Most of us forgot at the end

 

Last past Thursday night, from the Civic Center, in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, 49-year-old Roy Jones Jr. capped off his career (or that’s what he has promised) by out-pointing journeyman Scott Sigmon over 10 rounds.

 

I can’t lie; outside of being reminded of this on Twitter, I had forgotten about this fight. In fact, truth be told, I didn’t much care.

 

This fight was part of the UFC Fight Pass (hey, how’s that for making a splash into boxing?) and I’m sure there are already YouTube links of this fight but there’s no interest here in spending time on that when it could be better used for watching “The Dead Mall” series. But our very own Michael Baca II was curious – or was it bored? – enough to sign up for the Fight Pass to actually view this event and do a report for UCNLive.com. (Roy Jones Jr. caps off an epic career with decision win over Scott Sigmon)

 

According to these tweets, I didn’t miss much:

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a time when Jones was must-see-TV and his outings were aired on HBO and a few select fights on pay-per-view. In recent years, his bouts had become more or less curiosities or novelty acts played out in far-flung venues that ranged from Russia (where he remained a fascinating figure to that country and a part of American pop culture, like blue jeans and Coca Cola, to which they still gravitated) to Wilmington, Delaware (where he took on noted bare-knuckle brawler Bobby Gunn) to the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Arizona (where he actually faced a fan who won the right to face him in the ring):

 

 

Hey, it’s a living. If a guy can make a few bucks doing what he does best – and does what he’s best known for – who can knock it? Some will say this tarnishes his legacy. Well, that’s hard to say. In terms of his overall greatness, most athletes are defined by what they did in their peak years and, during his, “RJ” was a sublime talent, a once-in-a-generation type who was often imitated (poorly) but never truly duplicated. His style was all his own and he was a mesmerizing blend of speed, quickness and athleticism. Fundamentally sound, he was not (in fact, his influence has probably ruined a good portion of boxers who tried to follow his unorthodox footsteps in the ring) but he was every bit the natural that Roy Hobbs was.

 

You can’t teach what he once did and what he did shouldn’t be taught.

 

It’s been said that, like a great jazz musician, Roy didn’t need to read any notes, he could just riff and make beautiful music. As you search YouTube for “Roy Jones Jr. Highlights,” there are 235,000 results and you see compilations like this:

 

 

Yeah, the last decade or so of his career is absolutely a part of Jones’ history but it was akin to Shaquille O’Neal in his final years as he bounced around from Phoenix to Cleveland to Boston, as he played out his NBA career. The dominance of both in their respective fields was so great, even the less-than-storybook endings don’t necessarily tarnish their overall standing.

 

There is no denying his achievements. Coming out of the 1988 Olympics, he just looked destined for stardom and he certainly lived up to those lofty expectations, winning the vacant IBF middleweight title against Bernard Hopkins, in May of 1993, and then, a short time later, taming the fearsome James Toney (considered among the elite boxers in the sport at that juncture) for his 168-pound title.

 

For most of the 1990s, there seemed to be two classes of boxers: Roy Jones…and then everybody else. He won titles at light heavyweight and, eventually, in 2003 (nearly 10 years after winning a middleweight title), he captured a version of the heavyweight crown by easily vanquishing John Ruiz. If he would have retired right then, the debate would be right now: Jones or Sugar Ray Robinson as the GOAT?

 

(But this will always be a heated debate, even in this context. For me, what clouds the issue is, some time along the way, for as great as Jones was in the ring, he was just as adept at leveraging his HBO deal into a series of mis-mandatory fights and, because of network/boxing politics and allegiances, attractive and interesting fights against  and then-lineal and WBO champion Darius Michalczweski – when certain media members for some reason didn’t make such a fuss over the lineal title – never materialized. There is the sense that there were simply too many fights left on the table, when it comes to Jones and his prime.)

 

Regardless, the unfortunately reality is that about only half the story had been written and Jones was never quite the same guy after moving back down to 175 and having to face the difficult Antonio Tarver, who had the hubris to not be intimidated by the self-proclaimed “Mr. Unknockoutable.” From then on, the losses started to come with more regularity (as did the stoppage defeats) and, in the greatest irony, the man who seemed to have such a conflicted relationship with the sport – couldn’t get away from it.

 

It reminded you off that classic closing line from Jim Bouton from “Ball Four”: “A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball and, in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” This was Roy Jones, who once actually played a game of organized hoops before facing Eric Lucas and spoke openly of not wanting to be the stereotypical boxer who got out of this sport bruised and battered, with not much to show for it.

 

In the end, however, all these years later, boxing did end having a hold on him.

 

 

Y’ALL MUST’VE FORGOT

 

OK, he may have not been Rakim or Nas but I found Jones’ “Y’all Must’ve Forgot” pretty catchy:

 

 

But this is probably his best song:

 

 

 

FINAL FLURRIES

 

WBC 130-pound beltholder Miguel Berchelt defeated Maxwell (House) Awuku in three rounds this weekend. He could face his mandatory Miguel “Mickey” Roman (who also won this weekend) next. There has even been some chatter of a unification bout against WBA champion Alberto Machado…I like Jaime Munguia a lot. Yeah, he gets hit; so what? He can thump and he’ll make for some fun fights in the future…So far so good for the new look, Cavaliers…This final season of “Scandal,” on ABC, has been incredible…I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.

 

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