Roy Jones begins the week with a characteristically wry smile and a less familiar sore right hip following his impressive defeat of Felix Trinidad over the weekend. True, both fighters are mere shadows of their respective primes, but despite advancing years they engaged in hefty action throughout the contest.
Offering plenty of entertainment for the attendant crowd and in all likelihood a plausible facsimile of how the fight would have uinfolded had their paths crossed during the late 90’s when both veterans were pound for pound contenders.
Whatever that newly forged measure of greatness actually means?
In reality the fight showed that a good big ‘un’ always beats a good little ‘un’. Jones cut an extra five pounds to make 170 and appeared to do with relative comfort, Tito didn’t appear to have cut much from his diet to make 170, ten pounds north of his last fight, 30 months previously. And he was never a solid middleweight then, a fact borne out by a distinctly ‘Witherspoon’ midriff.
As a Welterweight, Trinidad, Puerto Rico’s favourite son, was a destructive puncher with either hand and though Jones drew breath from the dozens of borderline left hooks to his right hand side, Trinidad’s power was never a factor. Jones walked forward throughout the middle rounds, drawing Trinidad energy and smiling at the sporadic success Trinidad found. It was a very disciplined, controlled performance from Jones despite showboating, or “hot-dogging” as modern parlance seemingly prefers to label it, on numerous occasions.
It was also the first time in a long time Jones has demonstrated more than superficial confidence. He clearly knew he was the bigger, stronger, fitter, quicker and more powerful fighter. That smile, which has previously betrayed the fact Jones was bluffing his way through fights, had rediscovered belief. Trinidad meanwhile, had the look of a man who knew he was in a very uncomfortable place. He couldn’t hurt Jones, failed to break his guard and was being punished repeatedly with lead rights and jabs – one of which put him down for an eight count – though his foot appeared to slip as he tried to balance himself.
All in all the fight was an entertaining spectacle and while the threat posed by Trinidad at 170lbs following another extended lay off was moderate, the manner and profile of the victory probably succeeded in once more legitimising Jones’ as a top-line fighter. In other words, Calzaghe and Hopkins fights, and maybe even Pavlik and Taylor if either move to 168 pounds, a weight Jones looks capable of making, are infinitely more sellable than they were before the weekend.
The BBC website relayed Jones’ comments after the fight, including the claim he was heading to Wales this week to negotiate the bout. Not quite a humbling experience for the once untouchable doyen of modern day boxing, but clearly a sign that for all the bluster, Jones realises his place in the current boxing hierarchy. Pragmatism in the ring, pragmatism out of the ring. Jones has always been many things, a fool was never one of them.
For Trinidad, one assumes a third, and probaly penultimate, retirement beckons, as precious little is likely to be achieved north of middleweight and precious few challenges at the level of remuneration he demands exist in the classic weight class and below. Could Tito make 154 for Oscar or Sugar Shane? Possibly, but very unlikely.
Enjoyed the fight. And winced at a few of those Trinidad body shots. Better not get a High Definition screen, I may start aching in the morning too.