For the purposes of this exercise, we have to remove any remembrance of Jones Jr. blinking up at the lights after Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, Danny Green, and especially Denis Lebedev. That Jones Jr. is a world removed from the Roy I want you to be imagining. That Roy Jones Jr. is in danger of losing his life every time he steps into a ring. I want you to go back to 1997, when a prime and primed Roy Jones Jr. wanted revenge for the first highly disputed loss of his career against Montell Griffin.
It was this fight against Griffin that showed the world what Roy Jones Jr. was capable of when given the motivation to not just win, but to make a statement in victory about why he was not just a once-in-a-generation talent, but the most gifted boxer who ever lived.
The sad legacy of Roy Jones Jr. is that, throughout his career, this was one of the only glimpses we had into that Roy. And his achievements have already been overshadowed by the tragic wreckage of Jones Jr.'s latter failed conquests in the ring. He promised us early on that the career he's now having would never happen him. He promised us he'd get out far sooner than he has.
Roy Jones Jr. had 15 years of complete dominance over the sport. Nothing stood in his way. He achieved everything he set out to accomplish. But we never saw a more tuned Roy Jones Jr. than when he fought Montell Griffin in their rematch.
What was that Roy capable of accomplishing given the competition through the ages? Could anyone have matched him?
Now you'll have to indulge me in imagining the Roy Jones Jr. who rematched Griffin drop some weight to fight some all-time great middleweight champions...