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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 September, 2004, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Decision time for Jones
By Alex Trickett

All-time boxing great Roy Jones Jr stands on the brink of retirement after a crushing loss to IBF light heavyweight champion Glencoffe Johnson.

The former champion at four weights was left sprawled on the floor, suffered concussion and could not leave the ring for a full 15 minutes.

Is now the time for the 35-year-old to bow out of boxing?


History tells us that boxers rarely get back to their best after taking severe punishment late in their careers.

Many toil on, but icons like Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis did themselves few favours by fighting on too long.

Jones may believe he has a few more good years in him and will certainly be tempted to try to avenge his loss.

But his two previous fights (a win and a loss) against Antonio Tarver proved his lightning-quick reflexes have dulled, prompting trainer Alton Merkerson to admit he is "getting hit more than he used to".

On that basis alone, now is the time to hang up the gloves.

In addition, Jones is a rich man who no longer needs to put his life on the line for money.

He would have no trouble pursuing a career in broadcasting and could find other ways to stay attached to the sport.


That's all well and good, but boxing champions rarely think objectively about their careers.

Jones knows his record stands comparison to those of the greatest fighters in history and may want to sign off with a success that underlines his ability.

Born: 16/1/1969
Turned pro: 6/5/1989
Division: Light heavyweight
Record: 49-3
Height: 5ft 11ins
Reach: 74ins
Trainer: Alton Merkerson
Promoter: Don King

He will be haunted by the fact that in his prime he would have brushed aside an opponent like Johnson, who admitted: "I'm not the best, I'm just a guy who's willing to fight the best."

At the back of his mind will also be the hope that he can rediscover his best form.

Jones is not yet too old for the upper weights of boxing, where champions often fight until their late thirties or beyond.

And he may feel obliged to take up the challenge of middleweight king Bernard Hopkins - four years his senior at 39 - who has called him out for a lucrative rematch of their 1993 showdown.

Jones has other options, of course.

As one of the biggest draw cards in the fight game, he can expect more offers to raid the weak heavyweight division, maybe even a call to exorcise the ghost of Mike Tyson.

That fight is unlikely and would surely be bad news for both men, but anything is possible in boxing.

Johnson 'set for Jones'
24 Jun 04  |  Boxing
Tarver upsets boxing balance
17 May 04  |  Boxing
Tarver stuns Jones Jr
16 May 04  |  Boxing

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