Roy Jones-Virgil Hill Report
by GorDoomDon't know what it was, but I just couldn't get into the fight tonight. Maybe because it featured two of boxing's greatest underachievers ... Hill looked okay while he lasted, Roy looked rusty, which he even admitted to.
The shot that leveled Hill didn't look all that awesome on TV, but live, it must'ave been different. Gotta say, Hill's was one of the more histrionic KO's I've ever seen ... Very Hollywood. It's rare to see a fighter grimace & chew scenery like Hill did tonight. ... But hey, that's easy to say from the comfort of your couch.
It occurs to me that my apathy for this fight stems from the fact that I'm way past tired, with Roy Jones Jr.'s act ... & Hill's tap dance of a boxing career has never meant squat to me either.
Admittedly, Roy toned down his act tonight & the lack of self serving bombast was refreshing, but for this wizened scribe, it is a matter of too little, too late ...
But don't worry, dear readers, the Ol' Spit Bucket ain't gonna go off on a screed about why Roy Jones Jr.'s wasted talent pisses me off ... Naw, I'll just turn it over to the CBZ's excellent correspondents, who will fill you in on tonight's big fun on the bayou.
WOULD YOU LIKE SAUCE WITH THOSE RIBS?: ROY JONES, JR. PROCLAIMS HIMSELF "KING OF THE HILL"
by DscribeDCRoy Jones, Jr.-Virgil Hill
April 25, 1998
A long time ago, a sage (Dizzy Dean maybe?) said "it ain't braggin' if you can do it." Let Roy Jones ask the Grand Casino for a Rolls Royce. Let him strap on a headset and saunter down the aisle toward the ring rapping hip hop, looking more like Ice Cube than Ice Cole. Let him play an ABL basketball game the day of a title fight. Let him do whatever he wants to; all we ask is that he keeps on being invincible. Amidst all the talk, the whispers that he had "lost his fire," that he was no longer #1 pound-for-pound, that he was (Heaven forbid!) looking ahead to life beyond boxing, Roy Jones, Jr., an Ahab in search of a whale if ever there was one, completely dismantled a game, respected veteran champion in Virgil Hill, smacking him with a body shot that made North Dakota's finest crumble like he had just lost a quarrel with the business end of a Greyhound bus.
What else does Roy Jones have to do to get respect? Or, more pointedly, what else can he do? There is simply no one for him to fight below the heavies. Maybe he can try boxing while playing a basketball game. "And from the top of the key, Jones throws up a hook. A left hook. And it goes down. The shot and the opponent!..." Maybe he can pull a Stunning Steve Austin WWF stunt and fight with one hand tied behind his back. Maybe he can arrange a special Willie Pep handicap match in which he has to win rounds without throwing punches. Who knows? The only logical course would seem to be for Jones to spend a few months picking up weight, fight one or two at cruiser and then step in with the big boys. With one aging champion whose belly doesn't exactly house a raging bonfire these days, another belt holder with a suspect chin, a host of questionable junior prospects and a veritable rest home full of graying trial horses in need of paychecks, there has never been a better time for such a move.
But back to tonight's fight. The first round saw Jones look jerky and tentative, no doubt the result of nine months of ring rust, while the feather-fisted but technically solid and unusually-resolute Hill stuck to his guns (or, more accurately, his gun) launching left jab after left jab to the head and body while fending off most of Jones late-rounds power punches. By round two, the tone had been set, Jones' thumping left hooks and straight rights getting through just enough to steal the play from Hill, who plodded, building up tiny increments of damage with the jab, hoping to rattle Jones, get him out of his game and out-hustle him in the later rounds. There was some cause for hope in Hill's corner. By round three, he seemed to be visibly frustrating Jones, who no doubt sought to make this a "statement" fight. Jones shook his head to indicate that Hill's blows did no damage and seemed to be pressing, perhaps prematurely to get rid of the pesky ex-titleist. But at 1:10 of the fourth, Jones, timing a lazy Hill jab, launched a debilitating body shot that left Hill prone on the floor, writhing in pain. Virgil gamely struggled to his feet, perhaps with a broken rib, but ref Fred Steinwinder humanely called a halt.
With a recent title loss and the Jones defeat, one wonders whether this is the end of the road for the 34-year old Hill. His career has been highly successful, probably beyond his wildest dreams. Let's bury him not on the lone prairie, but by all means let's face facts; the best years are surely behind Hill, and, in interviews, his speech had begun to take on the low rumble and slow cadences that have presaged serious wear and tear on so many long-time warriors. It could be time for Virgil to march home where the buffalo roam, as discouraging words will only become more frequent from here on out.
