Former Eight-Time World Champion in Four Separate Weight Classes:
Middleweight (160), Super Middleweight (168), Light Heavyweight (175),
Light Heavyweight (last weight 175)
53-5, 39 KOs (as of July 2009)
Roy Jones Jr. is a man who defies definition. He is an eight-time world
champion boxer in four different weight classes; a world-class boxing promoter
and expert television analyst; a superb athlete in all arenas including
professional basketball; a hit-music performer and manager; and a television and
motion picture actor. In short, Roy Jones, Jr. is a renaissance man for his era
and a legend for eras to come.
His ring accomplishments are staggering: He won the vacant International Boxing
Federation middleweight championship by defeating Bernard “The Executioner”
Hopkins (22-1) in 1993; moved up to super middleweight and defeated the
reigning, undefeated IBF super middleweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney
(44-0-2) in 1994; moved up to light heavyweight and defeated Mike “The Body
Snatcher” McCallum to become the World Boxing Council champion in 1996; was
controversially disqualified in 1997 against undefeated Montel Griffin (26-0)
but regained the WBC crown in an immediate rematch five months later, stopping
Griffin in the first round; added the World Boxing Association light heavyweight
championship by defeating Lou Del Valle (27-1) in 1998; became the undisputed
champion by defeating IBF light heavyweight champion Reggie Johnson (39-5-1) in
1999; jumped over the entire cruiserweight division in 2003 to defeat WBA
heavyweight champion John Ruiz, becoming the first former middleweight champion
to win the world heavyweight crown in over 100 years; and, eight months later,
returned back to the 175-pound light heavyweight limit and defeated World Boxing
Council champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (21-1).
During the decade from 1994 to 2003 he was regarded by most as the best
pound-for-pound fighter in the world. An eight-time world champion, Jones won
world championships in four separate weight divisions: middleweight (160), super
middleweight (168), light heavyweight (175), and heavyweight. Jones was Ring
magazine’s “Fighter of the Year” in 1994 and was voted 1990’s “Fighter of the
Decade” by the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America.
Jones gave a hint he was embarking on a legendary fistic career in 1979 at age
of 10 when he administered a sound beating to a 14-year-old who outweighed him
by 16 pounds. It was Jones' first amateur fight; he weighed just 69 pounds.
Before he was done fighting for cups and silver baubles, he would win two Golden
Gloves junior welterweight titles and 121 of 134 bouts.
Against a backdrop of battle-scarred mountains and Far East mysticism, Roy Jones
Jr. first burst upon the world following a shockingly controversial defeat at
the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Until then, he was just the best amateur junior
middleweight in the world, a 156-pound kid from Pensacola, Fla., with a great
deal of promise. Then three judges mugged him.
Americans watched on NBC television as Jones soundly defeated hometown favorite
Si-Hun Park in the light middleweight final, but when the scores were read the
world was stunned when the South Korean boxer was given the gold medal by a
score of 3 to 2. One boxing expert quipped: “Those blind bums would have given
Custer a gold medal after the Little Big Horn."
One judge immediately admitted the error of his ways. Later, after a serious
discussion with his superiors, he recanted. In an attempt to cover up the
blatant crime, the Olympic officials exposed it further by awarding Jones the
Val Barker Trophy, given to the Games outstanding boxer. One can easily see that
logic is not an Olympic sport.
Park took his tarnished gold medal and gently slipped into obscurity while Jones
turned professional on May 6, 1989, fighting before a hometown crowd in
Pensacola where he stopped Ricky Randall in the second round. When he stepped
from the ring, instead of a trophy, they handed him a check. "I loved fighting,"
he remembers with a grin, "I just figured it was time I started getting paid to
Sixteen consecutive foes would suffer stoppages at the hands of Jones.
Jones scored four wins in 1989, seven in 1990, four more in 1991, and another
five in 1992. Only one of his 20 victories went the distance. All but four of
the wins came in Pensacola, a fact hammered at by a small number of critics.
Ignoring the cries for him to fight tougher opponents in larger arenas, Jones
steadily honed the skills that made him one of the most feared fighters.
"I know where I am going and no one is going to hurry my getting there before I
am ready," he told a small circle of friends.
On the night of May 22, 1993, Jones began his assault of sitting world
champions. By then he had tested his blurring combinations, the dazzling jab and
the brilliant footwork against such as Jorge Vaca (49-8-1), Jorge Castro
(71-3-2) and Glenn Thomas (24-0) and knew he was ready.
