The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Jones-Roccigiani Canceled: by Francis Walker

October 8, 1999

Jones-Roccigiani Canceled;
Mayweather-Gainer Tops Billing
By Francis Walker

On Saturday, November 6, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Undisputed World Light-Heavyweight Champ, Roy Jones Jr., was scheduled to make his first defense of the unified 175-pound titles against WBC interim champ, Graciano Rocchigiani. Instead, Jones' good friend, Derrick Gainer ( 29-4, 19KOs) challenges "Pretty Boy," Floyd Mayweather (22-0, 17KOS) for the WBC super featherweight crown.

In March 1998, Rocchigiani won a 12-round split decision over Michael Nunn for what was allegedly for the vacant WBC light-heavyweight crown. However, Jones, who was rumored to have vacated the title for his apparent refusal to face Nunn, ranked No. 1 by the WBC at the time, did not vacate the championship. Thus, was declared a champion in recess.

While Jones successfully won three marquee fights in 1998, including a one-body punch kayo of former world titlist, Virgil Hill (W 12) and arising from the first knockdown of his career to out-point Lou Del Valle (W 12), a former sparring partner, who was the WBA champ, Rocchigiani waited patiently in Germany for a shot against Jones. Following Jones' second-round knockout of Richard Frazier, a 40-year-old, New York City Police Officer, the WBC demanded Jones to either fight Rocchigiani or 1) vacate the championship and 2) submit to Rocchigiani "a penalty fee."

Instead, Jones went on to become boxing's first Undisputed World Champion in nearly seven years when he out-pointed IBF king and two-division champion, Reggie Johnson (W 12) in a one-sided show.

In a one-on-one interview conducted several months ago, Jones seemed quite unwilling to face Rocchigiani, who according to Jones, covers up.

Jones did not feel a bout against Rocchigiani would be competitive enough, nor appealing. Sadly enough, he is probably correct.

According to insiders, HBO definitely did not express any interest in making Jones-Rocchigiani. From a legal standpoint, Jones-Rocchigiani would have conflicted with HBO's annual budget and thus was scratched. Following a financial breakdown of all incoming proceeds generated from the net revenues from all parties involved in making the deal Rocchigiani would have received a guaranteed $1.5 million. Multiply that by $1.8 which is the value of the German Duetch Mark in Germany to the single U.S. dollar - Rocchigiani would have brought home a pretty nice payday. That's a hell of a lot more than Jones would have received ($1 million) - Not including deductions!

There is no way Jones settles for less money fighting an opponent that anyone here in America knows anything about.

While Jones-Roccigiani is on the shelf for now, Jones' good buddy, Gainer, meets Mayweather for the WBC 130-pound championship.

Having fought professionally for nine years Gainer has never fought for a world title. Despite having four losses in his career, two of them to current IBF champ Robert Garcia (L 10) and former WBC titlist Kevin Kelley (KO by 8), Gainer has won his last 12 bouts. 9KOs.

Gainer, who avenged his kayo-loss to Kelley last summer with a 10-round decision in a rematch on an HBO CO-feature to Jones-Del Valle at Madison Square Garden, was supposed to fight Garcia in a title fight under Jones-Johnson this summer in Biloxi. However, Garcia pulled-out less than 48 hours before the fight.

Gainer will meet one of boxing's hottest attraction's in Mayweather.

Undefeated in 22 professional contests with 17KOs, Mayweather, a Bronze medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the U.S. fighting out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a stunning 5-0, 4KOs in world title fights. Some of his biggest victories include big wins over Genaro Hernandez (TKO 8), whom Mayweather forced to quit on his stool and against Angel Manfredy (TKO 2); annihilated in a matter of seconds.

Mayweather-Gainer should be a real goody, but I feel the "Pretty Boy" is simply too classy a talent between 126 and 130 for most.

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