Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Can Jones/Calzaghe Sell?
Published November 6, 2008

Can Jones / Calzaghe Sell?

At the gritty age of 43 Bernard Hopkins proved that he still has it.

Now, long time nemesis Roy Jones Jr. is hoping to recapture the magic that once hailed him as one of the all time great pound for pound fighters when he faces Joe Calzaghe at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 8 on HBO Pay Per View.

Jones will turn 40 in January and just three fights ago he was considered a boxing great has-been.

His favorite network had cast him aside refusing to allow him to fight on HBO and even forced him out as one of their darling boxing analyst.

Executives at the network said they were more concerned about his health then they were about him fighting again.

There was good reason for HBO to be concerned.

Jones was reeling in the mist of a three fight-losing streak that began in 2004 with a second round TKO at the hands of light hitting Antonio Tarver. Four months later Jones tried to redeem himself against Glen Johnson, but was battered even worse in a ninth round KO in Memphis that appeared life threatening.

After losing in such disgraceful fashion to the journeyman Johnson, Jones took a year off and came back against Tarver and basically fought to not get knocked out and suffered a unanimous decision loss.

At that point, arguably the lowest valley in an otherwise illustrious career where he reigned as middleweight champion and light heavyweight king and one time heavyweight champion, Jones was written off in the sport.

HBO would not touch him with a ten-foot pole, major promoters would not return his phone calls and all that remained was how it would end for the Olympic prodigy who was robbed of Olympic Gold in 1988.

Always one to steer clear of promoters and negotiate his own deals, Jones was left with a Square Ring Promotional company for which he was the only name fighter.

He staged his first comeback fight in 2006 against an obscure Prince Badi Ajamu in of all places Boise, Idaho- a long way from the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas where he shined so bright.

Then after another year on the shelf he turned to the only man who would have anything to do with him Murad Muhammad, a promoter who doesn't have any fighters and had lost his most precious jewel in Manny Pacquiao in a bidding war to Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.

For Muhammad it was a match made in resurrection dreamland. They both needed each other and if Jones had anything left it would thrust Muhammad back into the boxing spotlight along with one of its favorite sons.

Muhammad picked an undefeated prospect named Anthony Hanshaw and convinced InDemand to televise it on pay per view. The site was the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi not from Jones hometown of Pensacola, FL.

Hanshaw was a heavy handed albeit green and if Jones could take his punch and weather another Golf Coast storm after the region was still reeling from the punch of Katrina, it would deem him worthy of a comeback.

All went according to plan. Jones won a unanimous decision in front of 11,000 spectators and after the fight declared that he wanted to redeem himself against Johnson and then Tarver.

A plan that Muhammad had outlined. In the meantime Jones and Muhammad were receiving calls from the father of Felix Trinidad who wanted Jones to fight the Puerto Rican star.

Muhammad had warned against the fight for fear that Trinidad's promoter Don King would force him back into unemployed promoter line of New Jersey.

Jones, disappointed with the gate receipts from the Hanshaw fight went to Deerfield Beach, FL and signed with King to fight Trinidad.

Jones had vowed that he would finish his career with a promoter that he despised in the past, King hap hazard welcomed Jones, but hoping that Trinidad could pull off the victory.

Jones floored Trinidad early in the fight on Jan. 19 2008 at Madison Square Garden and went on to win a unanimous decision. The Pay Per View buys were around a half million and Jones had not only redeemed himself as a fighter, but more importantly his box office appeal was back.

King gave Jones free reign to fight where ever he choose in the meantime while he positioned for a lucrative payday for Jones against Calzaghe, but subsequently did something that he rarely does. He just let Jones go and now the fight is happening with Calzaghe.

One of King's longtime employees John Wirth abandon the DKP ship and left to work with Jones and is now running Square Ring Promotions.

A win against Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion Calzaghe would put aside the kryptonite theory and reignite Superman Roy Jones boxing career.

A defeat, depending upon how it comes about may or may not tarnish what up to this point has been a stellar career.

Jones is 52-4 and the undefeated Calzaghe is a sparkling 45-0.

Jones dumped King and Calzaghe dumped British promoter Frank Warren and now we find out if the public is buying this fight that HBO has signed onto.


Categories: News (Sports)

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