For all his stunning talents, and his apparent yearning to be considered the best, Jones sounded remarkably tranquil and nonchalant about the business of boxing, stressing his simple lifestyle, his distrust of boxing's political and financial chicanery and his desire to avoid precisely the kind of long-term damage Hill may be starting to exhibit. With $20 million under his belt, there is certainly no need for Jones to endanger life and/or limb in a less than optimal circumstance. With no maniacal urge to collect Bentleys, no TV star girlfriends or pharmaceutical habits to drain his funds, Jones may just decide to hang out on the beach and count his chickens for another nine months. Or another nineteen.
He seems to be washing his hands of the sport's ills, even passing up lunch with boxing's #1 contender for savior, Arizona Senator John McCain. Hell, Jones even seems to have kissed and made nice with Mississippi State Athletic Commission Chairman Billy Lyons, whose racially-incendiary post-fight remarks a few years ago about Jones' lack of humility threatened to keep Jones out of Ole Miss forever. Roy doesn't seem to want to dirty his hands with Big Issues. And in this era of media double-talk, uncivil political discourse and public backlash, who can blame him? The only spin Roy Jones wants to deal with is on his handy fishing reel.
Even if Roy Jones doesn't need boxing, boxing very desperately needs Roy Jones, one of less than a handful of marquee talents capable, through knockout power and unconventional, potentially vulnerable style, of generating big-money excitement from casual fans. The powers that be had better find some way to rile up Jones right quick, before he experiences any more of what he describes as "self-happiness" and blisses himself right out of boxing into the world of professional basketball or hip-hop or some other line of work that doesn't involve 5:00 am roadwork, getting medicine balls bounced off your stomach and having to deal with a half-dozen hungry gym rats a day trying to separate you from your senses.
It's a terrible, unbearable fact. But we must face it. Roy Jones, Jr. may just be too strong, too talented, too mentally indomitable. And, most terrifying of all for boxing and its eminences, too damn sane.
Roy Jones Returns
by Chirs BushnellFinally! Roy Jones is back where he belongs: in the ring.
After a nearly nine month absence from the squared circle, Roy Jones returned to take on light-heavyweight icon Virgil Hill. What took so long? Since his last bout, in which he nearly decapitated Montell Griffin for blemishing his record, Jones has announced he was going to move up to heavyweight. Then he wasn't. Then he was on HBO's "Chris Rock Show" claiming he would fight at cruiserweight first. Then he wasn't. Then he was going to fight Hasim Rahman because George Foreman wouldn't. Perhaps he would fight Jeremy Williams for $5 million? Nope...Roy wanted $10. James "Buster Seams" Douglas? Yes, no, yes, and finally no. Finally, out of nowhere, Jones accepts a challenge from Virgil Hill. Forget that a year ago this would have been for the undisputed light heavyweight title. This is 1998. This fight was to see who was the best 177 1/2 pounder in the world. Huh?
Because Jones is no longer the WBC 175 pound champion (or maybe he is?), Jones contracted the fight with Hill at 177 1/2 pounds. He also contracted to weigh in the day before the fight. Until yesterday. On Friday Roy was saying that the proper weigh-in time was 6:00 a.m. on the morning of the fight. The reason: Jones accused Hill of steaming down to make weight and was fearing the extra hours would allow Hill to rehydrate himself back to 185. Let's forget that Roy himself claimed on HBO broadcasts that he used similar tactics against Toney, and that his own walk-around weight was 190. Roy claimed he was just barely able to get UP to 177 1/2. After some standing off which seriously threatened to cancel HBO's expensive live broadcast, the fighters weighed in. Can't anything with Roy Jones Jr. be easy?
Yes. The fight itself.
Roy Jones, despite the above contradictions, was the smaller man in the ring tonight. He was shorter, had a smaller reach, and was clearly outweighed by his opponent. But the North Dakotan champion was no match for the force of nature named Roy.
Hill began the fight sticking is best and only weapon, a deliberate and stinging jab, into Roy's midsection. He landed several of these punches until Roy decided to fire back. Displaying speed that is downright shocking, Roy was able to land his patented lead left hooks and blistering lead rights onto Hill's chin by the end of the opening stanza. Jones' heavy hands continued to land and set the pace through the second round, as Hill gamely pressed on with his plan to alternately jab Jones' body and head. The third round provided some glimpses of excitement as both fighters traded flush blows and corresponding shaking heads to indicate that the punches didn't hurt. Although Roy easily won all three rounds, Hill was beginning to settle into a rhythm. His jab was about as effective as it could be against Jones, and he was having some success in cutting off the ring.
But in the fourth, Virgil Hill's persistence was not enough to protect him. Jones fainted a lead left hook, and Hill dipped to avoid the nonexistent punch. Roy then buried a right hook to Hill's side that ringside doctors claim fractured Hill's ribs. Virgil crumpled to the floor in excruciating pain. He was able to make it to his feet by 9, but was still noticeably cramped over by 10 giving referee Fred Steinwinder III no choice but to wave the fight over. Jones KO4
Hill (43-3), who was not interviewed by HBO, was shown sitting in his corner after the fight complaining that Jones had hit him in the back. But replays showed that the punch that ended it was a legal blow to his side. At the post fight press conference Jones (36-1, 31) said, "I haven't heard a sound quite as devastating as that. I don't know if I hit bone, but if I did, it broke. I almost broke my hand.
