Exclusive: Roy Jones Jr is the best fighter I’ve seen but this is wrong, he can’t keep on like this – Iceman

10 Dec

Alan Dawson – London

Roy Jones Jr (54-8-0, 40ko) returns to the ring this evening, December 10 against little-known cruiserweight journeyman Max Alexander. In his day, Junior was “the most talented fighter to enter the ring and one of the best to do it,” according to former sparring partner and friend Iceman John Scully, but the question marks over his punch resistance and reflexes are now too great for the former four-weight world champion to “keep on like this”.

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Ice has been a fundamental fixture in Jones Jr's training camps. The above pic was taken in Florida, 1991, for Roy's fight against Jorge Vaca the following January (Vaca was KO'd in one round). Credit: icemanjohnscully.com

OTB: You know Roy Jones very well. He returns [on Saturday, December 10] but not without criticism from people who believe he should retire. I recently spoke to one of his sparring partners – Andres ‘Taylor Made’ Taylor – who says Jones is still sharp and that armchair critics will always be there. Have you had the opportunity to see Junior in training lately? If so, what are your thoughts on his fitness/athletic shape/ability to fight at the top level?

ICE: I am not surprised at all that Roy is still sharp in the gym, not at all. I am very sure that if someone were to see him spar they would be surprised, they would say: “Wow, he’s still got all his skills and his moves. He looks great!” But, by the same token, he has been in this game as an amateur and pro for more than thirty years already! He has shown that his ability to take a punch is extremely diminished and that just doesn’t come back to you.

Letting go of the game is very hard, I know this, but it’s been time for him to let it go I believe.

OTB: On his fight specifically, do you think he will be easily able to showcase his superiority over a guy who hasn’t boxed professionally for two years? What do you expect the result to be?

ICE: Well, it’s very hard to say. I mean, in his last fight against Denis Lebedev, the Russian, I thought he looked pretty good in some spots and actually showed me what he would have really done with that guy just a few years ago. But he was taken out in brutal fashion and at his age [42] that can’t be a good thing.

I won’t be surprised if Roy wins this but the bigger picture is this… If he keeps fighting and keeps winning, he will likely work his way into another good fight with a top guy and at his age, in his state now, he cannot beat the best guys. He doesn’t have the reflexes anymore or the ability to take a punch anymore.

I hate that I have to say that because I’ve known RJ since 1986 and he’s the best overall fighter I personally have ever seen. But this is just wrong, him keeping on like this.

I personally don’t want people to forget who he was. I don’t want the young guys coming up now, who weren’t around when he was beating [James] Toney [1994 on points], [Bernard] Hopkins [1993 on points], [Vinny] Pazienza [1995, sixth round teekayo] and [John] Ruiz [2003 on points] to see him like this and that this is the guy we all bragged about so much.

OTB: Do Roy’s recent losses affect his legacy?

ICE: Unfortunately, in the eyes of many, they will and I believe that’s wrong.

For me, you have to judge a man on his prime years. What he does very early in his career and what he does after his prime is almost irrelevant when deciding how good or great he was. I mean, you cant possibly use losses to [Larry] Holmes and [Trevor] Berbick as indications of what type of fighter Muhammad Ali really was, you know?

Roy in his day was maybe the most talented fighter ever to enter a boxing ring, certainly one of the best ever to do it. Sugar Ray Robinson, who most say was the greatest ever, ended up with nineteen losses in his career and nobody uses those against him.

As always, On The Beak is thankful to Iceman for his time.

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3 Responses to “Exclusive: Roy Jones Jr is the best fighter I’ve seen but this is wrong, he can’t keep on like this – Iceman”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Exclusive: Roy Jones Jr is the best fighter I’ve seen but this is wrong, he can’t keep on like this – Iceman « On The Beak - December 10, 2011

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