxing Association light heavyweight championship by defeating Lou Del Valle (27-1) in 1998; became the undisputed champion by defeating IBF light heavyweight champion Reggie Johnson (39-5-1) in 1999; jumped over the entire cruiserweight division in 2003 to defeat WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz, becoming the first former middleweight champion to win the world heavyweight crown in over 100 years; and, eight months
later, returned back to the 175-pound light heavyweight limit
and defeated World Boxing Council champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver
During the decade from 1994 to 2003 he was regarded by most as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. An eight-time world champion, Jones won world championships in four separate weight divisions: middleweight (160), super middleweight (168), light heavyweight (175), and heavyweight. Jones was Ring magazine’s “Fighter of the Year” in 1994 and was voted 1990’s “Fighter of the Decade” by the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America.
Jones gave a hint he was embarking on a legendary fistic career in 1979 at age of 10 when he administered a sound beating to a 14-year-old who outweighed him by 16 pounds. It was Jones’ first amateur fight; he weighed just 69 pounds. Before he was done fighting for cups and silver baubles, he would win two Golden Gloves junior welterweight titles and 121 of 134 bouts.
Against a backdrop of battle-scarred mountains and Far East mysticism, Roy Jones Jr. first burst upon the world following a shockingly controversial defeat at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Until then, he was just the best amateur junior middleweight in the world, a 156-pound kid from Pensacola, Fla., with a great deal of promise. Then three judges mugged him.
Americans watched on NBC television as Jones soundly defeated hometown favorite Si-Hun Park in the light middleweight final, but when the scores were read the world was stunned when the South Korean boxer was given the gold medal by a score of 3 to 2. One boxing expert quipped: “Those blind bums would have given Custer a gold medal after the Little Big Horn.”
One judge immediately admitted the error of his ways. Later, after a serious discussion with his superiors, he recanted. In an attempt to cover up the blatant crime, the Olympic officials exposed it further by awarding Jones the Val Barker Trophy, given to the Games outstanding boxer. One can easily see that logic is not an Olympic sport.
Park took his tarnished gold medal and gently slipped into obscurity while Jones turned professional on May 6, 1989, fighting before a hometown crowd in Pensacola where he stopped Ricky Randall in the second round. When he stepped from the ring, instead of a trophy, they handed him a check. “I loved fighting,” he remembers with a grin, “I just figured it was time I started getting paid to do it.”
Sixteen consecutive foes would suffer stoppages at the hands of Jones.
Jones scored four wins in 1989, seven in 1990, four more in 1991, and another five in 1992. Only one of his 20 victories went the distance. All but four of the wins came in Pensacola, a fact hammered at by a small number of critics. Ignoring the cries for him to fight tougher opponents in larger arenas, Jones steadily honed the skills that made him one of the most feared fighters.
“I know where I am going and no one is going to hurry my getting there before I am ready,” he told a small circle of friends.
On the night of May 22, 1993, Jones began his assault of sitting world champions. By then he had tested his blurring combinations, the dazzling jab and the brilliant footwork against such as Jorge Vaca (49-8-1), Jorge Castro (71-3-2) and Glenn Thomas (24-0) and knew he was ready.
His opening target was an up-and-coming boxer by the name of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, who boasted (often) of his 22-1 record. They met in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1993. The prize was the vacant IBF middleweight championship. When the last shot had been fired, all three judges voted for Jones by the scores of 116-112.
Once out of the starting blocks, Jones moved quickly. A blurring left hook kayoed top contender Thomas Tate in the second round of his first middleweight defense on May 27, 1994, before Jones made the fateful decision to move up to 168 pounds in what turned out to be one of the most special matches of his career against unbeaten IBF super middleweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney on Nov. 18, 1994, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jones demolition of the once seemingly invincible Toney was so astonishing that it turned out to be one of those rarest of bellwethers that reverberated throughout the sports world as word ricocheted around the globe about the kid with the lightening-fast hands and skills. Many of those who saw it on closed-circuit telecasts or on television remember where they were and what they were doing at the time. It was that good.
In a sensational display, Jones tormented Toney with a dominating performance highlighted by a taunting move by Jones in just the third round that Toney tried to mimic, only to have the challenger answer the slight with a solid blow that sent Lights Out reeling against the ropes. Jones got credit for a knockdown and went on to sweep all three judges scores, winning another world title.
Thinking of new ways to astonish his legions of followers, Jones hatched a plan to participate in a professional basketball game and a prize fight on the same day on June 15, 1996.
In a portrait worthy of a note in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as well as a showcase of Jones’s incredible athletic ability and stamina, a few hours before defending his IBF super middleweight championship against Eric Lucas, he spent 15 grueling minutes playing guard for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the United States Basketball League. He scored six points.
Defeating Lucas took a little longer. “He was a bit stubborn,” Jones said of the Canadian, who would go on to become a WBC super middleweight champion five years later. He stopped Lucas in the 12th round. “That is the last time I do that. It was one long day.”
Ever looking upward, Jones moved up to light heavyweight and scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum (49-3-1) to win the interim WBC championship. He became outright champion by rule of boxing law when Frenchman Fabrice Tiozzo declared he was moving up to cruiserweight.
