Roy Jones Jr. on the ground after he was knocked out by Russia's Denis Lebedev. (Photo: AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
We saw two way-past-their-prime prized fighters enter the boxing ring over the weekend and exit with two very different results.
Resident loud mouth Bernard Hopkins, 46, won a decision over Jean Pascal to claim the light heavyweight title and become the oldest person to win a boxing championship in the history of the sport.
But the one that had to be the most troubling was the one that ended with Roy Jones, Jr. laid out on the canvas motionless for what seemed like a minute during the final round of his non-title bout against Denis Lebedev in Moscow. It was the third straight defeat for Jones, 42, who was once considered boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter in the middleweight ranks.
Clearly it is time for Jones to hang it up. Forget about the harm the charismatic boxer is doing to his career. His health has to be a major concern as it continues to take untold punishment in the ring.
In the final second of the 10th round Saturday, Jones looked defenseless as Lebedev landed four straight punches. The result was Jones being knocked out cold.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to do now,” Jones said when asked by reporters if he would retire now. “I’m going to think about it.”
There really seems to be nothing to think about. Jones needs to take a page out of Mike Tyson’s book and understand that when you start losing to the caliber of fighters that Jones is losing to, then it’s time to hang up the gloves.
Jones lost last year to Danny Green and Hopkins, and now he suffered a defeat to a relative upstart in Lebedev, who improved to 22-1, but was by far fighting his biggest name opponent over the weekend.
It’s been tough to watch Jones, who once toyed with opponents in the ring, attempt to box as a shell of his former self. It’s not like he doesn’t have other options. Unlike some other retired boxers, Jones has the chops, charisma and intelligence to provide in-depth boxing analysis.
If Tyson can make $200,000 for cameo appearances in movies, as he will for the upcoming Hangover 2, then surely there is some money to be made by Jones outside of the boxing ring.
Hopkins, in the meanwhile, pulled off what has to be considered an impressive win over Jean Pascal in their light heavyweight bout in Montreal. The man who once was a dominant middleweight fighter has now won the light heavyweight title twice.
"I didn't feel like I was 46 tonight. I felt closer to 36," Hopkins said. "I can say I am a great fighter. It was exciting. I think everybody enjoyed themselves. It feels great. I set out to do exactly what I wanted to do, which was to break this record. I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I wasn't going to be denied."
But now the real problem sets in. Hopkins (52-5-2) believes he can now fight until he is 50. Be aware, this story could end badly.