Roy Jones, Jr. (55-8, 40 KOs) considers James Toney the toughest man he ever fought, but Jones is still going strong in his boxing career while Toney’s declined as a heavyweight in recent years. Jones, at 42-years-of-age, is still making strides in the Sweet Science more than 17 years after handing James Toney his first career defeat. Jones won their November of 1994 IBF Super Middleweight Title bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by unanimous decision.
Jones insists, “Actually, I was the second guy to beat him. The first guy didn’t get credit for it.” He goes on to describe Toney as a throwback type of fighter. “He had all the old school maneuvers down pat,” he recalled. “So everybody thought he was the next best thing in boxing.” Roy knew he was faster and had a much better style, and he proved it by overpowering and out pointing Toney over the course of their twelve round fight.
Jones always utilized a tremendously unique and dynamic hands down style. He used excessive upper body movement and felt no need to use his gloves to cover his face most of the time. Opponents are baited in to try and hit him, and he swivels his hips, bends over backwards, and maneuvers out of trouble while landing a few punches on the way out to a safe distance again. Speed kills when it comes to the style of Jones. It’s a style that young prospects now attempt to mimic, but nobody could ever duplicate. Even Jones found age and circumstance required him to adapt the techniques that helped him dominate in his younger years.
Jones considers his mix of talent, skill, and strength as an amalgam of some legendary fighters he watched and idolized. The first name to fly from his lips was “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali, who coincidentally turns 70 this coming week. Jones considers Ali his favorite boxer of all time, but he also admired and studied Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Marvin Hagler, and Salvador Sanchez. All these fighters helped him find his own unique blend of pugilistic prowess. A moment of truth for Roy was finding his jab and figuring out he liked throwing hooks the most.
Jones also had the honor of being an Olympian in the 1988 games in Seoul, South Korea. Unfortunately, Roy was the victim of what he calls a “robbery” at the games that cut his gold medal hopes short.
“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Jones said, but he went on to temper the remarks with the other side of the story. “The reason people lost interest in boxing is because they caught a robbery on tape and they didn’t go back and rectify it. How dumb can you be?” He is adamant that since officials were punished, the fight result should have been corrected. Jones ended his amateur career with a 121-13 record.
It was the iconic trilogy of fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that inspired Roy Jones, Jr. to box himself. He tried to take what the two did best, adapting a Joe Frazier left hook to go with the Ali jab and head movement. “Don’t get me wrong, I stole that, too,” said Jones about “the late, great” Joe Frazier’s thundering left hook.
Jones would like to accomplish two more milestones before retiring: winning heavyweight and cruiserweight world titles. He’s already accomplished so much in so many different weight classes, climbing from 119 to heavyweight. The lessons of life taught by the discipline of boxing is what Jones loves most about the sport. He says it’s as often as simple as, “You get knocked down, you get back up again” in both cases. He’s very grateful for his fans and takes a moment to thank them as much as possible.
Jones’ Head Trainer is now Tom Yankello. Jones was promoting shows Yankello was involved in when the two first met. The trainer and fighter really clicked when they appeared on the same radio show recorded at Yankello’s World Class Boxing Gym in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. “We just started talking,” Yankello explained. “And, I told him, ’Well, why don’t you come up for a couple weeks and work with me, and see how you like it, see how we mesh?’ And he said, ’You know what, that’s what I’m gonna do.’”
They certainly meshed since that first meeting, and the trainer/fighter relationship recently saw their first win with a December unanimous decision over Max Alexander in Atlanta Georgia.
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