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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 11:59 GMT
What now for Jones Jr?
By Sanjeev Shetty

Roy Jones Jr and actor Cuba Gooding Jr
Don't mess with the Juniors: Cuba Gooding with Jones

If there were any doubts about Roy Jones Jr's claims to be the best fighter in the world, he erased them with his comprehensive defeat of John Ruiz on Saturday.

Conceding 33lbs and fighting at least three divisions above his natural weight class, Jones teased and tormented the WBA heavyweight champion in Las Vegas on his way to yet another title.

While the 34-year-old Floridian enjoys his victory, he will know one more challenge is being dangled in front of him - can he go all the way and beat Lennox Lewis?

Jones Jr has often said a fight with Lewis would be asking too much of his narrow frame - he would concede six inches and 60lbs if he were to battle the WBC champion.

HAVE YOUR SAY

But the new champion did not dismiss the possibility of getting in the ring with the most dominant heavyweight of the new century, although Lewis believes the fight will not happen.

A unification bout with IBF champion Chris Byrd is one option although the marquee fight for Jones Jr is a bout with 40-year-old Evander Holyfield.

Jones Jr holds the WBA light heavyweight and heavyweight titles and the governing body have given the fighter seven days to decide which one he wants to keep.

It seems inconceivable that he will step back to light heavyweight, where there are no realistic challenges for him.

WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis
Is Lewis part of the Jones Jr plan?
If a Lewis fight does transpire, Jones Jr would be a massive underdog, but his bewildering speed and movement may well give the 37-year-old Englishman problems.

The other question that arose from Saturday's fight is just where Jones Jr now stands in the list of all-time great boxers.

Some may say that beating a relatively average fighter like Ruiz makes little difference to the Jones Jr legend.

But the new champion has established himself as a genuine threat at what is an unnatural weight for him.

With the exception of Muhammad Ali, all the great champions have proved their worth by moving up in weight and testing themselves.

Sugar Ray Robinson, the consensus choice as the best fighter ever, dominated the welterweight division, won the middleweight crown and only dehydration scuppered his bid to become light heavyweight champ.

Henry Armstrong held world titles at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight simultaneously and won 150 fights.

Roberto Duran was possibly the greatest lightweight ever and won titles at welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight.

And of course there was Ali, who dominated heavyweight boxing for over 15 years and beat some of the greatest fighters ever.

After Saturday, Jones Jr deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those men because he made the stiffest test of his glorious career seem like just another fight.

Add to that his mastery of opponents at middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight, where he has seldom lost a round.

If he were to beat Lewis he could rightly claim to be greater than any of those illustrious names.




SEE ALSO
Lewis rules out Jones clash
02 Mar 03 |  Boxing
Jones Jr claims historic win
02 Mar 03 |  Boxing
The ultimate challengers
02 Mar 03 |  Boxing

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