This is a path that we see in too many fighters. Actually, we see it in athletes of all sports, but it's far more noticeable in boxers. They are the last ones to know that they just don't belong in a ring anymore.
You would think that seeing it as often as we do, it would get easier to watch. Well, you would be wrong.
Now, we have Roy Jones Jr., who is right in the middle of that road. Through the first 50 fights of his career, Jones had one loss. That was a disqualification loss that was avenged in his very next fight. It took him all of one round to do that.
But since 2004, Jones' career has gone on a slide. He's lost seven of his last 12 fights. As of right now, he's on a three-fight losing streak, which is the second time he's suffered through one of those.
We're not talking about elite fighters anymore. Now, we're talking about guys that eight years ago didn't belong anywhere near the same ring as Jones. Now, they're not only in the same ring as him, they're beating him.
Take a quick look at his last three fights, all losses:
|Bernard Hopkins||Unanimous Decision|
Now, we're looking at Max Alexander. Whether Jones beats Alexander tonight is irrelevant. This needs to be the last fight of his career.
The path we're looking at is just too familiar. Unlike other athletes, the sport of boxing is dangerous.
It may be hard to watch a once-great baseball player stumble around at the end of his career, but there's nothing particularly dangerous about it. It's just a blow to the pride. That can be overcome.
Constant blows to the head are another story. That's why boxers need to be much more realistic about their value. Or, they need to surround themselves with people who will actually tell them that they don't belong in the ring anymore.
Jones can't let what happens against Alexander dictate his future as a boxer. Tonight needs to be the last time we see him as a boxer. If it's not, an already bad situation will turn into an absolute disaster.