When Roy Jones moves up to face 'the Quiet Man' John Ruiz, Jones will be facing daunting odds as he's giving away as much as 40 pounds to the naturally heavier Ruiz. But while there may be a great disparity in weight,Teddy Atlas, the noted trainer and ESPN2 boxing analyst, says that there's a greater disparity in the opposite direction when it comes to talent and hand-speed that favors Jones.
” I think that Jones' hand-speed can keep his feet steady. Everyone thinks about how his feet are going to have to be quick but his hands are very quick. If his hands can get off quick enough, he doesn't have to run, he can step around a little bit, maybe hold Ruiz off.”
And Atlas believes that where Evander Holyfield couldn't pull the trigger on openings against Ruiz( who he fought three times), Jones will be able to sharp shoot him at will. And one other thing, Jones, according to Atlas wouldn't be taking this fight unless he was sure he could take down Ruiz.
” I think that Jones who has been a pretty good manager himself, beside being a pretty good fighter, is picking this fight because he looks at it the same way.”
So what wins out, the talent or the size? It's a tough call but after some waffling I'm going with Jones. Why, you may ask? Well, I've always felt that boxing was a sport dependent on skill, not size. Size and strength only matter if everything else is equal. In this case, it isn't. Jones is so much better in every other tangible category you get the sense that Ruiz's advantages in size and strength will only keep the fight somewhat competitive and interesting, but not enough so that he downs Jones.
Let's make this clear, like Atlas stated, Jones knows how to pick his spots. He's made a great living leveraging his HBO contract which has basically allowed him to pick and choose his opponents- and he's been very judicious in doing so. No matter how much he may be getting paid for this( a cool $10 million in this case), his ego simply wouldn't allow him to take a fight that he wasn't sure to win. And while other light heavyweights like Billy Conn took on the great Joe Louis and Michael Spinks moved up to face Larry Holmes. Jones, is taking on a guy that, while he does have the WBA belt around his waist, is considered nothing more than a titlist and no better than the fifth or sixth best big man in the game, currently.
What does make this fight interesting is that Jones has always referred to himself as a 'blown-up super middleweight' and is now facing a fighter that will come in around 220 pounds. Again, he is the better prizefighter, but will the law of physics take over? Think about it, Bob Foster, at 6'3, was one of the biggest and hardest punching 175-pounders ever, yet he would get routinely hammered by heavyweights who weighed no more than 210 pounds. But then again, nobody has ever accused Ruiz of being in the same class as Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali- or even Doug Jones or Zora Folley for that matter.
Styles do make fights, but class and skills win them.
Ok, I'm not saying that Clifford Etienne didn't get hit by a good right hand from Mike Tyson this past weekend, but my only question is, if he was that paralyzed from the punch that he wasn't going to make an effort to beat the ten-count, how did he have the wherewithall to calmly take out his mouthpiece while on the canvas? I mean he did everything short of stifling a yawn and stretching out a bit.
As for Tyson, I know some myopic Tyson fanatics will claim that this 49-second demolition of 'the Black Rhino' was the beginning of another Tyson rebirth. But what it really is, is a testimony to the matchmaking skills of Shelly Finkel and all of his other enablers who will try to milk their cash cow for all it's worth.
Etienne, was chosen for a reason and that reason was shown on Saturday night. He's more fragile than fine china or Marcus Camby.
And it's interesting to me that Etienne, who's one shot at being competitive was to take the fight into the middle rounds would come out to the center of the ring and slug with Tyson. Tyson, is no doubt a spent bullet, but he will forever be a puncher. Wouldn't it have been more prudent to at least try and stay away from 'Rusty' Mike and take him into the deep water? He didn't even make him go into the kiddie pool. But again, that's why he was chosen to face Tyson, he only knows one way to fight.
Afterwards, Tyson stated that he needed at least two or three more bouts before going into a rematch with Lennox Lewis. It may have been the most honest Tyson's been with himself or anybody else in a long time. But the stark reality is that Tyson detests training and would have a hard time making a commitment for the lesser fights knowing he could make as much for a rematch with Lewis as he could for facing two or three Etienne-like opponents.
And as someone close to the Tyson situation told me on Monday night,” I wouldn't believe any of that. He's been saying he's been two or three fights away from a Lewis fight forever.” In other words, actions speak louder than words and don't be completely shocked if Tyson and his people jump right back into a return match with Lewis.
Also, Showtime, which has televised Tyson exclusively for the past decade is way tired of the shenanigans and headaches. They reportedly have one more fight left on their deal with Tyson- which is for a Lewis rematch- and they themselves may not want to deal with the problems Tyson brings anymore. Who can blame them?
After being taken along on the roller-coaster ride that was training Tyson, Freddie Roach had an appropriate ending to his week.
After going through the twists and turns of the past week- where the fight was post-poned and then recalled within 24 hours- Roach would travel to Memphis to work with Tyson after his fighter had basically stopped coming to the gym as he worked out his 'issues' two weeks ago. Through all the turmoil and tumult, it was Roach who made it clear that he felt Tyson should not fight.
Well, like everyone else, he would be in Memphis- hey, who could blame him? You spend six weeks with Tyson and try coming home with nothing- and it would be an easy night's work as Etienne was quickly dispatched. Afterwards, Roach, would be left behind and forgotten by the rest of Team Tyson and he would have to hitchike his way back from the arena to the hotel.
Anyone else get the feeling that Roach may have worked his last bout with Tyson?