Y’all Musta Forgot: A Look Back At RJJ

Roy Jones Jr. went out the same way he came in, a winner! The four- division former champion took a lopsided decision over Scott Sigmon, who is best known for losing to a come-backing Kelly Pavlik and being a gatekeeper for the likes of Ronald Gavril, J’leon Love, Caleb Truax and others. After 29 years as a professional boxer, winning world titles in four weight divisions and having 75 fights, the all-time great and former pound-for-pound king walked away. Jones always said that his final fight would be a homecoming in Pensacola, Florida, and he gave his fans an entertaining performance at the Pensacola Bay Center. The exact venue he turned pro in almost 30 years ago. The bout was the main event on a card streamed live by something called the UFC Fight Pass. A long way from his glory days of fighting megafights on PPV and HBO he actually fought more times on HBO than any fighter in history. Jones looked as if he was having a lot of fun throughout the fight, as he did so often in his prime, In the second, RJJ landed an uppercut, smiled and began chatting to the fans.Moments later, he looked to the fans at ringside to talk to them again while flicking a no-look jab into Sigmon’s face. It was reminiscent of a 20 something-year-old Roy.


Roy Jones Jr will walk away from the sport with a record of 66-9 (47) a six-time champion in four different weight divisions as well as an Olympic silver medalist and a sure-fire first ballot hall of famer. Quite an accomplished career, one that doesn’t even began to do justice to his incredible legacy. If you are under 25-years-old, you probably aren’t aware of the awesomeness that Roy Jones Jr possessed. His name is probably as nostalgic as Carlos Monzon or Marvin Hagler to you, just some old head your Dad told you about. Some fighter you saw way after his heyday and wondered cmon this guy was really the best P4P?  In the 90’s he was the Michael Jordan, the Tiger Woods of our sport. He was in a different class than everyone else. He could play in a professional basketball game (USBL) by day and successfully defend his super middleweight world title by night. Which he did in 1996 against Eric Lucas, Lucas went on to be a world champion later in his career. So Lucas was not exactly a slouch. That’s the level Roy Jones Jr was on. America’s premier sports performance manager and career extension specialist, Mackie Shilstone is among America’s most influential fitness experts. He has worked with over 3,000 professional athletes including the then St Louis Rams of the NFL and that St Louis Cardinals said that Roy Jones Jr was by far the best athlete he has ever worked with. That includes athletes like Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Ozzie Smith. That athleticism would prove to be the greatest gift and curse of RJJ’s career.


If all you can remember of Roy, is the past 15 years of his career, well Y’all Musta Forgot. Most of the boxing world, who is old enough to remember, was introduced to the future legend in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988, he was the victim of one of the most blatant ripoffs in Olympic and boxing history. A decision that was so awful it changed the way we scored Olympic style boxing for decades to come. Park Si-Hun the winner of the bout thus the Gold medalist would later apologize to Jones for what was obviously a bogus decision. The image of Jones exiting the ring with a towel covering his tearful face is interwoven with Olympic fight fans forever. Following the Olympics, he turned pro in May 1989. Kicking off his first 15 fights with 15 knockouts. By 1993 he destroyed veteran middleweight Glenn Wolfe with a body shot and just a few months later took a one-sided decision over future legendary middleweight Bernard Hopkins winning his first world title, the vacant IBF strap.


In 1994, Jones moved up to super middleweight and won the IBF 168 strap by dropping and dominating, one of the best, super middleweight champ James “Lights Out” Toney, in what was supposed to be a mega fight and a mega challenge. The undefeated former “Fighter of the Year”James Toney, was outclassed, dominated and embarrassed. The highlight came in round three when Jones dropped his hands to mock Toney, Toney did the same, and Jones struck with a lightning quick left hook that dropped “Lights Out” the young Jones had absolutely sonned the legendary P4P Toney. This victory established Roy as the pound for pound best in the world. A title he held onto for roughly a decade. Destroying the likes of Antoine Byrd in round 1, Vinny Pazienza, Merqui Sosa, Erik Lucas and Bryant Brannon. Before moving up to light heavyweight and becoming the undisputed 175-pound king taking out Mike McCallum, Montel Griffin in one round, Virgil Hill with an unforgettable body shot, Otis Grant, Reggie Johnson, Julio Caesar Green, Clinton Woods and a list of other names.


That’s three divisions down. In need of a challenge, Jones moved up to heavyweight in March 2003. Packed on nearly 20 pounds and took on his largest challenge to date and won the WBA heavyweight title with another easy decision over the overmatched and oversized John Ruiz, who’d beaten Evander Holyfield for the title. Making Jones Jr a four division champ. Roy tried in vain to make a fight with Evander Holyfield put those attempts where fruitless and perhaps it should have been a sign for the then 35-Year-old undisputed P4P King to hang em up. Jones needlessly returned to the light heavyweight division in November 2003, forcing himself to lose 18 pounds against Antonio Tarver. It showed. Jones looked tired, slower and lethargic in winning a close decision. The extreme weight loss sucked the life out of Jones’ remaining championship years. The end was coming as fast as a Jones Jr left hook. Tarver knocked Roy out cold in a rematch that took place six months later. In his comeback fight, he was knocked out cold again, this time by Glen Johnson in September of 2004. That was 14 years ago. What happened afterward really doesn’t matter. Because what a fighter does after his prime should never count against him, it clearly was not the same amazing, jaw-dropping specimen that annihilated all comers in four divisions. At his best, Jones was unbeatable period. RJJ was something the boxing world had never seen before, double, triple and quadruple left hooks making it look easy and fun knocking out dudes with both hands behind his back. He made great champions look desperate and cracked their ribs with one body shot. That was legendary, prime, Roy Jones. No one could question his greatness, he was Fighter of The Decade for the 90’s and an all-time great who will be forever memorialized in Canasota in the International Boxing Hall of Fame


Compiling a record of 65-9 (47 KO), Roy says he is done. Done with fighting professionally. Roy’s legacy will live on. This renaissance type man has an amazingly successful career in broadcasting (“he’s not getting up Jim”) and a knack for pointing out certain intricacies that even the hardest of hard cores may have overlooked. He is a venturing capitalist. Sharing his skills with the world. Partnering with Star Vizn to offer a first-class experience in his boxing world. With an online training platform where youths, adults, athletes, future entrepreneurs and aspiring entertainers can learn how to become better at their craft through an app. The platform allows anyone to gain exclusive, behind-the-scenes training from some of the biggest names in their industries on both iOS and Android. More importantly to boxing fans, his promotional company Roy Jones Jr is taking off as a hidden gem to fight fans. He represents such prospects as Aston Palicte, Max Ornales and Ray Ximenez and a list of others who are right on the verge. The younger generation, unfortunately, may not get a first-hand experience of the awesomeness that Roy gave us however through all of his ventures his name and presence will not disappear and his legacy will live on in the annals of boxing history.






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