Team claims battered Jones will press on
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
New York, NY (Sports Network) -
Roy Jones Jr. wasn't there to say it for himself.
But according to both his manager and the CEO of his promotional company, last Saturday's methodical beating at the hands of unbeaten Welsh import Joe Calzaghe will not be the last time the 39-year-old Floridian laces up the gloves.
Jones lost a unanimous decision to Calzaghe, now 46-0, in his bid for the Ring Magazine light heavyweight championship before 14,152 at Madison Square Garden, scoring a first-round knockdown but failing to win another round on any of the judges' scorecards.
All three, in fact -- New York's Julie Lederman, Terry O'Connor of the United Kingdom and Jerry Roth of Las Vegas -- saw the bout, 118-109, for Calzaghe.
The FitzHitz scorecard produced the same totals -- seeing just one of the 12 rounds for Jones.
Before departing the ring, he said of retirement, "I'm not sure. I have to go back home and talk to my team."
Jones, who sustained a jagged cut over his left eye from a straight right hand in the seventh round and bled profusely for the remainder of the fight, was unable to attend the post-fight press conference after being dispatched for stitches, according to manager McGee Wright.
Still, in spite of the statistically one-sided nature of the bout -- Calzaghe landed 344 of his 985 punches compared to 159 of 475 for Jones -- neither Wright nor Square Ring Inc. CEO John Wert believed it warranted retirement talk for the former four-division world champion.
Jones is 52-5 overall.
Last Saturday's beating at the hands of Joe Calzaghe will not be the last time Roy Jones Jr. laces up the gloves.
The loss ended a three-fight win streak that began on the heels of a three- fight skid in 2004-05.
It was also his first loss in seven appearances in Manhattan.
Calzaghe was making his second appearance in the United States after winning his initial 44 fights in Europe. He fought for the first time in the U.S. in April, getting up after a first-round knockdown to defeat Bernard Hopkins by split decision in Las Vegas.
"When Roy dropped Joe he got out of his game plan," Wright said. "He started looking for too many big shots instead of working and staying busy, and that's really why he lost."
Wright said future options still include rematches with Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver and Hopkins, as well as a matchup with incumbent IBF 175-pound champion Chad Dawson.
Jones was stopped in nine rounds by Johnson in 2005, dropped two of three matches with Tarver from 2003-05 and defeated Hopkins by unanimous decision back in 1993.
"Roy was one punch away the whole night," Wright said. "I think the cut bothered him a lot and it really never stopped bleeding. He's disappointed, sure, but I think he mostly just wants to let everyone know that he's OK and he'll be OK. We're going to let everything settle and take it easy for a few months."
Calzaghe refused to make a post-fight announcement about his long-term future, though he'd hinted throughout the pre-fight promotional tour that the Jones fight would be his last.
"Joe is what, 37? And Roy is 39. And they're both still excellent fighters," Wert said. "We'll go back to the drawing board and figure out our best moves."
Wert said the possibility of bringing a fight to Jones' hometown of Pensacola remains a priority as well.
"Certainly, if something came along that made sense economically, we'd love to do a fight in Pensacola," he said. "Roy is proud to be from there and he'd love to make it happen. He's always said good things about his fans there and the amount they've always supported him, so it'd be a great thing to do."
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Though their April bout wasn't particularly violent in nature, it seems clear an undercurrent of angst still exists between Calzaghe and Hopkins even seven months later.
Twice on Saturday night, when mentioning his 2008 defeats of Jones and Hopkins, Calzaghe went out of his way to get in a little dig at the veteran Philadelphian.
"I decided at this stage of my career I wanted to be recognized as a true champion and there were only two more things I wanted to do," he said, "and that was to beat one legend in Bernard Hopkins and another one, a bigger one, in Roy Jones Jr."
Later, Calzaghe suggested Hopkins' next bout -- rather than a rematch with him -- should be with former Calzaghe foe and current WBA 168-pound champion Mikkel Kessler.
"I don't really like to do rematches, so I think Kessler ought to fight Hopkins and I'll promote it," he said. "I can sit outside the ropes and comment on it."
Hopkins wasn't above the verbal fray either.
Pulled aside for a press row interview before Saturday's main event, he clearly had Calzaghe in mind when contrasting New York judges with Las Vegas judges who awarded the Welshman a split decision by counts of 116-111 and 115-112, with a dissenting view of 114-113.
"Judges in New York City are too intelligent and educated to be fooled. They're going to favor the guy who actually inflicted some damage during a round," he said. "They're not kind to the ones who just try to get by with pitty-pat shots."
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As usual, the undercard left a bit to be desired.
Six of the eight preliminary bouts went the distance, including a drowsy 10- rounder between former two-division champion Zab Judah and Ernest Johnson, won by Judah via unanimous decision.
Brooklyn's Dmitriy Salita was also successful, albeit dull, in capturing a 12- round decision over Derrick Campos for the IBF's international junior welterweight championship.
Perhaps the best run-up moments came from a non-televised eight-round junior welterweight match between New Yorker Francisco Figueroa and entertaining journeyman Emanuel Augustus.
Figueroa improved to 20-2 with a split-decision win.
Augustus, memorably nicknamed "The Drunken Master" and a one-time foe of Floyd Mayweather Jr., fell to 38-30-6.
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The cable TV replay of Calzaghe-Jones comes Saturday at 10:15 p.m. (et), when it kicks off the HBO "World Championship Boxing" broadcast that'll also feature a 12-round super middleweight bout between Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy at the Vanderbilt University gym in Nashville.
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This weekend's big-fight capsule:
Non-title fight (168 pounds) -- Nashville, Tennessee
Jermain Taylor vs. Jeff Lacy
Taylor (27-2-1, 17 KO): Former four-defense champion at 160 pounds Lacy (24-1, 17 KO): Former four-defense champion at 168 pounds FitzHitz says: Taylor in 10
Last week's record: 1-1
Overall picks record: 39-14