The Comeback Went Off the Rails; Now, For Mike Jones, “We’ll See What Happens”

So far, so good.

Off 26 months, but it looked like Mike Jones wasn’t working to shake off a thick layer of rust as he dominated Jaime Herrera in the first and second rounds at Ballys in Atlantic City on Saturday night.

The aisled were jammed up, the fans in attendance were on their feet prior to this main event, pitting Jones against Herrera, an 11-2 guy invited to the dance to test Jones, to give a good account of himself, but not, at the end of the night, have his hand raised.

Jones, the 31-year-old from Philly, had the footwork edge on the less experienced boxer. He stung the underdog from Illinois, shook him with crisp connections. With seconds left in the second, Jones scored a knockdown, which had the Ballys brigade amped. It seemed like Herrera might not recover. But he was working off a different script…

You wouldn’t know it by watching the third round, though. Herrera took yet another trip to the canvas. Jones backers were jazzed, as it looked to even an untrained eye that the end was near for Herrera. He got out his red pen, scratched out what had been written by the Jones gang, the best case scenario for the comebacker, and he started to re-make the tale.

Well-timed combinations consistently connected, and most meaningfully at the right eye of Jones, which had begun to swell after a clash of heads in the second round. Minute by minute, Herrera gained momentum and gained control of the fight, as Jones seemed to fade with each passing round.

Controlling the action well through the sixth round, Herrera was pulling ahead in the fight, as Jones was bloodied and struggling with an eye that was now part of some bad math. Eye in rough shape, put together with waning stamina…

A visibly deflated Jones barely remained on his feet at the end of the seventh round. The lungs, the legs, the eye, all were betraying him. He went back to his corner, and his condition, and probable prospects to be able to escape from Herrera’s blows, were noted by the ringside doctor. Referee Earl Jones waved off the fight.

You’ll maybe recall that Jones’ promoter, Russell Peltz, told me that a KO by Jones was needed to give the comeback a proper shine. I had to check in with Peltz, get his response to the shocker loss.

What are your feelings on the outcome of Saturday’s match up?

“As a promoter, I could not ask for a more terrific fight,” Peltz said. “You can’t do any better than that. It was a great fight with two talented fighters who were well-matched.”

Did the stoppage surprise you?

“No, I thought it would end in a knockout, and that’s what happened,” he said. “Had the referee stopped the fight after the big knockdown in the second round, and I think 99% of referees would have, we would be talking about the exciting comeback of Mike Jones, but that’s not how it went. I can’t take anything away from Herrera. He picked himself back up after two knockdowns and got right back in the fight. When you see a fighter wobbling and taking a beating early, then rise to the occasion and come out victorious, that’s impressive. The fans couldn’t have asked for a better fight and I’m happy about that.”

How did you feel about Mike’s conditioning? He looked out of shape from where I was sitting, I told Peltz. It looked like he ran out of gas.

“I think he was conditioned well, but he told me he ran out of gas,” Peltz said. “Between the hard hits he was throwing early in the first few rounds, the ring rust, and his nerves, he got beat. He had two problematic cuts, one over the right eye earlier, which was from a clash of heads, and one over the left eye. The thing about cuts from head butts are that you don’t see them immediately. The swelling catches up with the fighter in the next rounds. It’s hard to say if both of the cuts were from head butts. I will have to take a look at the tape to see when both cuts occurred, but it wasn’t called a head butt.”

How is Mike feeling now, I wondered.

“I talked to him at the airport before he was ready to return to Vegas,” Peltz said. “He didn’t remember scoring the second knockdown, which is odd. It is strange that a fighter wouldn’t remember that. He went for his catscan after the fight and everything was alright. He said he’s alright. We’ve got to wait our sixty days, and see what happens.”

What’s next for Jones?

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “He’s interested in getting back in the ring and I hope to see him there shortly. Now that he’s made it back to the ring, he’ll fight again. We will see what happens.”

