Different things happen to different fighters as they enter the downside of their professional careers. For a fortunate few, they realize that their best days are long past and that trading blows with younger, faster opponents no longer makes either dollars or sense. Some hang on as it is the only “work” they have known, while others delude themselves into thinking they still have what it takes to realize their dreams – whatever those dreams may be.
For Roy Jones Jr. the most logical explanation as to why he has agreed to lace up the gloves once again and challenge the best light heavyweight in the world, Antonio Tarver, must be attributed to amnesia. Jones has signed on the dotted line for a third fight against Tarver at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October 1st, more than a year after his second consecutive knockout loss and without a bout in-between. While “Junior” was the best 175-pound fighter at one point in time, that time has past and back-to-back knockout losses – to Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver in 2004 – should have set alarm bells off at the notion of taking on “Magic Man” Tarver once more.
A quick online check of the Merriam-Webster good book of definitions explains that “amnesia” is:
1. loss of memory due usually to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness
2. a gap in one’s memory
3. the selective overlooking or ignoring of those events or acts that are not favorable or useful to one’s purpose or position
Oh, I really like that last one – read it with us Roy. “The selective overlooking or ignoring of those events or acts that are not favorable or useful to one’s purpose or position.”
Roy Jones had a good thing going, he was still regarded as one of the better fighters of this generation, despite not having had top competition to face. And he could have escaped to his commentating job as a means of staying in the fight game. Leaving the sport in high standing and still remaining involved in boxing without having to take a beating for it was a perfect retirement for 52-fight veteran, if only he had retired. Instead, stealing a line from his attempt at rap music when he sang “Ya’ll Must’ve Forgot” … I think Roy must’ve forgot the events of the past year.
First came a lightning fast second round knockout loss to Tarver in May of last year as the two men met for a second time to follow up Jones’ close majority decision win in 2003. That devastation was followed by a ninth round defeat as Glen Johnson turned out Roy’s lights in September 2004. Since then Roy Jones Jr. has been quietly on the sidelines working the studio and now, without a tune-up bout to work the kinks out and put the shine on his game, he will take on Tarver once more.
Only a case of “overlooking” the “not favorable” “events” of the past two fights can have Jones Jr. thinking he has any chance in the ring against Tarver this fall. He was hammered by the “Magic Man” in their second fight and looked worse for the wear in being stopped by Johnson. While the Tarver rematch was over before it started, in the bout with Johnson ,it wasn’t as if he was doing anything like the old Roy Jones Jr. who dominated the division for so many years. Instead, he just looked old. At the time of the KO, Johnson was ahead on all three judges scorecards, trailing 74-78 and 77-75 (twice).
So here comes 36-year-old Roy Jones Jr. once more, a year later, and without even a hint that he may not be the fighter he was before the losses. Indeed his “loss of memory due (usually) to brain injury, shock, fatigue ” from those two defeats has him signed on for a fight that this slower, older version of the former pound-for-pound king can’t win. His reflexes have slowed to the point where he gets hit clean by shots he used to avoid. His power was never numbing and was always based on speed. Speed kills in boxing and while he used to have it in abundance, it is now abundantly clear that another lopsided loss is in store for Roy Jones Jr.
Starting with the notion that you “can” win is the only way for a fighter to actually have the opportunity to emerge victorious. While Roy Jones seems to have convinced himself that he can do just that on October 1st at the Mandalay Bay, a few moments in the ring with Antonio Tarver might help jog his memory, real quick.