The Journey Continues

By Christian Giudice on March 7, 2015
The Journey Continues
“I smelled blood. I could have boxed, but then the hyena took over.” (Norman DeShong)

Showing glimpses of the old Roy on Friday, Jones continued his journey to the elusive cruiserweight title…

No one wants to see such a great fighter end like so many fighters do — facing subpar competition just to hear the cheers one last time. When Roy Jones Jr. fought Willie Williams, (14-9-2 4 KOs), Friday night in Concord, NC, at the Cabarrus Arena, he knew the ramifications. No longer is he 168 pounds without an ounce of fat on his body. Now he holds 200 pounds comfortably on his 5-foot-11-inch frame. No longer does he stand in the middle of the ring and patronize his opponents, daring them to attempt a jab so that he can effortlessly counterpunch them. Now he patiently waits for an opening. No longer does he throw 15 and 20 punch combinations with tantalizing speed. Now he goes early and often to the body, and settles for occasional 10-12 punch combinations along the ropes.

Showing glimpses of the old Roy on Friday, Jones continued his journey to the elusive cruiserweight title by bludgeoning Williams early and often en route to a second-round stoppage. Blood splattered off Williams and across the ring as Jones honed in on Williams during a vicious combination in the second round, where he landed five or six hooks before the referee stepped in to call the one-sided bout.

“I just took my time in the first round,” said Jones. “Lateral movement in my old age wastes too much time. I was trying to box, and I was doing ok, but I got bored, so I was like, ‘Nah, brother.’ Then the hyena kicked in. He threw a lot of punches. I smelled blood, and knew he was a little tired. I could have boxed, but then the hyena took over.”

Although Jones stressed his defensive skills in pre-fight interviews, early in the first round, he immediately went on the offensive. With Williams coming forward, Jones sidestepped him and landed an uppercut, bided his time against the ropes — presumably to let Williams tire himself out — and then he went to the body. Yet, it wasn’t until Jones exhibited his masterful speed (Yes, at 46) that resulted in a nine-punch combination to start the second round. It proved the beginning of the end for the overmatched opponent.

“Who else does that?” said Jones. “Who throws 10-12 punch combinations in boxing anymore? Nobody! That’s what boxing’s been missing.”

The effusive Jones was at his best when he landed uppercuts in the middle of the ring and then walked away as only he can. For most of the bout, it was more about what Jones was capable of doing rather than what Williams couldn’t do. With WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck on the horizon, Jones pondered the possibilities when he asked, “How’s he going to do with it? He’s not as quick as I am.”

Leading into the main event, Charlotte’s own Quinton Rankin (8-2, 7 KOs) got off the canvas after a first round knockdown to stop Craig Duncan at 2:21 of the third round. Fueled by his hometown crowd, Rankin opened a cut over Duncan’s left eye and knocked him down twice. Duncan was unable to rise by the 10-count in the round in the third and final round.

“[Duncan] hit me in that first round,” said Rankin. “He hit me when I was turning and it was a legitimate shot. But my hook landed every time I threw it.”

Even on his final hurrah tour, Jones is incomparable in so many ways. He knows where he stands among the great fighters of his time. In his prime, he was untouchable. When he decided to move up in weight, he began to cement his legacy. When asked about what separated him and the Haglers and Hopkins, he definitively said, “Heavyweight. Winning the heavyweight title. That’s it. They never won the heavyweight title.”

What Jones did on Friday night was prove that he deserved, at the very least, an opportunity to continue on this journey. Few men are built like Jones physically and mentally; he rarely gets out of shape, and, more importantly, he rarely gets down emotionally. Although that attribute can hurt a fighter, the spirit imbued in Jones at 46 is a reflection of the same guy he was at 26. He still believes he can be great. Against a fighter like Williams, he did show glimpses of those vintage combinations. The question remains, does he have one more big fight against a guy who will fight back?

It’s About Time: Roy Jones. Jr.

Christian Giudice
Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran

Twitter Account:!/chrisgiudice
Beloved Warrior Page:

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Roy Jones Jr. Vs Willie Williams 6th March 2015

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. peter 03:55pm, 03/07/2015

    I liked how Jones threw the left hook, and then changed the angle with a left uppercut.  Clever.

  2. FrankinDallas 10:49am, 03/07/2015

    The guy was tired? In the 2nd round? He had jet lag, I presume.

  3. Kid Blast 10:14am, 03/07/2015

    Does he have one more big fight against a guy who will fight back? Absolutely not.

  4. Kid Blast 10:00am, 03/07/2015

    Roy needs to stay light years away from Huck.  Stick with club fighters and extend your win-streak, but stay away from mid-tier guys.

  5. Eric 09:49am, 03/07/2015

    Would have loved to have seen a Roy Jones Jr. vs. Evander Holyfield fight in the 1998-2000 period. Would have been an intriguing fight.

  6. Eric 08:29am, 03/07/2015

    Since we are finally receiving the Floyd vs. Manny match, maybe a Jones-Toney rematch could happen if Jones wins the cruiserweight title. Toney would have to drop some serious weight. One last paycheck for these middle-aged 40-somethings before finally disappearing.

Leave a comment