Athletes Who Hung on Too Long

Roy Jones Jr. plans to step back into the ring at 45.

Roy Jones Jr. - You gotta be kidding. Last week, Roy Jones Jr. told ESPN he would step back into the ring July 26 to take on British fighter Courtney Fry in Latvia. Jones is 45 years old to Fry?s 39. Why man?Why...are...you...still...trying...to...fight? Roy, this is how boxers get hurt ? they don?t know when to quit! Truth be told, Jones should have hung up his gloves up and called it a career after getting viciously knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in back-to-back 2004 fights. That was 10 years ago. There?s no good reason to put your health on the line here. Like Jones Jr., there have been plenty of sports stars who didn?t know when to call it a career and retire. Click on for more examples of athletes staying in the game too long.(Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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Roy Jones Jr. - You gotta be kidding. Last week, Roy Jones Jr. told ESPN he would step back into the ring July 26 to take on British fighter Courtney Fry in Latvia. Jones is 45 years old to Fry’s 39. Why man?Why...are...you...still...trying...to...fight? Roy, this is how boxers get hurt — they don’t know when to quit! Truth be told, Jones should have hung up his gloves up and called it a career after getting viciously knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in back-to-back 2004 fights. That was 10 years ago. There’s no good reason to put your health on the line here. Like Jones Jr., there have been plenty of sports stars who didn’t know when to call it a career and retire. Click on for more examples of athletes staying in the game too long.(Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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Sugar Ray Leonard - Sugar Ray Leonard made it a routine of retiring and coming back — three times to be exact. However, after defeating Roberto Duran in 1989 for the second time, Leonard didn’t have any business fighting Terry Norris two years later at the age of 34. At 40 years old in 1997, Leonard was definitely foolish for trying to beat Hector Camacho. Leonard lost both fights and retired. (Photo: Al Bello  /Allsport)

Muhammad Ali - It?s sad, but true?Muhammad Ali fought well past his prime, prompting the tough question of whether ?The Greatest? would have been in better health today if he would have retired earlier? Ali, 33 at the time, could have made his 1975 TKO win over Joe Frazier or his 15-round decision victory over Ken Norton in 1976 his last fight. However, he kept fighting, with back-to-back 15-round bouts against Leon Spinks in 1978 and the hard-to-watch 1980 fight against Larry Holmes, in which Ali?s pride held him up through a merciless beating at the hands of the younger boxer. Ali?s 1981 loss to Trevor Berbick served as his last fight. He was 39. (Photo: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

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Muhammad Ali - It’s sad, but true…Muhammad Ali fought well past his prime, prompting the tough question of whether “The Greatest” would have been in better health today if he would have retired earlier? Ali, 33 at the time, could have made his 1975 TKO win over Joe Frazier or his 15-round decision victory over Ken Norton in 1976 his last fight. However, he kept fighting, with back-to-back 15-round bouts against Leon Spinks in 1978 and the hard-to-watch 1980 fight against Larry Holmes, in which Ali’s pride held him up through a merciless beating at the hands of the younger boxer. Ali’s 1981 loss to Trevor Berbick served as his last fight. He was 39. (Photo: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

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Chuck Liddell - “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell should have known to call it a career after suffering a first-round knockout loss to Quinton Jackson at UFC 76 in 2007. Liddell was 37 at the time. Instead, he fought on, setting himself up for a dizzying tailspin which included losing four of his next five matches — three by knockout — and subsequently retiring at 40 from mixed martial arts (MMA). Don’t keep testing Father Time. (Photo: Kent Horner/WireImage)

Emmitt Smith - After 13 glorious years with the Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith signed with the Arizona Cardinals and proved to be a serviceable running back. But having already been crowned a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, what was Smith?s ambition of prolonging his career at 34 and 35 with the Cardinals in 2003 and 2004? Was it for the love of the game? Well, when you're old, the love of the game equals pain. It?s that prolonging that puts athletes in danger of getting hurt real bad. Smith is lucky to leave the game in good health.  (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Emmitt Smith - After 13 glorious years with the Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith signed with the Arizona Cardinals and proved to be a serviceable running back. But having already been crowned a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, what was Smith’s ambition of prolonging his career at 34 and 35 with the Cardinals in 2003 and 2004? Was it for the love of the game? Well, when you're old, the love of the game equals pain. It’s that prolonging that puts athletes in danger of getting hurt real bad. Smith is lucky to leave the game in good health.  (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Deion Sanders - Like his former teammate Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders was serviceable in his two years with the Baltimore Ravens from 2004-05. But we must say that his presence didn't really help or hurt the Ravens. He was just there ? past his prime. Still one of the best, though.(Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images)

