At one point in his career, he was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the post of boxing, but on Saturday (May 21), Roy Jones Jr. was KO’d.
Fans and critics questioned whether the boxer, now 42, should should hang up his gloves and retire.
Jones was knocked out in the final round of a non-title cruiserweight fight in Moscow against Denis Lebedev, handing the former boxing great his third consecutive defeat.
With seconds remaining in the 10th round, Lebedev landed four fierce lefts on Jones, as he leaned on the ropes. After the final blow, Jones covered with his gloves and hunched over, as to say he had enough. Immediately after the referee stepped in to stop the fight, Jones fell deadweight to the canvas.
While most expected a much quicker demise, Jones managed to show some of the counterattacking and footwork that made him such an exciting fighter at the peak of his career. But in the end, Jones couldn’t withstand the final onslaught from the Russian, who is ranked the world’s top cruiserweight.
Jones’ record fell to 54-8, while Lebedev improved to 22-1.
“It was a great shot, I can’t take nothing away from him,” Jones said about the final punch. “He was a tough competitor.”
For Jones, the bout was an attempt to salvage some glory in the twilight of his career, after two upsetting loses — his recent against Bernard Hopkins in April 2010 (losing in a unanimous decision) and a TKO loss to Australian Danny Green a year prior.
As of press time, Jones was unsure of his future in boxing.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to do now,” Jones said. “I’m going to think about it.”
While Jones was being KO’d in Australia, his long time rival, Bernard Hopkins, was making history in Montreal, Canada.
At 46-year-old, “The Executioner” became the oldest fighter to win a major world championship, taking the World Boxing Council light heavyweight title from Jean Pascal on Saturday night in a unanimous decision.
“I didn’t feel like I was 46 tonight. I felt closer to 36,” Hopkins said in the post-fight interview. “I can say I am a great fighter. It was exciting. I think everybody enjoyed themselves.
“It feels great. I set out to do exactly what I wanted to do, which was to break this record. I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I wasn’t going to be denied.”
The boxer, who improved to 52-5-2, broke the age record set by George Foreman, who was 45 when he KO’d Michael Moorer in a heavyweight title bout in 1994.
Before a sellout crowd of 17,560, Hopkins took the fight with the scores, 116-112, 115-113 and 115-114, which erases highly controversial draw both fighters received last December, which many — including Hopkins — believed he clearly won.
In addition to this record-setting win, Hopkins’ history-making accomplishments include a record 20 middleweight title defenses, knocking out Felix Trinidad to become the undisputed champion at 160 pounds, and winning the lineal light heavyweight title for the first time by upsetting Antonio Tarver in 2006, among other huge wins.