What’s next for Roy, and Tito?
Having had a few days to marinate, and let what I saw at Madison Square Garden sink in, let me start with Jones.
First, let’s get the good news out of the way. Roy still has something left. The hand speed we saw against Trinidad was, in spurts, top tier, and could give most anybody in the 168-175 neighborhood fits.
Now, the bad news.
Jones only works in spurts these days. He’s a master at energy conservation, and for most of every round, he’s either resting his legs by leaning back on the ropes, or saving his energy by not punching.
Either tactic will prove fatal if, as is rumored, he secures a date with Joe Calzaghe.
The Welshman, even if he doesn’t punch straight most of the time (and no, my Welsh “fans” I’m not interested in an email deluge, so I will not refer to Joe C as “Slappy Joe” again), is busy, busy, busy, and for Jones, that would spell loss, loss, loss.
Roy Jones could not have picked a more perfect opponent than the man he fought on Saturday. A semi-retired boxer, who periodically decides to re-enter the fight-for-a-fee ranks when the whim strikes him, fighting at a weight class about 20 pounds too high for him…tailor made for the Floridian, who just turned 39, and fought on Saturday skillfully, but with a clear comprehension that he needed to be smart about not pushing his stamina to a breaking point.
I have to keep reminding myself, Tito chose Jones as his target foe, not the other way around. That was going to be part of my “good news” on Jones, that he’s wise about picking his opposition these days. But if Tito chose him, then I suppose I have to back off on that assessment a bit. Prince Badi, Hanshaw, Tito…none of these cats are that dangerous, and for a man with a compromised chin, all are smart foes to step in with.
I’m sorry, but when I saw Trinidad “whaling” away at Jones’ gut early on Saturday night, I knew immediately that he would not have the pop to hurt Jones one iota. It was like a zookeeper trying to take down an escaped lion with spitballs.
But Calzaghe will hurt Jones. He is far too busy for Jones, and he will not allow Jones to lay on the ropes, and rest, without peppering him like he peppered Manfredo. (No, Jones fans, I am not comparing Roy with 'Fredo, he has more now than 'Fredo ever had, and he's too smart to not punch back, if he has his wits about him, as 'Fredo did when he was stopped.)
I cannot even guess what’s in Jones’ head if he’s serious, and wants a date with Joe C.
Does he see that foe as the best marriage of risk and money?
Does he think Joe is in the same league as Prince Badi, Hanshaw and Tito, and cannot hurt him?
Or does he think Hopkins will take down the Welshman, and is positioning himself for a rematch with the just-turned 43-year-old Philly survivor?
Because that’s the fight that makes the most sense to me, if I’m playing matchmaker, and want Jones to collect the most pay, for the least risk. That’s not me the matchmaker talking, as I think the work rate and clutch rate in Jones/Hopkins II would make for some channel-changing fare.
Bottom line, Roy still has something left in the tank, but the tank only holds about 20 or 30 seconds of gas every round. Against Calzaghe, that will run out in 20 or 30 seconds, and that leaves waaaaay too much time to get tattooed, and possibly kayoed.
As for Tito, I’m feeling like it’s 55-45 that we do NOT see him glove up again. He too has something left in the tank. But it’s mostly ethanol, I’m afraid.
Trinidad may have enough pop left to do some damage to some 154 pounders. But I question vociferously if he could get down to that weight again.
He didn’t look blimpy at 170. He has filled out, as any 35-year-old man will, and getting down to anything below 168, I’m afraid, would take the last bit of life from his legs.
Some of you might say, hey, fight at 168 then. Please, Tito fans, be content with your memories, and let the man fade into the sunset, and be free from any more damage to his noggin. The next beating he absorbs is one beating too many.
Did we get any clues on what he may do next from his postfight comments?
“I took off two years and eight months,” he said. “I take nothing away from Roy but if I could have avoided the knockdowns, I think I would have won the fight. He was very fast and strong and threw great punches. I have no excuses.”
Um, if I was more handsome, I’d have been in movies. If I were smarter in my stockpicking, I’d be retired, on a yacht, sipping O’douls. Get my drift?
Granted, some grains of salt must be applied to any comments made while still sweating from the heat of the battle, but TT, you cannot avoid the knockdowns, and that is why you should savor the memories.
“He demonstrated speed and took my body punches,” Tito said.
Yes, and I’m afraid so much time off has affected your punching power, as well as your legs (and we know that those two areas are inextricably connected.) I really think most anyone in the top 20 from 154-175 pounds would be able to withstand your assaults, Tito.
“I fight for my fans and the people of Puerto Rico,” he said.
And I hope that he will bestow upon his avid supporters another gift beyond the oodles of sunny memories that are stored in their minds. I hope he will choose to stay retired this time, and not absorb any more punishment.
“Roy Jones was very fast and he fought a good fight,” he said. “I think he won the fight but not by such a wide margin.
Again, back to my grain of salt/heat of battle adage. But this statement is worrisome. Hopefully, Tito will watch the tape, or listen to some trusted advisor who can clue him in, that he did lose decisively, that the margin was quite wide.
“I will decide if I fight again or not,” Tito said. “I will speak to my father but I will make the decision as to whether or not I will fight again.”
My guess, and that’s all I got: Tito, whose interest in the sport has perked up only periodically since Hopkins sapped his will in 2001, will feel the ache in his ribs, and the tenderness in his chin, and decide, finally, for good, that’s it.
Time to be the man who sticks to the retirement plan.
I try somewhat to steer clear of telling fighters when to walk away. That’s their business. But sometimes, there is a dearth of voices of reason surrounding them. Fighters have posses and managers and promoters who earn when their guys fights. They have a vested interest in staving off retirement. My vested interest is to entertain readers, by and large. I have no veiled motivation, or clouded judgment, though ardent Tito fans may beg to differ.
“I fight for my fans,” Trinidad says.
TT, you can sign autographs for your fans.
You can pose for pics in PR for your fans.
Stay retired for you.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV