On March 1st, 2003, the man that ruled the light heavyweight division stepped up to take on the WBA Heavyweight Champion. At this time, these matches were rare and the event became a major attraction in boxing.
In one corner, the champion, John “Quietman” Ruiz, 38-4-1, 28 KO’s, an underrated fighter with plenty of heart and grit. He was a puzzle that nobody seemed able to solve. He defeated Evander Holyfield for the title and would defend successfully against top contender Kirk Johnson. His “jab and grab” aggressive style would be tough for Jones to cope with, many believed, and the sneaky overhand right was a weapon that Ruiz fully intended to use. He had ever intention to keep his title.
In the other corner, stood Roy Jones, JR., 47-1, 38 KO’s, a man that dominated everyone from 160 to 175. He stood atop the pound for pound rankings for years and his only defeat was by disqualification for hitting Montell Griffin when he was down. He would avenge the defeat by first round stoppage. Most considered Roy undefeated and without challenge, which is partially why his pay per views were low sellers. This was a change, a big man with a decent punch and confusing style. Roy would have his hands full.
It was mind over matter and skill over power as Roy dominated the bigger man, using his speed and timing to confuse Ruiz and take the lopsided decision and WBA Heavyweight title. Roy at 193 pounds became a major factor in the division overnight. He wasn’t going to fight the giant Lennox Lewis, but Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield may have been in the cards. Roy’s demand of 100 million to fight Iron Mike displayed how eager he was to face Iron Mike, but he seemed willing to step in there with Holyfield, but the fight never materialized.
It’s 2010 and David Haye proudly wears the title that Roy once called his own and at an average of 220 pounds, he is a smaller heavyweight by today’s standards. He also grew into a heavyweight, starting at 191 pounds and dominating the cruiserweight division. After unifying the cruiserweight title in 2008, he moved up, stopping Monte Barrett before landing a shot at the giant, Nikolay Valuev.
Haye fought tactfully, using movement and timing and outsmarted the lumbering giant en route to a decision win and a title. He would defend against John Ruiz and be only the second man to stop him, gaining the victory in the ninth round. His record of 24-1, 22 KO’s, is impressive with his only defeat being early on in his career when he was rushed into a fight with 38 fight veteran, Carl Thompson.
So, what happens when the 2003 Roy Jones, JR., meets up with the 2010 version of David Haye? Let’s find out.
The fight lands at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Roy enjoys fighting in Vegas and Haye sees this as a chance to acquaint himself with American fans. The hype machine goes into overdrive, as the 48-1 Jones comes off as a 2-1 favorite to defeat the 24-1 Haye. Haye laughs at the odds and says that he plans to stop him quickly, exposing the weak chin that Lou Del Valle struck in 1998. Haye points to his height and reach advantage and a claim that he is quicker than Jones as reasons why he will win. Jones, JR., boasts that it will be an easy fight and that he is eager to get it on.
British fans flock Vegas, supporting their man and buying up the tickets at ringside, giving Haye a comfort that he would need away from home. Jones, JR., is not without his fair share of fans, signing autographs as he walks down the strip. Jones seems to be used to be haggled for autographs and doesn’t mind it too much. He stops and takes a look at the big billboard with him and Haye facing off and points to it as mobs of fans take pictures of his pose.
Haye takes advantage of the press, giving interviews and talking about “hitting the jackpot,” being the first man to legitimately defeat Roy Jones. “Roy was hit by Ruiz in the first round and didn’t react well. Del Valle dropped him. I hit harder then both put together. What do you think is going to happen,” he said when asked about the fight by a member of the press.
At the prefight press conference both men showed their physiques and boasted about their skill and power. Both men were in incredible shape and ready for the biggest fights of their lives. Haye weighed in at 212 pounds and Roy came in at 194. Fight night loomed.
Jones, JR., is the first to the ring. He comes down mouthing the words to “Y’all Musta Forgot,” his rap tune. Some spectators scratch their head and say aloud: “Not this crap again.” Inside the ring, Jones seems focused and walks around the ring, looking at the crowd and getting mentally ready for Haye.
Haye wastes no time as he marches quickly to the ring, a slight smirk on his face. The British in the audience scream loudly in support of their fighter. He quickly gets into the ring and looks across at Roy, who gives a smirk, sending a message that he thinks lightly of Haye.
The fighters are announced and the arena is so packed that the noise is deafening. Jim Lampley notes of the craziness of the event and the chaos inside of the arena, so much so that security was doubled for the fight.
The opening bell rings and Haye rushes out of his corner and begins putting pressure on Jones. Jones immediately lands with two right uppercuts, the second one seemed to bother Haye. Haye holds on, grabbing Roy with his left hand and punching his body with his right. Roy seems calm and collected. Haye takes a few back steps and Roy now controls the distance, landing his overhand right counter as Haye has a hard time finding the mark. The initial warfare settles down and it resembles a typical Roy fight with him landing the better blows and confusing his opponent. 10-9 Jones.
The second round proved more of the same as Jones once again lands the better punches. He slows down the pace and Haye keeps looking for his opening. He is having a hard time with the reflexes of Jones. 10-9 Jones. (20-18 Jones)
The first ray of hope happens early on in the third for Haye as he lands a right hand that rattles Jones. Roy wobbles back to the ropes and keeps his hands high, deflecting the incoming. Haye pauses briefly for an opening and pays for it as Roy counters with a left hook and drops him to the floor. Haye sits and looks up at the referee, a slight smirk, amused that he left himself open for the shot. Roy moves in and lands two straight right hands followed by a left hook and hurts Haye. The bell rings. 10-8 Jones (30-26 Jones)
The fourth round, Haye finally lands a chopping right hand behind the ear of Jones and he immediately backs up into the ropes. Haye approaches with caution and begins throwing punches. Roy gets hit with a brutal left hook and is falling, only to be hit by another left hook on the way down. 40 seconds into the fourth round and it has totally turned around. The British fans jump up and cheer. Roy barely makes it to his feet at six and nods to the referee with over two minutes left in the fourth round. Haye unloads and Roy goes down again from two right hands. Roy immediately pops up and assures the referee that he can continue. One minute remaining and Haye’s corner yells to their fighter to finish and he does just that. A left hook puts Roy on his back and out cold. The referee waves it off and the fans stand up and cheer. The winner by TKO at 2 minutes and 49 seconds of the fourth round and still WBA Heavyweight Champion, David “Hayemaker” Haye.
After the fight, Haye states that he will take on either Klitschko brother and/or Audley Harrison.