Jones first professional loss came stunningly and controversially. Leading on all three scorecards and already having floored an undefeated Montell Griffin (26-0) twice when they met in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 21, 1997, Jones was anxious to finish his foe. He had Griffin in trouble near the end of the ninth round. Jones landed a series of punches that dropped Griffin to a knee, but two remaining shots glanced an exhausted Griffin as the bell sounded, which caused referee Tony Perez to disqualify Jones for violation of the rule stating boxers cannot hit a man while he is down, although many felt it was too stern of a reading of the situation.
Jones’ character and sense of fair play triggered the following response to his lawyer/advisor Fred Levin after the fight. “Get me the rematch. Do it now. I want it to be my next fight. Give him anything he wants. I don’t care what it costs.”
Revenge was swift and devastating five months later when Jones regained his WBC belt with a first round thrashing of Griffin, decking him twice before mercifully ending it at the 2:31 mark.
“Losing that first fight to Griffin was nearly as disappointing as losing the Olympic gold medal,” Jones said. “When I fought him the first time, I was just trying to beat him. When we fought the second time, I would not argue if people suggest that there was more than just winning on my mind.”
Before he was done sowing havoc among the 175-pounders, Jones put the division tidily under one flag (WBC, WBA and IBF). In his wake, he left 13 challengers bent and bloodied.
On March 1, 2003, Jones left his mark firmly in boxing history by becoming the first middleweight to win the heavyweight championship since Bob Fitzsimmons turned the trick in 1897. Giving away more than 30 pounds by weighing in at 193 to John Ruiz’s 226, there were many who felt Jones’s foray into the heavyweights would turn out to be a folly. They could point to Jones earning $10 million from Don King for the fight and claim it was the money that made him do it, but everyone knew if Jones could pull off the feat of winning the match that Jones would live forever in boxing lore.
The surprise was how remarkably easy it was for Jones to win the 12-round decision. Understandably tentative in the early going while measuring his opponent’s power and skills, Jones let loose with his super-fast hands and punching power in the middle rounds. An absolutely befuddled Ruiz could do nothing but be used as a punching bag. Jones won eight rounds on one scorecard, nine on the second and an amazing 10 on the third.
“I know what people are going to say, but there is nothing wrong with John Ruiz,” said Jones. “Like a lot of other guys I fought, he was just slower than me. And I kind of out-thought him.”
“What’s next?” a visitor asked the 34-year-old ruler of all the WBA heavyweights. “I’ll think of something,” said Jones with a wide grin.
Following the celebratory win over Ruiz, Jones faced a career crossroads. King wanted him to remain a heavyweight to face Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, and, if successful, on to face Mike Tyson in what would have been a spectacle for the ages.
After much contemplation, Jones made the decision to return to light heavyweight. Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, who had been seated along with the media in the post-fight press conference after the Ruiz fight, spoke out to Jones. “I want my shot at history, Roy.”
Roy eventually had heard enough and on Nov. 8, 2003 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Jones met the unified (WBC, IBF) light heavyweight champion with his WBC crown on the line. Jones had to drop 25 pounds to make the 175-pound weight limit, and the effort looked like it had physically drained him. Jones had to dig down, maybe the deepest in his career, to rally during the last two rounds to win a majority decision by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114.
The Jones-Tarver rematch took place on May 15, 2004, again at Mandalay Bay. The action was just starting to warm up when Tarver scored a knockdown midway through the second round that put Roy flat on his back. He got up as the referee reached the count of 10 but waved off the action.
“There ain’t no excuses on my part,” the resolute Jones said after the fight. “I come out and do what I do. Guys always get up to fight Roy Jones. It happens like that. I’m a warrior.”
Against advice from everyone from his friends to his advisors and the television network HBO where he had worked for years as a color commentator, Jones came right back to fight for another world title. He fought Glen Johnson for the IBF light heavyweight title on Sept. 25, 2004, in Memphis. Johnson fought the fight of his life and ended the match in the ninth round with a knockout similar to the one Tarver had scored.
Jones re-grouped and decided to face Tarver for a third time in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Oct. 1, 2005. Jones performed much better against Tarver in this match going the 12-round distance but losing a unanimous decision.
Jones wants to end his career on a high note, and he is well on his way after notching wins against Prince Badi Ajamu on July 29, 2006, and against Anthony Hanshaw on July 14, 2007.
Like basketball, fishing, hunting and raising critters of all kinds on his farm in his hometown, music is another of Jones’ loves. Several of is own recordings, including the popular The Album: Round One, have been distributed under his own Body Head Entertainment label. He also manages several talented groups.
A proven motion picture and television talent, Jones has had parts in The Sentinel, Living Single, Watcher, In Living Color, Married With Children, Dateline, Arli$$, The Wayan Brothers Show, The Devil’s Advocate, New Jersey Turnpikes and the final two films of The Matrix trilogy, recently completed in Australia. Jones also appears in a video game based on The Matrix. And stars in his own video game produced by EA Sports called Knock Out Kings.
The proud father of three sons still finds the time to devote many hours speaking to America’s youth on the value of education and the perils of drugs. He has also been an advocate of boxing reform, where he has testified at U.S. Senate hearings on behalf of his fellow boxers.
“When you have been blessed as I have been,” said Jones, “you have to give something back. If some day I find that I have turned around the life of some troubled young man or woman, I will accept that as an award as great as any I have ever received.”
He continues to sign the world’s top amateurs to promotional contracts at his own Square Ring Productions so he may pass along the unparalleled knowledge he has gained through decades of participation in the Sweet Science of boxing.
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