Clash of Former Titans: Can Roy Jones Jr. Turn Back Time?
The upcoming showdown between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. can likely be summed up in a word-- Energy.
For when the two meet on November 8th, whether or not there will be any real competition to speak of will likely be decided by Jones' ability to repel the reputed volume puncher in Calzaghe. Namely, whether Jones will be able to employ his once trademark reflexes and counter-punching effectively enough to dissuade Calzaghe from simply drowning him in offense.
While such a task would have likely been a short order for the once gifted fighter from Pensacola as little as five or so years ago, the most recent evidence of his abilities presently indicate a fighter who is more hesitant than calculating; one less economical than afraid of fatigue. In light of his most recent forays into the ring, the poignant question becomes-- How much of Roy Jones Jr. is left?
One need only look to his most recent contests for evidence. The losses to Tarver and Johnson have nestled snugly into boxing lore. His subsequent successes against Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Henshaw are noteworthy only to see how low Jones must now go in order to record a dominant performance. Even against a shot, overweight, Felix Trinidad, Jones seemed immobile and unambitious; almost determined to carry his over-matched opponent kicking and screaming, if need be, past the final bell.
Calzaghe, in contrast, resides only just past his physical prime and has given no reason to believe that he cannot perform to expectations befitting a pound-for-pound caliber combatant. While critics point to a padded dossier, his respectable (if controversial) showing against Bernard Hopkins lends him some credibility after Hopkins' recent thrashing of Kelly Pavlik. Exactly how good Calzaghe is will perhaps be debated long after the Welshman hangs up his gloves, but a defeat here would spell disaster for his overall legacy. To his credit, prudence suggests that he is certainly equipped to dispose of the shadow of a formerly great fighter.
History teaches us that even the greatest pugilists inevitably succumb to the effects of a lifetime in the ring. Ironically, the fighter is often the last to realize that father time has cleverly lowered that curtain before him. In this regard, Roy Jones is no exception. So despite his countless reassurances that we are to see the Roy Jones Jr. of old; the greatest fighter of the 90's; the man so often compared to the great Sugars of the past, the skeptic must declare that while his hope may be within the realm of possibility, it is not within the realm of likelihood.
One might fill pages discussing the thrashing Calzaghe would have taken against the many earlier versions of the Floridian phenom, but as it is in November, the younger, sharper Brit's dedicated volume punching will simply be too much for a game but over-the-hill Roy Jones Jr. in a likely snoozer.
Calzaghe by unanimous decision.
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