On September 25, 2004, one of the scariest moments that I have ever seen happened in Memphis, Tennessee. Roy Jones, JR., was returning to the ring just four months after his first knockout defeat at the hands of Antonio Tarver. He hand picked Glen Johnson as the opponent and most predicted a decision win for Roy, but an upset was brewing.
Johnson attacked early, swarmed, and battered Jones until a right hand knocked him cold in the ninth round. Roy fell to the canvas, stiff as a board, and was out cold. It was an incredibly scary moment and every second that passed, the concern grew greater that this once great champion was killed inside of the ring.
Thankfully, Roy came out of it, and would continue his boxing career, when he probably should have hanged them up. He would take beatings at the fists of Antonio Tarver in a third encounter, get battered from pillar to post by Joe Calzaghe for twelve full rounds, and get beat up by Bernard Hopkins. Prior to Hopkins, Roy was starched in one round by the heavy-handed cruiserweight, Danny Green.
Recently there have been consistent rumors that Roy would return again at the cruiserweight level or perhaps even moving up to heavyweight. He has been dropping the names of David Haye and Tomasz Adamek, and potential future opponents, but that will now never happen, but then again, this is boxing. Anything is possible.
RSR was informed recently that Roy intended to fight in Tennessee, headlining a card, but he has been having some alarming medical problems that may have permanently sidelined him. Roy has been having balance problems due to the continual hits to his head and has been fully aware of it, but it has been getting worse. To his credit, he has taken it upon himself to get checked out and it has been confirmed that loss of balance are the beginning indications of brain damage in the world of boxing.
We have all seen what has happened to Muhammad Ali, another fighter known for his speed and reflexes. There has always been a concern about Roy’s health. He surrounds himself with people that support his fantasy of being heavyweight champion of the world, never hearing the voice of reason that he is a shot fighter and bad things can happen to a shot fighter.
Roy has done the right thing. He has sought treatment and doesn’t need to fight anymore. He has won titles from middleweight to heavyweight, was one of the best fighters to come out of the 1990s and was untouchable for years. I hope that he retires from the game, continues his work on HBO as a commentator and doesn’t listen to the hanger-ons that will try to persuade him to fight again. There is no need. There is nothing left.
RSR wishes Roy the best. He was truly a great fighter and it would be a shame to see him do something foolish and pay a terrible price for it. He has nothing left to prove.