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Roy Jones Jr. sees himself as P-4-P greatest of all-time

Roy Jones Jr. Sugar Ray Robinson

By Allan Fox: Roy Jones Jr. says he sees himself as the greatest fighter pound-for-pound for all time, better than Sugar Ray Robinson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The 49-year-old Jones Jr. (65-9, 47 KOs) is supposedly wrapping up his career and going into retirement after his fight this Saturday night against journeyman Scott Sigmon (30-11-1, 16 KOs) in a fight for the vacant World Boxing Union cruiserweight title.

Jones has more quality fighters on his resume than Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson. There’s no doubt about that. Jones took more risks than Mayweather. Robinson took risks but there wasn’t as many talented fighters during Robinson’s era than during Jones Mayweather could have fought more talented guys, but he was always so careful in picking his opponents.

Jones Jr. calling himself the greatest of all time is a little hard to believe, because he was a shot fighter by the time he’d been a pro for 15 years. Sugar Ray Robinson (174-19-6, 109 KOs) had a much more productive career in winning a lot more fights than Jones Jr., and he was still beating top fighters even in his 20th year as a pro. Jones Jr. was over-the-hill by 15th year with him getting knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson.

“Even the great Sugar Ray Robinson, the pound-for-pound guy that he was, couldn’t win the light-heavyweight title after turning pro as a welterweight,” Jones said. “He had a difficult time trying that. So that tells you how hard it is to jump up that kind of weight and win. So, pound-for-pound the greatest of all time? It isn’t hard to figure out, Roy Jones Junior is your king of the hill.”

Sugar Robinson lost to Joey Maxim by a 13th round knockout in June 1952. The temperatures were extremely hot during the fight. The referee Ruby Goldstein had to be replaced due to him being overcome by the 104-degree temperature inside the ring. Robinson losing the fight is understandable. Under better conditions, he might have beaten Maxim to win the light heavyweight title.

The only thing you can say about Jones Jr. is that when he was at his best, he was one of the most talented fighters in the sport. Trying to gauge whether Jones was better than Robinson, Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali is impossible to do. What makes it hard to say that Jones was the best fighter of all time is the fact that once his speed diminished, the boxing fans found that he can’t take a punch. To be the best of all time, you got to be able to take a shot a lot better than Jones. Sugar Ray Robinson had a good chin. When Robinson was past his prime like Jones, he wasn’t getting knocked out by his competition. Robinson lost decisions late in his career, but he was able to avoid getting knocked out.

During the first 15 years of Jones’ career, he beat some very good fighters. His best wins during this time came against these fighters:

• Jorge Castro

• Glenn Thomas

• Bernard Hopkins

• Thulani Malinga

• James Toney

• Thomas Tate

• Vinny Pazienza

• Eric Lucas

• Montell Griffin

• Virgil Hill

• Lou Del Valle

• Otis Grant

• Reggie Johnson

• Eric Harding

• Derrick Harding

• Glenn Kelly

• John Ruiz

• Antonio Tarver

To be the greatest fighter, you’ve got to have a chin, and Jones couldn’t take a shot once his hand speed disappeared. To me that makes it impossible to rate Jones above Robinson as the greatest fighter of all time. Robinson was a more complete fighter than Jones. Robinson had speed, power, boxing skills and a good chin. Jones got over by having great speed. When that disappeared, Jones lacked the boxing skills, defense and the chin to still compete at an elevated level. When Robinson lost his hand speed, he still had his boxing skills and his chin that helped carry him to a 25-year pro career.

Jones beat a lot of very good fighters, but he stuck around for too long and ended up hurting his legacy. The guys that Jones lost to in the last part of his career are fighters that he would have easily beaten. Guys like Joe Calzaghe would have been easy work for a prime Jones, but he was so shot by the time he fought him in 2008, he had no chance.

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