No, nobody will be clamoring for Roy Jones to get the Calzaghe/Kessler winner, or demand he get the Hopkins/Wright victor, but the old dog can still pull off a trick or two when he needs to.
The 38-year-old former pound for pound king still has some pretty blazing hands, which he threw at Anthony Hanshaw often enough to convince the judges at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi to award him a unanimous decision on Saturday evening.
Jones, now a winner of two straight after dropping three straight before that, sent Hanshaw to the deck in the 11th with a throwback combo that necessitated the super-slo-mo on the DVR to decipher.
The IBC light heavyweight title was on the line, as the judges saw it 114-113, 117-110, 118-109 for Jones, who gave Hanshaw props after as a “game opponent,” and declared that he came into the fight with a cut on his eye that needed four stitches. I had it 6-4-2 Jones, with an extra point bump for the knockdown.
Hanshaw, who switched from John Russell to Floyd Mayweather Sr a month ago, gave a credible performance, but he is hampered by a mediocre skill set that didn't quite match his desire.
Jones' record now stands at 51-4, while the 29-year-old Hanshaw drops down to 21-1-1.
After, Jones mentioned Tito Trinidad and Glen Johnson as possible opponents.
The crowd wanted to see Roy close it out in the 12th, but Hanshaw wasn't spent. He backed Jones against the ropes, but to no great effect. Jones' punches were the showier, as his speed of delivery was much superior to Hanshaw. He finished the round, in crafty vet fashion, with straight rights to convince the judges that he deserved the frame. He did, barely, as Hanshaw had nothing left in the tank.
In the 11th, Jones ate a right that hurt and fired back. A sweeping left clipped Hanshaw good, and he backed off. But he soon came back in Jones' face and worked the former P4P King. Not so fast–Jones ripped off a combo and dropped the underdog. He stood and Jones smiled at him, instead of jumping on Hanshaw. A 10-8 Jones round, off the fab flurry, a right hook, a left hook, left upper. Another left hook, basically a push, sent him to the floor, but he was up, with pretty clear eyes, with 40 seconds to go.
The tenth came and saw Jones still with a good store of energy. He kept Hanshaw off with a mock-jab, and dropped in some left hooks often enough to perhaps win the frame during some trench action in the corner. The action was semi furious to close the round and you had to give them both props for perkiness. An even round on my card.
In the ninth, Jones kicked off with a direct right. But he soon backed up, and leaned against the saggy ropes. Jones fought back, though, and landed a solid left hook to the ribs after a right upper that sent spit flying. Hanshaw looked to tie up. But Jones had some energy and sustained the attack. His hand speed is still better than average and he swept a left hook onto Hanshaw's mug. The Tyger didn't fold, and found a home for that left hook to the body. He didn't win the ninth, though.
In the eighth, Jones started off back to the ropes. He absorbed a left hook to the body, one of many, without flinching. He came back with a lead right that scored noticeably, the sort of punch that will juice the crowd and sway the judges. Jones livlied up late but not enough to take the round.
In the seventh, Jones took advantage of Hanshaw's lack of head movement to land the straight right. The Ohioan doubled up on hooks, and had Jones draped over the top rope, leaning back. He forced Jones to be more active, and kept the pedal down throughout, winning the round.
In the sixth, Jones was popping uppercuts, straight rights and hooks, as Hanshaw's defense looked worse and worse. But he came on in in the last third, and maybe would've taken the round, if the crafty Jones didn't cap the sesh with a straight right.
In the fifth, Jones slipped and ducked in an entertaining fashion, but he parted with the punches in sparing fashion. A left hookercut to the gut scored, as did a straight right, and they came at the end of the round, in an attempt to steal the round. He did.
In the fourth, Hanshaw looked plodding, and ate a left upper. A straight right from Jones, quick and short, was effective as well. Jones backed against the ropes and fended off Hanshaw shots in an even round.
In the third, Jones started with his feel flat, his hands out far in front of his face in a defensive posture. Hansahw ripped some body shots with bad intent here, but Jones took them in manly fashion. Jones' flashy right lead had the crowd pumped as he tried to steal the last third of the round, but Hanshaw won the session.
In the second round, Hanshaw had the eye of the tiger, looking to land to the head and body, as Jones backtracked. Jones landed an uppercut that had the crowd ooohing, and then added a left hook, and a snappy right that had Hanshaw retreating. A right to the chin got Hanshaw's respect, but the Ohio fighter pressed on, though not with the same fervor. Again, Jones landed a lead straight right that seemed effective. Jones danced a jig, while holding the top rope with one hand. The crowd ate it up. A Jones round.
In the first, Hanshaw came out cracking, looking to set the tone. Jones, who looked fit, without any of the Bondsian bulk of 5-7 years ago, got into center ring, but didn't throw, and soon was backed into the ropes. Hanshaw was busier and got the nod.
San Antonio's Oscar Diaz (25-2, 12 KOs) took on Juan Buendia (14-1-1, 8 KOs) from Mexico in a welterweight scrap. The two butted heads accidentally, immediately, and a gash opened over Diaz' left peeper. The doctor stopped the fight after looking at it for a quick spell. It will be called a No Decision.
In situations such as this, a corner should be able to work on the cut, and close it, and have a point deducted, because guess what? Guess who gets screwed? The viewer who ponied up the $30. The slice would've made Abdullah the Butcher proud, though.
Poor Mike Marley resorted to wasting time introducing dignitaries in the crowd. The GM of the facility applauded himself for holding such a marvelous event, not five minutes after the chief support bout was halted as soon as it started.
Pensecolan Derrick Gainer (41-7-1, 24 KOs) kicked off the PPV, fighting in a scheduled tenner in the lightweight class against 28-6-1 Carlos Navarro. The ex featherweight titleholder Gainer, a southpaw, was in against another lefty.
Gainer and Jones had been best buds, had a falling out, but Gainer made a healing phone call, and asked Roy to get back in the fold. The judges rendered a verdict, calling Navarro the winner, with scores of 96-94 (Gainer), 98-94 (Navarro), 96-92 (Gainer). Tony Paige called it one of his all-time worst decisions. “A terrible, terrible decision,” Sam Rosen, the play by play man, said.
SPEEDBAG–Floyd Sr told interviewer Massachusetts Mike Marley that Jones was a “ghost,” and a “corpse” before the bout. “He was exceptionally fast but when he beat all those bums they was over the hill, now he's gonna swallow the same damn pill,” Senior said. Afterwards, everyone got along, comprehending that publicity mongering had made everyone talk nasty.
–Marley chatted with 85-year-old Lou Duva, who talked up Oscar Diaz before the fighter gloved up. The kid trained harder than the '84 Olympians, Lou said.
–This is a stupid trend. Trying to be all American Idol, the producers offered text quizzes at $.99 a text, during the show. How many sad figures fell for it, I wonder?
–Senior's balding dreads look is gone, he shaved his head, It looks much better.