Roy Jones Jr. (57-8) did his part to keep the potential cross-sport fight with UFC legend Anderson Silva alive. On Saturday, the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer outboxed an overmatched, inexperienced Frenchman named Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf (17-4) in Moscow. He earned the unanimous decision win. Here are the official scorecards, per BoxRec.com: 120-108, 119-108, 118-111
Adoring fans came out to the Dynamo Palace of Sports to cheer the legendary fighter on, and he came through with a solid performance. It was the third straight win for Jones Jr., though the victories haven’t exactly come over the stiffest competition. He captured the WBU Cruiserweight title (German version) with this latest victory. It was the fifth weight class in which he’s won a title.
The Russian fans came to see a show and Roy delivered. He danced, clowned and fired jabs and speedy combinations at Eddine Benmakhlouf. On the downside, he also took some hard shots as he rested on the ropes and fought in spurts for most of the latter rounds.
At one point, he did rock the Frenchman with a hard left hand. Though Eddine Benmakhlouf was wobbled, he didn’t fall. The Frenchman was game the entire night, but he was unable to overcome the speed and guile advantage Jones Jr. held over him.
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Throughout the fight, Eddine Benmakhlouf seemed irritated by Roy’s antics, but he nonetheless congratulated the legend once the final bell rang.
Jones Jr. was clearly on a victory tour of sorts the moment the 12th and final round concluded. He took selfies in the ring with admirers and mugged for other photos.
With his focus on Silva for the potential history-making fight, Jones Jr. must now wait to see if The Spider defeats Chris Weidman at UFC 168 and regains his middleweight title.
A Silva win in the Dec. 28 event was a condition of making the fight with Jones Jr. happen, per Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. Prior to Saturday's bout, Jones Jr. told Rafael:
I want to be ready for Anderson Silva in case he beats (Chris) Weidman. Silva has made it clear that if he wins, he wants me next. I'm here for him.That's a fight that intrigues a lot of people, but I can't fight Anderson Silva coming off such a long layoff. So I needed to get a fight first. If it wasn't for Anderson Silva calling me out, I wouldn't be fighting this fight.
Some may wonder why a fighter who has accomplished so much is still lacing up the gloves. Only Roy knows the answer to that, but it is clear he can still entertain and draw a crowd. He also proved he can still win—as long he’s matched with someone who isn’t too young and physically gifted.
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