Roy Jones Jr.'s legendary career rolls on this Friday night against Bobby Gunn in a showdown for the vacant WBF cruiserweight championship.
The 48-year-old Jones shows no signs of stopping, despite being far from the peak of his career when he was regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters and winning 49 of his first 50 professional bouts.
At 43 years old, Gunn isn't a spring chicken stepping into the ring with Jones. He's spent time as a boxer and bare-knuckle brawler throughout his career, and this will be his first boxing match since December 2013.
|Roy Jones Jr. vs. Bobby Gunn Viewing Information|
|Date||Location||Event Start Time (ET)||TV|
|Friday, Feb. 17||Chase Center (Wilmington, Delaware)||6 p.m.||Pay-Per-View ($29.99)|
Preview and Prediction
Jones is in an interesting spot in his career, though that doesn't necessarily make him a prohibitive favorite against Gunn.
He bounced back from a December 2015 loss against Enzo Maccarinelli with two straight wins, but they came against Rodney Moore and Vyron Phillips. Moore is 41 years old and Phillips has one professional boxing fight under his belt.
It's impossible to judge what Jones did in those two fights because they are the equivalent of circus acts merely designed for one person to look good while the loser takes home a paycheck.
Roy Jones Jr. @RealRoyJonesJr
Top 10 Roy Jones Jr Knockouts - FIGHT BANANAS https://t.co/DqsKxT21pj1/16/2017, 7:34:53 PM
Following Jones' fight against Phillips, ESPN's Dan Rafael painted a sad picture for one of the greatest boxers in history.
"He was No. 1 pound-for-pound from about 1994 to 2004. Now he is reduced to this sort of sideshow: fighting on an $11.99 internet-only pay-per-view card in front of a live audience of several hundred against a last-minute opponent in a freak show that also included a wrestling match, a grappling match and an MMA match involving other used-up but famous fighters from each sport," Rafael wrote.
At least Gunn is younger than Jones and has a deep boxing background with 29 career fights under his belt.
At the press conference in December to announce the fight, Jones praised Gunn's ability before reminding his opponent of the many accomplishments from his storied career.
"I know Bobby Gunn is coming to bring it," Jones said, per Rafael. "He's a hard-nose, tough fighter that comes right at you, but I'm going to show him why I'm one of the best that ever did it and he doesn't belong in the ring with me."
If it's even possible to judge Gunn's recent boxing results as an indicator for what to expect on Friday, he lost his previous three bouts against Tomasz Adamek, James Toney and Glen Johnson.
The Adamek fight took place all the way back in 2009, so he's not been burning the midnight oil trying to hone his boxing skills.
Gunn did address his lack of boxing matches since 2013 in an interview with Marc Abrams of Boxing247.com.
"People can look, and think that I haven’t been active, but a fight is a fight and I have been fighting the Bare-Knuckle fights," he said. "Fighting is Fighting. The only difference in those fights is that the gloves protect the hands. Despite what it says on my boxing record, I have always been active. But the time out of the ring plus being against Roy Jones, Jr, the fans will see a different Bobby Gunn."
There's not a stark difference between traditional boxing and bare-knuckle boxing, but the lack of success Gunn has had in a boxing ring during his most recent fights doesn't paint an optimistic picture.
This feels like a fight Jones took because, similar to his previous two fights, it's a simple way to earn a victory and pad his resume.
Gunn does come with the caveat he can punch, as 18 of his 21 career boxing wins have come via knockout.
Jones has been susceptible to knockouts late in his career, including against Maccarinelli and Denis Lebedev. He can't afford to leave his chin out there against a powerful striker like Gunn.
Because Jones has a more well-rounded fighting style that can carry him through the arduous later rounds, he will come out of this with a victory.