His opening target was an up-and-coming boxer by the name of Bernard “The
Executioner” Hopkins, who boasted (often) of his 22-1 record. They met in
Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1993. The prize was the vacant IBF middleweight
championship. When the last shot had been fired, all three judges voted for
Jones by the scores of 116-112.
Once out of the starting blocks, Jones moved quickly. A blurring left hook
kayoed top contender Thomas Tate in the second round of his first middleweight
defense on May 27, 1994, before Jones made the fateful decision to move up to
168 pounds in what turned out to be one of the most special matches of his
career against unbeaten IBF super middleweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney
on Nov. 18, 1994, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jones demolition of the once seemingly invincible Toney was so astonishing that
it turned out to be one of those rarest of bellwethers that reverberated
throughout the sports world as word ricocheted around the globe about the kid
with the lightening-fast hands and skills. Many of those who saw it on
closed-circuit telecasts or on television remember where they were and what they
were doing at the time. It was that good.
In a sensational display, Jones tormented Toney with a dominating performance
highlighted by a taunting move by Jones in just the third round that Toney tried
to mimic, only to have the challenger answer the slight with a solid blow that
sent Lights Out reeling against the ropes. Jones got credit for a knockdown and
went on to sweep all three judges scores, winning another world title.
Thinking of new ways to astonish his legions of followers, Jones hatched a plan
to participate in a professional basketball game and a prize fight on the same
day on June 15, 1996.
In a portrait worthy of a note in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as well as a
showcase of Jones's incredible athletic ability and stamina, a few hours before
defending his IBF super middleweight championship against Eric Lucas, he spent
15 grueling minutes playing guard for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the United
States Basketball League. He scored six points.
Defeating Lucas took a little longer. "He was a bit stubborn," Jones said of the
Canadian, who would go on to become a WBC super middleweight champion five years
later. He stopped Lucas in the 12th round. "That is the last time I do that. It
was one long day."
Ever looking upward, Jones moved up to light heavyweight and scored a 12-round
unanimous decision over Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum (49-3-1) to win the
interim WBC championship. He became outright champion by rule of boxing law when
Frenchman Fabrice Tiozzo declared he was moving up to cruiserweight.
Jones first professional loss came stunningly and controversially. Leading on
all three scorecards and already having floored an undefeated Montell Griffin
(26-0) twice when they met in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 21, 1997, Jones was
anxious to finish his foe. He had Griffin in trouble near the end of the ninth
round. Jones landed a series of punches that dropped Griffin to a knee, but two
remaining shots glanced an exhausted Griffin as the bell sounded, which caused
referee Tony Perez to disqualify Jones for violation of the rule stating boxers
cannot hit a man while he is down, although many felt it was too stern of a
reading of the situation.
Jones’ character and sense of fair play triggered the following response to his
lawyer/advisor Fred Levin after the fight. “Get me the rematch. Do it now. I
want it to be my next fight. Give him anything he wants. I don’t care what it
Revenge was swift and devastating five months later when Jones regained his WBC
belt with a first round thrashing of Griffin, decking him twice before
mercifully ending it at the 2:31 mark.
"Losing that first fight to Griffin was nearly as disappointing as losing the
Olympic gold medal," Jones said. "When I fought him the first time, I was just
trying to beat him. When we fought the second time, I would not argue if people
suggest that there was more than just winning on my mind."
Before he was done sowing havoc among the 175-pounders, Jones put the division
tidily under one flag (WBC, WBA and IBF). In his wake, he left 13 challengers
bent and bloodied.
On March 1, 2003, Jones left his mark firmly in boxing history by becoming the
first middleweight to win the heavyweight championship since Bob Fitzsimmons
turned the trick in 1897. Giving away more than 30 pounds by weighing in at 193
to John Ruiz’s 226, there were many who felt Jones’s foray into the heavyweights
would turn out to be a folly. They could point to Jones earning $10 million from
Don King for the fight and claim it was the money that made him do it, but
everyone knew if Jones could pull off the feat of winning the match that Jones
would live forever in boxing lore.
The surprise was how remarkably easy it was for Jones to win the 12-round
decision. Understandably tentative in the early going while measuring his
opponent’s power and skills, Jones let loose with his super-fast hands and
punching power in the middle rounds. An absolutely befuddled Ruiz could do
nothing but be used as a punching bag. Jones won eight rounds on one scorecard,
nine on the second and an amazing 10 on the third.
"I know what people are going to say, but there is nothing wrong with John
Ruiz," said Jones. "Like a lot of other guys I fought, he was just slower than
me. And I kind of out-thought him."
