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Roy Jones Jr: 

Greatest Fighter of the 90's or Overrated? 

by Mohammed Khan

After the National Boxer's Writing Association of America voted Roy Jones Jr. the fighter of the nineties on May 13th, many conflicting views have been expressed. Many people feel that Oscar De La Hoya or Evander Holyfield should have been named as fighter of the decade. All three men are great champions that have undergone remarkable careers. 

The career of Jones can't be overstated. Jones fought and defeated every single fighter in his weight class for over 8 years and counting. As HBO commentator Jim Lampley remarked "Jones seldom loses a round, let alone a fight." But let's look at this weight class in more detail. Jones' only defeat, which is purely technical in itself, came from Montell Griffin. After an illegal shot to the head while Griffin was on the canvass, Jones was disqualified in controversy. The subsequent rematch produced an explosive first round knock out that launched Jones' career into it's current pedestal. But what has Jones really accomplished? Victories against David Telesco? Virgil Hill? Jones has never faced a truly dangerous opponent. One can only wonder what would have been if Jones was in the division at the same time as cruiserweight Michael Moorer, or other greats who were boxing. Another key fact is that Jones has not moved up in weight, just as Moorer did. A fighter of the decade should seek out competition, instead of relaxing upon a pedestal. Just ask Shane Mosley. Jones' skills are undisputed, his defense, lightning speed, and accuracy of punches show just how close a boxer can come to being perfect. But Jones' knock out power has never consistently been evident. Sure, knockouts against Hill and Griffin account for something, but can't a true power puncher knock out David Telesco, or many other second class opponents where Jones' seemed content on a receiving a easy victory on points? The fact is that aside from a few knock outs, Jones has never had a one punch bomb in his arsenal, instead, well-timed combinations and physical conditioning help his fights. One look at Jones' body shows one of the best conditioned athletes in the world. To his credit, Jones has never ducked an opponent or been tested. It's truly easy to never duck fighters when there are no fighters to duck. It's truly easy to not be tested when there's nobody to test you. The truth is that if Jones was the great fighter that he, and the National Boxers Writing Association of America claim to be, he would have moved up in weight years ago. Ideally 6 to 9 months after his defeat of Griffin. Do we really need to see Jones fight more bar room brawlers or part time security guards? How many more perfect decisions against second class fighters will be enough? I doubt Jones' ego can get any bigger. 

The biggest fighter, and smallest ego of the 90's belong to Holyfield. Quite simply the man fought wars in the ring. Wining the heavyweight championship 3 times in the decade, Holyfield fought almost everyone. Although recent losses to Lennox Lewis may diminish Holyfield's overall record, make no mistake, this is not Holyfield in his prime. Holyfield in his prime was a superb counter puncher, just take a look back to his bout with George Foreman. You'll see sharp accurate jabs, hooks, and uppercuts without fail or quit. A 3 time epic with Riddick Bowe may have only produced 1 victory for Holyfield, but it produced the end of Bowe's career. And long after Bowe retired, Holyfield continued to lace up his gloves and defeat Moorer along with Mike Tyson, whom was perhaps the greatest win of his career. Jones may be the fighter of his division, but Holyfield was the fighter of the 90's.

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