Don’t tell boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. there are too many sanctioning bodies in the sport right now, because the 51-year-old former four-division world champ isn’t having any of it. When asked during a recent press conference for his upcoming boxing exhibition bout against Mike Tyson, 54, about why two of the biggest names in the history of the sport would suddenly feel compelled to be fighting on November 28 for something called the WBC “Frontline Battle” belt, Jones didn’t hold back.
“First of all, I don’t give a damn what nobody say. I don’t give a damn what they got to say,” Jones said. “They ain’t got nothing to do with me. I do what I do, my business is my business. I don’t care what he or nobody else got to say. It ain’t got nothing to do with what he doing. So, he can stay in his lane and do what he do, let me do what I do.”
Of course, the “he” Jones was referencing during his pointed speech was fellow legend and retired boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Jones Not Impressed With Mayweather’s Viral Rant
“I don’t wanna knock no fighter, but I’m tired of seeing fighters after the fight, everybody got a championship belt now,” Mayweather said. “Now boxing, all these belts is like trophies. The WBC, the WBA, the IBF and the WBO, y’all have to clean this s*** up. Y’all have to clean this up! This is bad for boxing.”
But Jones honed in on the idea that fighters from before Mayweather’s era in boxing operated under a different set of parameters than Mayweather had.
“Secondly, when I was fighting, I wasn’t like [Mayweather]. I went and got every belt possible that I could get in my weight class at the time. Mike [Tyson] went and did the same thing. We come from the old school. It wasn’t we’ll take this one and that one. No, no, no, no. We want every belt you got. I don’t care what kind of belt it is. It can be the Joe Crab Seafood belt. I don’t care what it is. If a guy wore a belt in my weight class, I wanted that.”
Jones will face Tyson in a modified rules boxing exhibition bout that consists of eight two-minute rounds and the main event participants wearing 12-ounce boxing gloves instead of the standard 10. Tyson vs. Jones is scheduled for November 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The card will be streamed live via Triller pay-per-view.
Boxing’s Fighter of Decade in the 1990s
Jones was the premier fighter of his era the way Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were for theirs.
In fact, just as Mayweather was declared Fighter of the Decade in the 2010s by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), and Manny Pacquiao was named the same by the organization for the 2000s, Jones was tabbed Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s.
During his Hall of Famer career, Jones won eight legit world titles (and a slew of others) spanning four weight classes. He remains the last undisputed light heavyweight champion in boxing history and was the first fighter in 106 years to rise from a middleweight title to one in the heavyweight division.
Jones was easily the Mayweather of his era, so when the boxing superstar passionately defends the idea of being able to fight for belts offered by the sanctioning bodies in the sport, it’s something that has to be considered.
“So if they come and say they want to put a belt on the line, I’m sorry but… it’s like drugs. I just can’t say no,” Jones said. “You offer me a title? You got it. So, it don’t mean nothing to people like [Mayweather] maybe, but it means the world to me.”
Tyson, who was the youngest fighter in boxing history to become an undisputed champ, also backed Jones up on the matter.
“He said it all,” Tyson said. “It’s like drugs.”
You can watch a clip of the entire exchange below.
Jones Reveals More to Heavy
Later, Jones revealed more of his way of thinking via phone to Heavy.
“Listen, when I was arguing with you earlier, I was saying I wanted every title that was around my weight class,” Jones said. “Any type of title I could fight for, I wanted it.”
Then, Jones described how he thought it was “crazy” for Mayweather to have complained about the sanctioning bodies. As a group, Jones feels those organizations had treated Mayweather differently than they had fighters from the previous eras, and that they had done it to help Mayweather during his career.
“When I was fighting, it was illegal to hold on to two weight class titles, Jones said. The IBF even made James Toney vacate his title after he beat Iran Barkley. They gave him 10 days and said you’re either going to keep your middleweight or super middleweight belt. You’re not going to tie up two weight classes for no reason.”
So not only does Jones not agree with the idea that the sanctioning bodies are ruining the sport of boxing, but he also does not believe Mayweather is being fair to them by complaining about them.
“So he’s complaining about them when they looked out for him? He’s crazy!” Jones said.
For Jones, and many other boxing champs yesterday, today and tomorrow, title belts are important.
“Why not [fight for a belt]? What else are you fighting for?”
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