Boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. thought he was finished with his days of cutting weight and stepping into the ring before a large and eager audience, but his upcoming boxing match with former UFC Lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis has many wondering whether there are more fights for Jones in the future.
Jones however, isn’t so sure, which could make Saturday’s match his farewell fight.
“I wanted to fight Anderson Silva but it just kept getting pushed to the side, pushed to the side, pushed to the side,” said the former boxing champion and US Olympian during Thursday’s pregame press conference.
“It never happened. I was kind of dead on all of it. I was kind of through with boxing. I was like, no, I’m done, I shouldn’t fight no more. I’m good. I’m 54 years old. They said, ‘You know, one of the greatest at 155 [pounds] said he would come up in weight to fight you and you don’t have to come no lower than 200.’ So it started sounding kind of intriguing.”
Jones said that the call from Pettis after turning 54 in January began to capture his imagination, giving him the idea that this potential final opportunity could be a defining and entertaining sendoff for the fighter who himself thought was finished with the game for good.
“[Pettis] is very innovative in what he does too,” Jones continued. “He’s done things in the MMA ring that nobody else won’t ever do. For me to get the opportunity to face somebody who has that same type of creative mind in their own respective sport as I have in boxing, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute — should you say no to this?’ I want to say no but it’s Dean [Toole], it’s ‘Gamebred,’ it’s Milwaukee. Like, have you ever fought in Milwaukee before? No. So I guess the pros outweighed the nos. So here we are.”
The past few years alone have been full of crossover fights between former MMA and boxing fighters, ranging from Floyd Mayweather vs Connor McGregor to YouTube celebrity boxer Jake Paul’s fights with fighting legends such as Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva.
While Jones never had the opportunity to glove up with Silva, this fight with Pettis has certainly reinvigorated this veteran of the ring. Despite his excitement though and the excitement of his fans, Jones is making it rather clear he has no further intentions of fighting anyone after Saturday’s match.
“At the end of my career, I still wanted to do it because I said I wanted to do it,” Jones added. “Here’s a perfect opportunity [against] a guy who is also a legend at what he did. Yeah, he was a smaller weight class, but he’s up at 205 pounds when they talked to him about it so he’s big enough, so he knows how to handle himself and I know he’s going to go hard with his boxing, because he’s one of the greats.
“I’m not planning on doing it again, no. Only for Anthony, I’m doing this. Anthony wanted to change and try to cross over into this sport. With him and [Jorge] Masvidal and everyone else involved, they all made it such a good situation that it’s a win-win for everybody. It’s a good situation, it’s pay-per-view, it’s something I wanted to do, which was a crossover fight with a good name in MMA. I was the first one that came up with that idea and I didn’t get to do it. But I came up with the idea.”
While Jones certainly has the resume to come in as the favorite, it can’t be denied that this is a fight where his boxing knowledge will have to compensate for his age, while for Pettis his age and vigor will have to compensate for his lack of formal boxing experience.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Jones said as a compliment to Pettis’ dedication to getting prepared. “He’s not a fool. He’s a good striker, sparring with good fighters. Caleb Plant is a former world champion. He’s getting the right sparring in. He’s doing the right things to get ready for a boxing match. He’s not playing he’s serious about it.”
“To be honest, to see how Jake Paul was able to make the transition and all that he did to make that much money in boxing, he inspires people to do the same thing. So you know that [Pettis] knows that he can get a change, get a win, he’s going to be onto bigger and better things. So he’s putting his all into it,” Jones observed.
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