After the fight, HBO gave Roy Jones a check for $500,000 and a three year contract extension. For their part, the WBC, which at one point had stripped Jones, has instead labeled him a "champion in recess", thus making Graziano Rocchigiani the "interim champion". Roy said this week that he would work with HBO to set up a fight with the German light heavy and clear the confusion. But when is anything with Roy Jones Jr. quite so simple?
Roy Jones Jr - Too Good For His Own Good
by Thomas GerbasiI'm generally not known for my patience. And last night was no exception. Due to my attendance at the Explosion Promotions fight card in Staten Island, I was forced to have the Roy Jones Jr - Virgil Hill match taped. So, on the way home I decided to hit the news to get the result. No dice. Okay, let's hit the all sports talk stations, they must have the result. Uh-uh. So here we are as boxing fans. In Roy Jones we are treated to perhaps the most talented fighter in the world, period. In his first fight since last August, he knocks out Virgil Hill, not only a long time light heavyweight champion, but a man who has never been knocked out. And with a body punch no less. And I can't get a ten second soundbite on who won the fight?
I pass by a street vendor by my job who sells old newspapers and magazines. Prominent among his wares are newspapers featuring boxing headlines. One that stands out to me is one from 1978, which in large, bold print proclaims "ALI LOSES" to report on Leon Spinks' upset of the Greatest. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Papers featuring Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, and Joe Louis on the front page are commonplace. I haven't even begun to disgust myself today by seeing what the local papers have about the fight. The Jones-Hill fight would be lucky to receive an AP wire blurb.
And such is the dilemma for Roy Jones Jr. I will be the first to say that the guy has to fight more. I will also be first in line to say that his talent will waste away if he doesn't use it. But I've also got to put myself in his shoes. There is no one approaching marquee status in Jones' immediate future. The only fighter who has some recognition is Bernard Hopkins, who has not only lost to Jones already, he would be moving up in weight to fight him. So Jones deduces, why put my health on the line to fight someone who will not move my career forward an inch? Why fight for peanuts against a fighter who couldn't draw flies, let alone a crowd. Sure, there is money to be made in Germany against the Rocchigianis and Michalczewskis, but does the average sports fan in the States care about those matchups? No.
See, Roy Jones wants mainstream acceptance. He wants to be known as a top notch athlete to the entire sports world, not just to boxing fans. And unfortunately, this will not happen in the near future, due to lack of competition. Evander Holyfield has Lennox Lewis, and come later this year, Mike Tyson. Oscar DeLa Hoya has Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, David Reid, and Fernando Vargas to look forward to in the next couple of years. And Prince Naseem Hamed has Kelley, McKinney, Barrera, Gatti, and Manfredy waiting for a shot at the Gold ring in the coming year. Roy Jones has Reggie Johnson, Michael Nunn, and Lou Del Valle on his dance card. Not exactly Murderer's Row.
And as long as no one is available to capture the public's eye in a fight with Reluctant Roy, Jones will not be banging down HBO's door to make fights. As he said in a pre-fight interview, he was happy, secure, and content with his station in life at the present time. He doesn't have much choice. And while all boxing fans are deprived of seeing his amazing skills in action, if we can detach ourselves as fans for a moment, we can't really blame him. It's like working excessive amounts of overtime and not getting any further along in your job. Getting no recognition, just a perfunctory "good job". Right now, Roy Jones Jr. is just punching a time clock. And while Roy is happy in his personal life, he remains one of sport's saddest stories because he is just too good for his own good.
Jones takes out gutsy Hill
by BoxngRulesFirst of all, I would like to say that was one of the worst HBO Broadcasts I have seen in years. The whole telecast was less than an hour when they could have at least gave us an undercard fight. But I digress. Now here is my thought on the initial fight of the evening.
Roy Jones, Jr. landed one hammer-like shot to the kidneys of Virgil "Over the" Hill and it was all over. Jones was getting all he could handle through the first 3 and was lucky Hill got in the way of that shot. Soon afterward "Quick Silver" was sent to a hospital for a possible broken rib.
Hill started quickly in Round 1 and 2, landing a succession of jabs but Jones landed the heavier blows. In Round 3, Jones started to show signs of a rally as he threw gattling gun right hands. At the end, Jones proved he was a devastating body puncher as well as his various other strengths.
For the record, I had Hill ahead 29-28 at the time of the KO. Hill suffered his first blemish by a KO as he downed to 43-3 (20 KO's). Jones impressed millions with this win as he improved to 36-1 (31 KO's). Jones has made his move to the #1 Pound-For-Pound fighter on my personal rankings. Hope you enjoyed my column on the fights. Until next time...
4.26.98 [Return to Top]
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