"What's next?" a visitor asked the 34-year-old ruler of all the WBA
heavyweights. "I'll think of something," said Jones with a wide grin.
Following the celebratory win over Ruiz, Jones faced a career crossroads. King
wanted him to remain a heavyweight to face Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield,
and, if successful, on to face Mike Tyson in what would have been a spectacle
for the ages.
After much contemplation, Jones made the decision to return to light
heavyweight. Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, who had been seated along with the
media in the post-fight press conference after the Ruiz fight, spoke out to
Jones. “I want my shot at history, Roy.”
Roy eventually had heard enough and on Nov. 8, 2003 at Mandalay Bay in Las
Vegas, Jones met the unified (WBC, IBF) light heavyweight champion with his WBC
crown on the line. Jones had to drop 25 pounds to make the 175-pound weight
limit, and the effort looked like it had physically drained him. Jones had to
dig down, maybe the deepest in his career, to rally during the last two rounds
to win a majority decision by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114.
The Jones-Tarver rematch took place on May 15, 2004, again at Mandalay Bay. The
action was just starting to warm up when Tarver scored a knockdown midway
through the second round that put Roy flat on his back. He got up as the referee
reached the count of 10 but waved off the action.
“There ain’t no excuses on my part,” the resolute Jones said after the fight. “I
come out and do what I do. Guys always get up to fight Roy Jones. It happens
like that. I’m a warrior.”
Against advice from everyone from his friends to his advisors and the television
network HBO where he had worked for years as a color commentator, Jones came
right back to fight for another world title. He fought Glen Johnson for the IBF
light heavyweight title on Sept. 25, 2004, in Memphis. Johnson fought the fight
of his life and ended the match in the ninth round with a knockout similar to
the one Tarver had scored.
Jones re-grouped and decided to face Tarver for a third time in St. Petersburg,
Fla., on Oct. 1, 2005. Jones performed much better against Tarver in this match
going the 12-round distance but losing a unanimous decision.
Jones wants to end his career on a high note, and he is well on his way after
notching wins against Prince Badi Ajamu on July 29, 2006, and against Anthony
Hanshaw on July 14, 2007
In the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, he beat the previously undefeated Anthony
the 12-round distance to win the unanimous decision..
Roy then went into the “Lion’s Den” in New York’s Madison Square Garden to meet
the enormously popular former world champion Felix “Tito” Trinidad. It was an
amazing night in
the Garden that night. It seemed that every latino fan in the metropolitan area
came out in vocal support of the Puerto Rican idol.
It was January 19, 2009 and Roy Jones, almost from the very start, took the fans
out of the fight as they could see Roy’s superior hand speed and precise
punching was too much for the proud
warrior to handle. Roy went on to win the convincing decision and looked like
the old Roy.
His next outing took us to the amazing undefeated world champion Joe Calzaghe
again in Madison Square Garden. Though Calzaghe was brilliant in this battle,
the younger Britisher
got the better of things over the 12-rounds.
Not wanting to dwell on a defeat, four months later in his last fight on March
21, 2009, Roy
went home to the Civic Center in Pensacola to meet the tough Omar Sheika for the
light heavyweight crown. Roy again looked like he was giving a clinic to the
stopping him in the 5th round.
Like basketball, fishing, hunting and raising critters of all kinds on his farm
in his hometown, music is another of Jones' loves. Several of is own recordings,
including the popular The Album: Round One, have been distributed under his own
Body Head Entertainment label. He also manages several talented groups.
A proven motion picture and television talent, Jones has had parts in The
Sentinel, Living Single, Watcher, In Living Color, Married With Children,
Dateline, Arli$$, The Wayan Brothers Show, The Devil's Advocate, New Jersey
Turnpikes and the final two films of The Matrix trilogy, recently completed in
Australia. Jones also appears in a video game based on The Matrix. And stars in
his own video game produced by EA Sports called Knock Out Kings.
The proud father of four sons and two daughters, still finds the time to devote
many hours speaking to America's youth on the value of education and the perils
of drugs. He has also been an advocate of boxing reform, where he has testified
at U.S. Senate hearings on behalf of his fellow boxers.
"When you have been blessed as I have been," said Jones, "you have to give
something back. If some day I find that I have turned around the life of some
troubled young man or woman, I will accept that as an award as great as any I
have ever received."
He continues to sign the world’s top amateurs to promotional contracts at his
own Square Ring Promotions so he may pass along the unparalleled knowledge he
has gained through decades of participation in the Sweet Science of boxing.