Roy Jones Jr Wants to Win Heavyweight Title


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.

Wikipedia (,_Jr.) describes how the 88 Games went for Jones as follows:Jones represented the United States at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, where he won the silver medal.[1] He dominated his opponents, never losing a single round en route to the final. His participation in the final was met with controversy when he lost a 3-2 decision to South Korean fighter Park Si-Hun despite pummeling Park for three rounds, landing 86 punches to Park’s 32.[1] Allegedly, Park himself apologized to Jones afterward, and the referee told Jones that he was dumbstruck by the judge’s decision.[2] One judge shortly thereafter admitted the decision was a mistake, and all three judges voting against Jones were eventually suspended. An official IOC investigation concluding in 1997 found that three of the judges were wined and dined by South Korean officials. This led to calls for Jones to be awarded a gold medal, but the IOC still officially stands by the decision, despite the allegations. Jones was awarded the Val Barker trophy as the best stylistic boxer of the 1988 games, which was only the third and to this day the last time in the competition’s history when the award did not go to one of the gold medal winners. The incident led Olympic organizers to establish a new scoring system for Olympic boxing.

“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.’”

Jones came back to Yankello’s gym for another two week session. “We had a lot of fun, and we hit it off real well,” Said Yankello. During his time with Jones, Yankello’s picked up on a few nuances of Roy’s game and done his best to work on improving what he can. “We’ve just been going to work on things,“ said Yankello about their work lately. “I’ve been trying to get him to use a lot of the things that he was doing early on in his career, but he kind of left it alone because he was so good and so dominant, he didn’t have to use it. And then also working on some things that he has and never really used, but he just needs to add to his game. As he gets a little older he’s gonna have to be a little bit more technical. You can’t win on your God given talent forever, and he’s such a natural talent. Without a doubt he‘s gotta be the most talented boxer to ever lace up gloves.”Jones came to Yankello with an open mind, and the trainer did his best to refine the fighter’s style, “tightening him up without taking away what he does great.” He insists Jones will continue to improve and adapt on his way to the cruiserweight belt. Already in eight weeks of face time with the fighter he feels confident that goal is within reach. “He’ll be a 9-time world champion in five different weight divisions,” promised Yankello. “I just see a lot of life in him right now.”

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.

Rich Bergeron

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