Though the fight had a dramatic beginning, Jones, now 26-2, was still a far cry away from the fighter he used to be, to my eyes. He was visibly exhausted and stopped pressing the action after the fourth round. He was unable to capitalize on the two big knockdowns earlier in the fight, and his defense was not good enough to hold off a determined fighter like Herrera. To my surprise, Herrera was able to turn on a speedy offense and land numerous combinations that Jones had no energy left to answer.

Jamie Herrera advances to 12-2 in a loaded welter weight division and I am excited to see what he will be able to do in the future, and will monitor his matches moving forward. Depending on how he looks in the near future, it could tell us that he was underrated going in, or, maybe, be used as evidence that Jones’ best days are too far gone for him to be able to clamber back to the big stages.



-Radam G :

Y'all know me. I've always called Mike Jones a hype job. Danggit! He gets beat on his comeback after two years of sidelining, and people and his team act like it is the referee's fault. Yup! Nyet. Jones and company ought to get outta here.
-> Holla!

-The Commish :

Y'all know me. I've always called Mike Jones a hype job. Danggit! He gets beat on his comeback after two years of sidelining, and people and his team act like it is the referee's fault. Yup! Nyet. Jones and company ought to get outta here.
-> Holla!
With you all the way on this one, Radam! -Randy G.

-oubobcat :

Its obviously going to be tough for Jones to come back from this. It is a major set back in once appeared to be a very promising career. I wonder too how much his heart was really in the sport. He took two years off after Randall Bailey shockingly ko'd him and in that time was pretty much unheard from. By all accounts from this fight, he ran out of gas after a good start. So you have to wonder how seriously he took his conditioning. As far as a future in the sport, well that's up to him. If his heart is not in it, then he needs to get out. But if he can get properly motivated and into proper condition, well maybe he can still make a run at things. That's a big if though given what he showed in this come back effort.

-mortcola :

Radam is right on - right is right. Jones has been a fan?s disappointment, but I feel for the guy. As TSS house shrink, barring any neurological problems, I see a fighter who has lost belief in himself, the grandiosity - self-hype - that adds layers of fire and sheer will to combat-readiness, the belief that the tools in your box will WORK, that you can TAKE IT and push many superior athletes in the ring have had their day in the sun cut short because they never reconciled being mortal with being a bad-*** SOB with will power and a sharpened razor. But here?s a Doc Mortcola exception that proves the rule: Wladimir Klitschko. Hot shot giant with monster power and athleticism falls prey to anxiety the first few times someone bum-rushes his gate, and instead of becoming a car salesman or lost cause drunk, he re-tools his technique and learns to control his anxiety - no one has even shaken that "questionable" chin since the first Peter fight, and he?s lost less than a handful of rounds in years. Forget whether you think he?s boring - he fixed what failed to function, and became what he was truly capable of being. Mike Jones might learn a lesson there - a man must be have the courage to re-define himself when the first script fails. Maybe, just maybe, we see a Major Makeover and a second coming. I always liked the kid, but like Radam, i thought he was riding a wave that couldn?t last. But the raw materials an fundamentals are there.

-Froggy :

Klitschko came back very well from a rocky start to his career with a lot of help from the same guy Lennox Lewis went after suffering two knock outs, Emmanuel Stewart !

-The Commish :

Klitschko came back very well from a rocky start to his career with a lot of help from the same guy Lennox Lewis went after suffering two knock outs, Emmanuel Stewart !
Emanuel Steward was a genius at spotting a fighter's strengths and weaknesses. Shortly before Wladimir Klitschko was stopped by Lamon Brewster, Steward said to me, "Wladimir makes a terrible mistake of dropping his hands after he throws punches. A guy with fast hands and power is going to capitalize on this." Then it happened. Then Klitschko hired Steward. He hasn't lost since, keeping the principles Steward taught him. He was able to do that because he is a structured, disciplined warrior. I don't believe Mike Jones, with his distrusting, scowling, "I-don't-need-your-help" attitude, will be able to do the same thing. I am sure he'll return, but another Thomas Hearns he'll never be. Not even close. -Randy G.