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Deion Sanders - Like his former teammate Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders was serviceable in his two years with the Baltimore Ravens from 2004-05. But we must say that his presence didn't really help or hurt the Ravens. He was just there — past his prime. Still one of the best, though.(Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images)

Dikembe Mutombo - Now, don't get us wrong...Dikembe Mutombo had one of the most productive NBA careers for a big man ever. That's especially on the defensive side, where he was named Defensive Player of the Year four times. We're sure that Mutombo provided priceless lessons to younger players during his last couple of NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, but "Mount Mutombo" didn't provide much else. Hampered by injuries, Mutombo only logged in 39 games during the 2007-08 season and nine in 2008-09. He walked away from the game that year at 42 years old. (Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) 

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Dikembe Mutombo - Now, don't get us wrong...Dikembe Mutombo had one of the most productive NBA careers for a big man ever. That's especially on the defensive side, where he was named Defensive Player of the Year four times. We're sure that Mutombo provided priceless lessons to younger players during his last couple of NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, but "Mount Mutombo" didn't provide much else. Hampered by injuries, Mutombo only logged in 39 games during the 2007-08 season and nine in 2008-09. He walked away from the game that year at 42 years old. (Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) 

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George Foreman - Don't get it twisted — George Foreman had one hell of a late run in his career, highlighted by his 1994 knockout of Michael Moorer. With the KO, Foreman, 45 at the time, became the oldest champion at the time. Following the win, Foreman could have left boxing on top. He skipped that option and kept slugging it out instead, winning his next three fights. Then, at 48, Foreman fought Shannon Briggs and took a majority decision loss. That'd be all she wrote in Foreman's career, although he found great success in his next career as a salesman for the Lean Mean George Foreman Grilling Machine. (Photo: Al Bello/Allsport)

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Evander Holyfield - Evander Holyfield, let us give you the real deal. The future hall of famer should have hung it up years and years ago. Real Deal already proved that he's one of the best boxers the sweet science has ever seen with wins over Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, George Foreman and more. There's nothing left to prove. All you're doing is sacrificing your quality of life, man. Holyfield's last fight was a win over Brian Nielsen in 2011. We don't know what's worse, the fact that Holyfield was 48 at the time or that he actually won.(Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Rickey Henderson - To this day, Rickey Henderson holds MLB records for most runs scored, most career stolen bases and most lead-off home runs. And with all that, Henderson yearned to play the game some more, landing a spot with the Newark Bears in 2004 in an attempt to be picked up by another MLB squad. He was 45 at the time. Henderson was inducted into the Basebal Hall of Fame in 2009, now a new crop of stars are chasing his records.(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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Rickey Henderson - To this day, Rickey Henderson holds MLB records for most runs scored, most career stolen bases and most lead-off home runs. And with all that, Henderson yearned to play the game some more, landing a spot with the Newark Bears in 2004 in an attempt to be picked up by another MLB squad. He was 45 at the time. Henderson was inducted into the Basebal Hall of Fame in 2009, now a new crop of stars are chasing his records.(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Brett Favre - Hey, Brett Favre's comeback wasn't all bad. After leading the New York Jets to a playoff-less 9-7 record in 2008, he jumped ship to the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2009, Favre lead the Vikes to the NFC title game, where they lost to the eventual champion New Orleans Saints. But in 2010, Favre didn't have the same fortune, suffering a concussion late in that season and ultimately deciding to retire soon thereafter. (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Brett Favre - Hey, Brett Favre's comeback wasn't all bad. After leading the New York Jets to a playoff-less 9-7 record in 2008, he jumped ship to the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2009, Favre lead the Vikes to the NFC title game, where they lost to the eventual champion New Orleans Saints. But in 2010, Favre didn't have the same fortune, suffering a concussion late in that season and ultimately deciding to retire soon thereafter. (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)