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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Roy is the top boy
american roy jones v virgil hill
Jones has beaten accomplished men like Virgil Hill

Roy Jones Jnr stands as a victim of boxing's fall in popularity - the sport's best practitioner for the past nine years is still remembered for being the guy who got robbed at the 1988 Olympics.

In the last decade, the sport has over-valued its own worth, with the consequence being 'pay-per-view' has provided boxers like Jones with more money but less exposure.

Since becoming a world champion in 1993, Jones Jnr has displayed his vast array of skills by becoming the boxer in the best middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

  Roy Jones
DOB: 16/01/69
Lives: Pensacola, Florida
Amateur record: Golden Gloves champion twice, Olympic silver medal 1988
World titles held: IBF middleweight, IBF super middleweight, WBC, WBA & IBF light heavyweight
Record: 46 wins, one defeat (37KOS)

The only criticism, albeit one made frequently in recent years, is that he has not sought out the challenges which could have tested him to the fullest.

His defence to the accusation, one which has been made frequently in the last four years, is that the challenges are not there any more.

Few believe that Bernard Hopkins, who Jones Jnr has beaten convincingly once before, could win a rematch, while Darius Michalczewski and Joe Calzaghe would surely struggle against him as well.

But the 33-year-old has shown little inclination to do anything but make routine defences of his light heavyweight title and pick up the pay cheques that go with those fights.

It will hurt fans of Sheffield's Clinton Woods to hear that a fight with their man is regarded as one of those assignments which Jones Jnr cannot lose.

Jones Jnr's reluctance to engage in more dangerous fights is attributed, wrongly or rightly, to a night of boxing history which swiftly became tragedy.

Gerald McClellan was a man for whom Jones Jnr had a lot of time for and would perhaps have fought but for events on 25 February 1995.

On that evening in London, McClellan and Nigel Benn engaged in a fight of such unremitting savagery that both ended the night in hospital - but Benn, at least, was released the following day.

McClellan fell into a coma and is now a wheelchair-bound man with neither sight nor a full appreciation of sound.

Jones Jnr was profoundly shaken by events in London that night and has remained close to McClellan ever since - something that has no doubt influenced his career decisions since.

Jones Jnr's other problem is that he so far ahead of the rest, his chances of a competitive fight are slim - with virtually no exception, he has yet to fight a man who could claim to be superior to him in any department.

James Toney had many attributes, but he did not have the speed to live with Jones Jnr - Mike McCallum had experience, but he could not deal with the movement of his younger man.

In the end, they have all fallen in front of Jones - Montell Griffin beat him once via disqualification but was annihilated in their second meeting.

Simply put, Jones is the best there is and never enters the ring in less than top condition - it remains a daunting challenge for anyone foolish enough to get into the ring with him.

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