Written by JP Sutherland
On Saturday November 8th, Roy Jones Jr and Joe Calzaghe will engage in battle in a fight that should have been made 10 years ago when both were at the peak of their respective talents. Had the fight occurred then, I have no doubt that Roy would have handled business emphatically, most likely scoring a brutal knock out. Put simply, Calzaghe couldn't have carried Roy's jock. No boxer could.
If you recall, Roy handled Bernard Hopkins and James Toney while in their primes, two of the most difficult boxers to face because of their defensive abilities and overall boxing knowledge. Then Roy did the unthinkable, moving up to heavyweight and easily handling John Ruiz. That was my favorite Roy moment because even though he was outweighed by 30 lbs, there were more than a few rounds where Roy stood toe to toe and traded with Ruiz, getting the better of every one of those exchanges.
As we've all heard time and again, Roy had to gain a lot of weight for the move to heavyweight and then drop weight again in order to face Antonio Tarver at light heavyweight. Roy lost that 1st Tarver fight, even though the judges gave him the decision. Then of course he was knocked out in the 2nd go around. At that point, what happens to a lot of fighters when knocked out happened to Roy. He quit believing in himself. He lost confidence. He became overcautious.
People talk about the mental aspect of boxing, or really the mental aspect of anything. Think about this: Roy went from giving a tremendously brave performance against Ruiz to giving a horrible, cowardly performance in that 3rd Tarver fight. He could have knocked Tarver out whenever he wanted to, Roy was that sharp. He just refused to throw punches. I cringed when Larry Merchant interviewed Roy after the fight and Roy said, "At least I didn't get knocked out." That was Roy's rock bottom.........
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