Roy Jones Jr.
Call it the death of Superman.
May 15, 2004, is a day that will live forever in the minds of hardcore boxing fans. On this night the man we had all known to be unbeatable was rendered both irrelevant and unconscious with one left hand.
On this night Roy Jones was supposed to show Antonio Tarver that he was the greatest fighter of all time and that Tarver was a mere mortal. In their first fight, seven months earlier, Jones had escaped with a win but hardly looked like himself.
In the rematch, Jones came out strong and won the first round easily. He appeared to be on his way to setting the boxing universe back in order when a counter left hook left him under the ropes, struggling to beat the 10-count. He got up, but the fight was waived off.
This fight will forever be marked as the moment Jones' career really ended. Sure he has fought since. He fought Glen Johson, and was sent to the canvas again. He fought Tarver again, and lost again.
Since those fights, he has done little that is relevant to boxing or his true weight class. He has beaten some journeymen (Prince Ajamu) and smaller guys (Anthony Hanshaw) but little else.
His win over the semi-retired Felix Trinidad showed some flashes of his old self, but you have to consider the opposition. Trinindad was fighting some four weight classes above his best weight, which was welterweight.
Jones went on to lose to Joe Calzaghe, a fighter Jones should have had little problem with in his prime. He was beaten and battered in that fight in a gruesome way, and many thought it would be his last fight. Yet he fights on.
After a meaningless win over Omar Sheika, enter Jeff Lacy.
Jeff Lacy was meant for bigger things.
Going into this fight with Jones Lacy has to wonder where it all went wrong for him. He was a former 2000 U.S. Olympian and posed for boxing stardom.
It all started well for Lacy, as he reeled off 21 victories and won a few of the trinket belts along the way. He then signed off on a match that was to determine the Ring Magazine champion at Super Middleweight.
On March 5, 2006, Lacy flew over to Manchester England to "pick up his belt" as he described in his own words. That night he was facing a lightly regarded but unbeaten longtime titleholder, Joe Calzaghe.
What happened that night was one of the worst one sided non knockout bouts this writer can recall. If there was ever a fight that ruined a guy's career, this was it.
Lacy was battered from pillar to post. Calzaghe swarmed him round after round, peppering him with shots all night long. At first, they seemed to be only pitty pat shots. That is, of course, until Lacy's lip started bleeding and his eye started swelling.
Why Lacy's corner never threw in the towel and allowed him to take that full beating is one of boxing's true unsolved mysteries. One thing that is not a mystery is that Lacy has never regained the status or luster that he once had.
Lacy has fought on, losing only once more, to Jermain Taylor. He has never looked the same since his loss to Calzaghe, and often looks lost during large portions of bouts. He remains rugged and durable, however, and still possesses heavy hands.
Roy Jones Jr. will meet Jeff Lacy in the ring on Aug. 22. The fight is more than a battle between two former champions and stars. It will be a battle for their careers. If Jones should lose, it will effectively end any small amount of desire fans have to see him fight. It will also end any future bigger paydays he may be seeking.
For Lacy, this is a fight to remain relevant. A win over Jones means nothing as far as the actual rankings go. But for Lacy, it would be a huge win for both his ego and his career. It would enable him to angle for another big fight and possible chance to get his career back on track.
There is little doubt who would have won this fight if they were both in prime form. Jones use to toy with guys who fought like Lacy. These are not those days, however, and this is not that version of Roy.
This is a 40-year-old Jones who can only fight in spurts and does not take shots very well. For all his lack of interest in the ring, Lacy can still punch.
Look for Jones to come out and try to potshot Lacy early. When he has the energy, look for him to shoeshine a little to try to impress the judges and win rounds. Jones doesn't possess the kinda one punch power to put Lacy down, and this is where he is in trouble.
Lacy should be there all night, throwing hard shots to the body and head. As Jones slows down and fights less and less, this could be a major problem. If Lacy can manage to stay focused and let his hands go, Jones will be in trouble.
Look for Lacy to win by late rounds stoppage and earn himself one more beating at the hands of one of the top guys at 168 or 175.