#9 Roy Jones Jr.
To begin with, ranking the top boxers of all-time is a very difficult task. The list of boxers reviewed over the last month of research, span over approximately 150 years, and all weight-classes.
By spanning such long periods of time and such large differences between each fighter, it becomes somewhat of a tedious task to decipher the differences amongst them.
Each of the men on the initial list of 30 fighters is unique in their own way, and possessed skills wildly different from each other.
To rank each of these extremely talented fighters, they have been ranked within six different categories to truly grasp the effects each fighter had on both the sport and the culture. This is not a list strictly upon the most skilled or talented fighters, but rather many different aspects such as their global recognition, dominance over periods of time, and even their specific characteristics that gave them a competitive edge. In turn, they are given a score out of 60 and ranked accordingly.
Access to the google spreadsheet is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gvDNpcZ_dKOADBR9SxOvsYnfTPORraIoUww-YD9Djaw/edit?usp=sharing
The specific scores are ranked in the following categories:
- Dominance (D)
- Recognition (R)
- Level of Competition (C)
- Ability and Skill (S)
- Achievements (A)
- Competitive Edge (E)
To continue, number 9…
#9 – Roy Jones Jr., 9 (D), 8 (R), 8 (C), 10 (S), 8 (A), 10 (E) = Total: 53
Some may be shocked at the placement of Roy Jones Jr. on this list, but it should never have been in doubt. Light-heavyweight Champion Mike McCallum was once quoted as saying “He is the best boxer since Sugar Ray”. Not Leonard, but Robinson. “This boy is faster than Leonard. He hits harder, and he can knock you out when he’s going backwards”.
A rough upbringing caused Roy to become a man at a very young age. A story done by sports illustrated in 1996 notes that as a child he was taught to “fight or die” in the way the chickens in his father’s cockfights did. To teach young Roy to swim, his father threw him in the Gulf of Mexico. He was once placed on a bull and told to ride it with no experience. Roy Jones Sr. considered this ‘teaching’ his son to have no fear. The only fear young Jones knew, was of his father.
Although Jones Sr. sounds like a nightmare – and Jones Jr. would likely agree to this day – Jones Sr. was a troubled man for reason. Fighting in Vietnam, he lost his father and recalls accounts of him being forced to “act like a man”, even in difficult situations, such as at his father’s funeral. Keeping with that trend, he raised his sons roughly in the hope that one day Jones Jr. would be a world champion. He didn’t know at the time, but that is exactly what he became.
Jr’s story is one of a damaged champion, a man beaten up by his father, always seeking assurance from him – yet never receiving it. In his early career, he easily discarded Bernard Hopkins. That proved not enough to please his father despite it earning him the middleweight championship. He sought a title fight and had his sights on James Toney – the best pound-for-pound fighter of the time. He quickly gained this fight. Throughout the bout, Toney edges Jones on but it is clear who the superior fighter is. Hook after hook comes as Jones dances around Toney landing large combinations of punches. Toney looks tired and injured through just two rounds and is quickly knocked down. He is no match for Jones’ blistering hand speed. In a unanimous decision, Roy was the clear winner. It was miraculous the former super middleweight champion lasted the whole twelve rounds.
With that, Roy Jr. was a world champion, and undoubtedly so. He became the first fighter to acquire the heavyweight title as a middleweight in more than 100 years.
Despite the win, Jr. never seemed to do right by his father. Eventually, the inevitable happened and Roy ditched his father as his trainer and manager. His father had previously been pushing Jr. to do smaller fights, and Roy knew he was better than that.
His first major loss came at the hands of Antonio Tarver in 2004, and he lost some of his edge. Roy Jones brings a style that has never been seen before in the ring. A style of reckless endangerment, Roy Jr. puts himself at risk with every punch. His hands low, Roy throws hooks and right-hand counters constantly but had the hand speed and footwork to dodge and land before his victim ever had a chance. This style did not suit him as he aged, and yet he continued to fight. He most recently fought Bobby Gunn (a bare-knuckle boxer champion out of Russia) to an easy TKO victory despite being 48 years old.
Roy Jones Jr. revolutionized the meaning of quickness and brought a completely new style into the ring that we had never seen. His dancing and countering was something we had never seen to that degree.
Roy Jr. is currently an analyst on HBO Boxing and has hinted at retirement in 2017, with no official word. He and his father still seem to have a rift between them to this day.