Welterweight contender Carson Jones (34-8-2, 24 KOs) wasn’t always, well, a contender. The 25-year-old has already been through more adversity in his boxing career than many of the sport’s grizzled veterans.
In these modern days of the fight game, boxing is a sport none too kind to fighters who take on a loss or two. Jones? He’s already got eight of them, along with two draws—blemishes which were accumulated as he made his way through what is perhaps the cruelest of sports, as a too heavy junior middleweight and, in his opinion, a largely mismanaged one.
“I have eight losses,” he said. “I’m just resilient. I knew what was happening early in my career. I knew I was being thrown to the wolves just for a few bucks here and there.”
Soon after hooking up with Oklahoma boxing manager Bobby Dobbs, Jones decided to move down a weight class. Since then, Jones’ career has really taken off. He’s won eight straight contests as a 147 pound fighter, all by knockout.
“It’s the perfect division for me,” he said. “I’m bigger and stronger at this weight.”
Results like that get you noticed, and he’s parlayed it into a fight against undefeated UK prospect Kell Brook (27-0, 18 KOs), scheduled for Saturday, July 7th in England.
While Brook has built a good following in his homeland thus far, and is considered a promising prospect in the sport, Jones expects to be able to take home what would be the biggest win of his career when the two meet in Brook’s backyard of Yorkshire.
“I think he’s a decent fighter—a decent boxer. He’s hyped, but he doesn’t have the kind of power everybody thinks he does,” said Jones. “I’ll stop him towards the end of the fight.”
Jones is confident but not in an overly cocky way. He speaks like someone who knows how the fight game works, and he reaffirmed his belief about how important the business side of boxing is to fighters (the careful management of opponents, the selection of who to fight when), and he believes it has helped his opponent, actually one year his senior at twenty-six years of age, get to where he is today.
“He’s been managed well. They’ve done a good job picking his opponents.”
Jones has never fought overseas before, but he is anxious to give it a try. In fact, he seems to relish the opportunity to travel abroad to fight what is boxing’s version of an away game.
“I don’t have a problem going over there.I’ve been to people’s hometowns before, and I’ve done my job to take home the victory. When it comes down to it, it’s just me and him fighting whether it’s his hometown or mine…it’s not going to change the outcome.”
Jones is headed there a week beforehand so his body can get used to the time change. While he’s over there, don’t be surprised if you hear about him trying to get into his opponent’s head a little bit with some trash talk.When the fight was announced in the UK, Jones let his bark do the talking at the presser in a fervent display of bravado and trash talk. Jones admitted he does this type of thing on purpose as a way to test out his opponent’s mental make-up, and that he was glad to find it seemed to have its intended effect on Brook.
“He’s never had anybody up in his face before, and he really didn’t know how to react to it. He looked a little scared to me.”
Whether or not Brook was really scared remains to be seen, but Jones intends to find out. Jones is adamant that he’ll knock his opponent out in similar fashion to his last eight, and the way he says it would make even the most doubting Thomas a true believer.
Should he upset Brook, the resurgent Carson Jones said he would be open to any fight at welterweight. The Brook contest is scheduled as an IBF title eliminator for the opportunity to perhaps face Randall Bailey in the near future, but the seasoned fighter knows how sanctioning bodies can be, and he isn’t putting all his eggs into one basket.
He mentioned Bailey as a possible opponent as well as Brook’s countryman, Amir Khan, but also said there were so many others out there he’d love an opportunity against once he takes care of business against Brook.
“One fight at a time,” he said almost as if to remind himself.
I asked Jones what made him choose boxing. Arguably the most difficult of sports to make a living in, why did Jones decide on boxing in the first place, and how in the world did he stick with it after those early rough patches.
“Boxing was the only thing I’ve ever been good at,” he chuckled. “I suck at basketball. I’m not good at football…. I’m good at boxing and eating!”
Jones is a renowned connoisseur of sorts. He loves food and is eager to try out new foods whenever he gets the chance. It’s a likeable, everyman-sort-of-trait he seems to posses, one that l wins him fast friends during his many travels. In fact, a frequent topic of conversation with the UK press while he was over there for the fight’s promotion, was where could get the best fish n’ chips in town.
Fighters don’t make it in boxing by being affable, though, so I begin to wonder what makes Jones the fighter he is today.
I asked Carson Jones just what exactly got into him. How does a guy like him rebound the way he did to become a bonafide contender in a sport eager to throw careers into the sewer at the first sign of trouble.What’s his secret? What does he know that others might not get?
“What got into me?” he replied with amusement. “Some hard ass work!”
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?