Many forget the deep entrenched roots that boxing has in society and history.
In 1927, Dr E.A. Speiser uncovered ruins in Baghdad, Iraq which contained a tablet depicting early efforts at prize fighting.
The tablet was roughly 7000 years old and proved that prize fighting played a significant role in early man’s first entertainment ventures.
These added to the boxing statues in the Prama Mountains, Sardinia (Circa 2000 - 1000 BC) means that boxing is as old as some religious texts.
Boxing was then taken on by the ancient Greeks. The Spartans used boxing as a warm up for sword and shield combat.
Later, Christian Roman emperor Theodoric the Great banned boxing in 500 AD. His reasoning was that it was an insult to God because it disfigures the face, God’s image.
Boxing remained popular in Europe and the Middle East and would eventually return in the form of Pugilism.
Since the invention of modern pugilism (1743: London Prize Ring Rules), boxing fans have always had a desire to see the flare elements of a boxer’s repertoire.
"Razzle-dazzle" in the ring has always ignited a crowd; either in pleasure or a chorus of boos.
It plays to a boxer’s role in the minds of the viewing public.
Their skills stand for either superhuman feats of a great champion, or the arrogant boasting’s of a pretender to the throne.
This coupled with a rich history makes for scenarios that cause film writers to salivate.
One of these modern day "razzle-dazzle" men is Roy Jones Jr.
A look at Jones
The man dubbed boxer of the decade (1990s) could do it all, he had astonishing speed and a charisma not seen since Ali.
The small number of knockouts he accrued in his career were often stunning. You either loved him or hated him, but either way nobody could deny his skills.
However, he suffered an astonishing fall from grace.
Defeats to Antonio Tarver and a vicious knockout to Glen Johnson left Jones knocking at retirement’s door. His hands not being able to do the things his mind wanted them to.
The man who believed that he was an instrument that gods beautiful music played through, had started to sound flat.
Most fighters would have bowed out. However, Jones’ went back to the gym to find what was wrong.
In his voyage of re-discovery, Jones realized that he had stopped enjoying the sport a long time ago.
He promised himself that he would enjoy it again and show the public the "razzle-dazzle" they had come to expect.
His opportunity will come November 8th against Joe Calzaghe.
Most people will bet on Calzaghe. However, Jones still has the ability to beat anyone and he showed flashes of it against Felix Trinidad.
Some will point to the obvious size advantage but Felix always punched way above his weight.
Calzaghe will rely on his punches per round ratio. Jones will have to nullify and be able to keep up with Calzaghe’s tempo down the stretch and into the later rounds.
Stamina will be the key in this battle, expect Jones’ to start of strong and it depends if he can keep it up
The truth is that Jones has nothing to lose.
Nobody expects him to win, if he delivers a solid showing it will be praised and if he wins it will rejuvenate his career.
I hope we will see the best from Jones. This fight could be a swan song for two of the best fighters of the past decade and it deserves to be a war that we will be speaking of for years to come.