Roy Levesta Jones Jr.(born January 16, 1969) is an American Professional boxer, boxing commentator, boxing trainer, rapper, and actor who holds dual American and Russian citizenship. He is a former six time, four weight world champion, having held titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight, and is the only boxer in history to start his professional career as a light middleweight and go on to win a heavyweight title. As an amateur he represented the United States at the 1988 Summer Olympics, winning a silver medal in the light middleweight division.
Jones, who is considered by many to be one of the best boxers of all time, pound for pound, left his mark in the sport’s history when he won the WBA heavyweight title in 2003, becoming the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 106 years. He also became the undisputed light heavyweight champion in 1999, by unifying the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. During his prime, Jones was known for possessing exceptional hand speed, athleticism, movement and reflexes.
The Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) named Jones as the Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s. He was also named Fighter of the year for 2003 by the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and is a three time winner of the Best Boxer ESPY Award (1996, 2000, and 2003).
On turning professional, he had already sparred with many professional boxers, including NABF Champion Ronnie Essett, IBF Champion Lindell Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard. Jones began as a professional on May 6, 1989, knocking out Ricky Randall in two rounds in Pensacola at the Bayfront Auditorium. For his next fight, he faced the more experienced Stephan Johnson in Atlantic City, beating him by a knockout in round eight.
Super Middleweight title
Roy Jones vs James Toney
On November 18, 1994, Jones was set to face undefeated IBF Super Middleweight Champion James Toney, who was ranked highly in the “pound for pound” ranking. Toney was undefeated after 46 bouts and was rated the best in the world at 168 lbs. Billed as “The Uncivil War”, Toney vs Jones was heavily hyped and on PPV. Jones, for the first time in his career, was the underdog.
Over the course of the 12 round unanimous decision, Jones demonstrated his greatness. He danced circles around Toney, utilizing his speed and athleticism to dictate the action, and landing quick combinations whenever Toney pressured him. Jones scored a flash knockdown in the third round with a leaping left hook after goading Toney by imitating a fighting cock. Ring magazine called Jones’ performance the most dominant of any big fight in 20 years. Jones landed 285 of 614 punches (46%) and Toney connected on 157 of 451 (35%). Jones was ahead on all three judges scorecards (117-110, 119-108, & 118-109). The fight generated 300,000 pay-per-view buys.
In 1995, Jones defended his super middleweight title successfully multiple times. He began the year by knocking out IBF #1 Antoine Byrd in round one. This was the first time a championship fight took place at Pensacola. In a fight billed as ‘The Devil & Mr. Jones’, he faced former IBF Lightweight Champion Vinny Pazienza and defeated him in round six, after knocking down Pazienza three times. In the fourth round, Jones became the first fighter in CombuBox history to go an entire round without being hit by his opponent. Pazienza was credited with throwing five punches and landing zero. Pazienza was guaranteed $1.35 million, while Jones, who worked off percentages of the gate and the pay-per-view revenue, was guaranteed at least $2 million. Jones then beat Tony Thornton in round two by KO three months later.