Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Roy, Where Art Thou??
While Sports might seem like too generic a topic to discuss, I feel as if light should be shed upon the people we idolize...I'm not talking about their adulterous actions or other shinanigans they venture in off the field, I'm talking about what these people do on the field of play which makes them so captivating. Earlier today, Roy Jones Jr., the once most famous boxer in all the land, got his teeth pushed in by an unknown Australian journeyman by the name of Danny Green. It took Green only 1 round to destroy the former world champ (named Fighter of the 90's by Ring Magazine), and the loss will hopefully end the career of a man who is no longer the fighter I remember. Clearly you all are about to hit the X button on your browser to attend to much more important things, but before you go, please let me explain why this event had an impact on my day.
What is incredible about sports is how the avid fan can watch his favorite players grow up and mature in front of their eyes. While Roy's early days are a few years before my time, I remember his "hey day" vividly. My father was a boxing fan so I became one as well, and some of my earliest memories of boxing were Roy Jones dismantling opponents on HBO Boxing After Dark. Jones had a swag that is stuff of legend, often whooping opponents without even taking a punch. He was something of a modern day Muhammad Ali, with his quickness and movement unparalleled at all different weight classes. I became a fan of Roy and followed him over the years, always paying close attention to the way he dominated the canvas.
In 2003 that all changed however, as Antonio Tarver caught Roy Jones with a left hook he never saw. The punch floored Jones and truly marked the beginning of the end for one of boxing's greatest fighters. After the loss to Tarver, Jones won a rematch by decision (watched a Fitz's house) but he was never the same guy(Lost the 3rd). Ironically enough, even though Jones never regained his once dominant form, my fandome increased exponentially. I watched fight after fight always hoping for a glimpse of what used to be, and while there were times my prayers we're answered, all too often the result ended in Jones sprawled out on the canvas floor unaware of where he was (The 2004 Glen Johnson defeat being the worst). It was clear that Jones had lost his edge, and opponents were no longer scared of the man who once called himself the greatest fighter who ever lived. While his skills had diminished, his gift for gab remained the same.... and with a couple of defeats over unheralded challengers, it seemed as if Jones was in line for one more big money fight against "The Executioner" Bernard Hopkins. Jones, who had defeated Hopkins as an amateur years before, had once again peaked the interest of fans around the world, and the Hopkins fight would have been the perfect stage to show off his once unmatched talent. That fight will never happen, however, as the warm up fight for Hopkins against the once retired Danny Green proved to be a disastrous one... a fight that will inevitbly end the career of a once proud champion. In his post fight interview Green summed it up perfectly..."He's one of the greatest fighters of all time and the opportunity to fight him in Australia, thanks, Roy Jones Jr... I almost feel bad doing that (whoop Jones), that almost hurt me to do that to someone whom I aspire to look up to as a professional fighter inside and outside the ring. He's a bloody legend."
Jones' loss had a profound impact on my day as well, as it is always heartbreaking to watch someone you idolized as a kid fall so far from grace. We always ask ourselves what would have happened if a guy like Barry Sanders never quit? and I can tell you the answer... Emmett Smith. While there is often big bucks and even more endorsement money to be had at the end of a great career, I often wonder if they would give it all back to be as dominant as they once were??? I have a feeling that a guy like Roy Jones Jr. would give back the Ten Million Dollar purse he made for the one round against Danny Greene if it meant that his pride and legacy remained in tact. As sad as it may seem, Roy Jones Jr. fans around the world hope he takes the money and run, because we now know that the magic has come and gone.
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