Of Me I Sing
The hits keep coming from Roy Jones Jr., who hopes to bolster
his rep with rap
Remember Roy Jones Jr., the light heavyweight champion, the only
undisputed titleholder in boxing? Jones, concerned that you
don't, has a soon-to-be-released single called Y'all Must've
Forgot. The drumbeating, hip-hop tune begins: "Everybody get on
your feet/Right now for Roy Jones Jr./The best pound-for-pound
fighter in the world/Whoever don't agree, you know what?/I guess,
y'all must've forgot."
The reason Jones seems such a distant memory is that despite his
technical brilliance, he hardly ever works up a sweat.
Unquestionably superior to any of his challengers, Jones has
never been seriously tested in his 46 pro fights. Critics carp
about his reluctance to mix it up or go for knockdowns. Fight
fans have even organized a "Roycott" on the Internet, claiming he
has padded his record by pounding cream puffs. Jones tries to
beat the rap with rap: "They got the nerve to say I ain't fight
nobody/I just make them look like nobody/Y'all must've forgot."
On this last point at least, the record book backs up Jones: Five
of his opponents (Jorge Castro, Bernard Hopkins, Thulane Malinga,
Virgil Hill and Eric Lucas) have gone on to win world titles.
Alas, Julio Gonzalez, who faced Jones last Saturday at the
Staples Center in Los Angeles, was not in their league. Although
undefeated (27-0, 17 KOs), Gonzalez, whom no one will ever call
Speedy, was a pigeon ripe for plucking. Jones predicted his foe
would see neither the 12th round nor his hands, which he boasted
were "so fast in training camp, I couldn't even eat with them."
At 24 Gonzalez is eight years younger than Jones and, at 6'2",
three inches taller. Still, Jones treated this bout as little
more than a light workout for what looks to be the richest of his
career, against the winner of the Sept. 15 middleweight title
unification showdown between Hopkins and Felix Trinidad. Jones
dominated Gonzalez, dropping him in Rounds 1 (on a short left to
the chin), 5 (another left hook) and 12 (a right).
Hands held high, Jones sidestepped Gonzalez's lumbering advances
and deflected his increasingly predictable shots. Jones attempted
375 punches--a miserly 31 per round--but landed more than half
(192) to win a lopsided decision. "You knock him down, he gets up
like you gave him a burst of energy," Jones said. "So I [wasn't]
going to punch myself out trying to get him down."
Unimpressed by Jones's economy and control of the ring, and
resentful that he wouldn't finish off an overmatched opponent,
the near-sellout crowd of 20,409 began booing him in the seventh
round and never let up. "I was surprised Jones didn't go for a
knockout," Gonzalez said.
He'all must've forgot.
Before Jones played stick-and-move with Gonzalez at the Staples
Center, WBC featherweight king Erik (El Terrible) Morales played
stick-and-stand with No. 1 contender Injin Chi. From bell to
bell both boxers withstood intense combinations of punches. In
Round 6 Morales weathered a head butt that opened a deep cut
over his left eye. By the end of the fight, his eye, the lid
puffy and purple, had swollen shut. "It was a difficult fight
because he did not back down," said Morales, 24, after being
awarded a unanimous decision. "It was also difficult fighting
with only one eye."
The victory was Morales's most impressive since he outslugged
Marco Antonio Barrera, a fellow Mexican, in February 2000.
Promoter Bob Arum plans to have the two split a card on Dec. 1 in
Las Vegas before a second meeting, perhaps over the Cinco de Mayo
weekend next year.
The odd man out--literally and figuratively--in this equation is
former 126-pound champ Prince Naseem Hamed, whom Barrera thrashed
in April. Having turned down an immediate rematch with Barrera,
Hamed now can't face him again until next summer at the earliest.
He will never face Morales if Arum has any say. "Hamed is
unworthy of Morales," says the promoter. "He's not a fighter;
he's a fraud and a phony. I'd never allow him to get in the same
ring with Erik."
Don King's Fiasco
Not-So-Great Wall of China
By conveniently wrenching his neck while training in Beijing last
week, John (the Quiet Man) Ruiz helped relieve promoter Don
King's own pain in the neck--at least for a while. Ruiz's alleged
injury forced postponement of his Aug. 4 WBA heavyweight title
defense against Evander Holyfield, a bout that is turning out to
be one of the mangiest mutts to come out of King's kennels.
King reportedly had been promised $17 million--$10 million of
which was to cover the purses of the third-rate Ruiz and the
washed-up Holyfield--by Great Wall International Sports Media, a
Beijing-based venture capital group. Great Wall had been seeking
more than $1 million for Asian TV broadcasting rights but had to
settle for $50,000 and 13 minutes of ad time to peddle. With only
half of the 12,000 tickets sold and the Chinese government
offering no financial backing, the outfit projected a $2 million
It gets worse. An offer of all the tea in China couldn't have
persuaded a major U.S. cable network to carry this farce, so King
had to produce it himself on pay-per-view. Trouble is, the show
was to air the same night as an HBO telecast of a more
interesting heavyweight fight, between WBO champ Vladimir
Klitschko and Charles Shufford.
It also gets bizarre. Last Friday night ESPN reported that King
had already received $7 million from Great Wall and that he
couldn't leave the country until he gave it back. "That's
categorically untrue," said King from his Beijing hotel on
Sunday. "It's false testimony, apparitions and doppelgangers,
perpetrated by my archfoe, Bob Arum."
King insisted that all money issues have been resolved, that Ruiz
is making a "remarkable" recovery and that the bout will be
rescheduled, probably for Oct. 6 in Beijing. He said he would
love to have China host a proposed Nov. 10 rematch between Lennox
Lewis and Hasim Rahman, the WBC and IBF heavyweight champ. "My
mission in life now is to establish friendship and goodwill
between peoples of various cultures," said the 70-year-old King.
"I mean that both conversationally and otherwise."
De La Hoya's Plans
Since his defeat of Oscar De La Hoya in Los Angeles 13 months
ago, Sugar Shane Mosley has been a man in search of an opponent.
A third-round demolition of the overmatched Adrian Stone last
month was his third straight victory over a middling fighter
since he took De La Hoya's WBC welterweight crown. After the bout
Mosley showed the pressure he's feeling to find a bona fide
challenger by appealing to De La Hoya's pride. "Oscar needs to
fight me," he said. "He needs to try to get his revenge."
It appears De La Hoya isn't lusting for a rematch, however. "I
made an offer to Oscar last week for $10 million," says Cedric
Kushner, Mosley's promoter. "Diplomatically, I could say that the
phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook. I can only assume
he's not sure he can win the fight."
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Jones's less-than-speedy conquest of Gonzalez left the L.A. crowd less than satisfied.