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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Roy Jones Jr.

Posted on February 4 2015                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.

Roy Jones Jr. is without a doubt one of the most talented and accomplished fighters to not only hold a WBF World title, but to lace on a pair of gloves, period. Going through his amazing career in great detail would be extremely time-consuming, but even the highlights in short makes for compelling reading.


Still active today, at 46 years of age, Roy Levesta Jones Jr. grew up in Pensacola, Florida where he started boxing and had his first bout at ten. He was reportedly outweighed by 69 Lbs. (31 Kg´s) in that first outing, but never-the-less gave his bigger opponent a thorough beating.

Between 1979 and 1989 he defeated 121 of 134 amateur opponents, and won several Golden Gloves championships. He should have been crowned the 1988 Olympic Champion in Seoul, South Korea, but was blatantly robbed (3-2) in the final against local boxer Park Si-Hun after out-landing his foe by wide margins in all three rounds.

After what was one of the most corrupt decisions in Olympic history, Jones was awarded the Val Barker trophy as the best boxer of the games, an honor normally bestowed on a gold medalist. He then decided it was time to set his sights on a professional career.

His first paid bout took place on May 6 1989 at the Pensacola Civic Center, in front of family and friends, and was unusually scheduled for eight rounds, as opposed to the more common four round distance for a debutant.

But it was never going to last that long, as the lightning-quick Jones floored New Orleans journeyman Ricky “Junkyard Dog” Randall (6-15) three times before referee Mike Boggs had seen enough in round two.

In his next two fights, both televised by NBC, he was made to work harder for his pay-check, as Stephan Johnson (9-2) and Ron Amundsen (16-1-1), a four-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, was stopped in eight and seven rounds respectively.

But from that point on, only a few opponents would make it through more than three rounds with Jones, as he mowed down good boxers such as former WBC world champion Jorge Vaca (48-9-1), who was knocked out in the first, Glenn Thomas (24-0), who was stopped in eight, Percy Harris (15-3), destroyed in four, and Glenn Wolfe (28-3-1), halted by a body-shot in round one.

After twenty-one professional fights, Roy Jones Jr. had barely lost a round, and only Argentinean Jorge Fernando Castro (70-3-2), who would go on to win the WBA World Middleweight title and make five defenses, had managed to last the distance.

Four years after his pro debut, Jones was ranked number two by the IBF, and was matched with number one-ranked Bernard Hopkins (22-1) for that organizations World Middleweight crown, left vacant when James Toney beat Iran Barkley for the Super Middleweight title three months earlier.

In front of 8500 spectators at the RFK Stadium in Washington D.C., and TV viewers watching Live on HBO, Jones won a unanimous decision (116-112 on all three cards) over fellow future hall-of-famer Hopkins, to lift what would be his first of many world championships.

One defense of the IBF Middleweight title followed, a second round demolition of number-one contender Thomas Tate (29-2), before Jones moved up in weight to challenge the aforementioned IBF Super Middleweight Champion James Toney (44-0-2) in a true super-fight.

On November 18 1994 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in a Pay-Per-View extravaganza billed as “The Uncivil War”, Jones entered the ring as a 6-5 underdog against Toney, who was ranked second in the Ring Magazine Pound-For-Pound rankings, while Jones was ranked third.

But the fight was never close, and Jones put on a scintillating performance, even knocking Toney down with a left hook in round three, to win almost every round (119-108, 118-109, 117-110). If the Hopkins fight had not been the coming-out party of RJJ, now a two-division world champion, the Toney white-wash definitely was.

Jones made five defenses of his world super middleweight title, stopping Antoine Byrd (26-4-1), Vinny Pazienza (40-5), Tony Thornton (37-6-1), Eric Lucas (19-2-2) and Bryant Brannon (16-0), and then moved up to light heavyweight in November 1996 to lift the WBC world title against Mike McCallum (49-3-1).

He suffered his first loss in March 1997, by disqualification when he hit Montell Griffin (26-0) while he was down, but revenged the defeat, and reclaimed the WBC title, by first round knockout in an immediate rematch before the end of the year.

In 1998 he added the WBA world title with a unanimous decision over Lou Del Valle (27-1), and made two defenses, against Otis Grant (31-1-1) and Richard Frazier (18-3-1), before acquiring the IBF version with a landslide decision over Reggie Johnson (39-5-1) in June of 1999.

David Telesco (23-2) and Richard Hall (24-1) were fended off in defenses of the WBC, WBA and IBF belts, before the IBO title was included in the collection in September 2000 with a tenth round stoppage of Eric Harding (19-0-1), and all four titles were retained against Derrick Harmon (20-1) five months later.


On July 28 2001, on another Pay-Per-View show promoted by Top Rank, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jones squared off with undefeated Mexican-American Julio Gonzalez (27-0) with the vacant WBF World Light Heavyweight title on the line.

More than 20.000 spectators watched as The Pride of Pensacola put on another clinic, and knocked Gonzalez down in rounds one, five and twelve, before being awarded a clear unanimous decision by scores of 119-106, 119-106 and 118-107.

Probably the only boxer in history to hold six world titles in the same weight class at the same time (the vacant IBA title was also on the line against Gonzalez), Roy Jones Jr. had already established himself as the best fighter in the sport. But he was determined to build even further on his legacy.

In 2002 he twice defended his WBF World crown, along with his five other titles, stopping Glen Kelly (28-0-1) and Clinton Woods (32-1) in impressive fashion, but 2003 would be the year where he added yet another chapter to the history books.

Weighing only 193 Lbs. (87,5 Kg.), he out-boxed defending WBA champion John Ruiz (38-4-1), who hit the scales at 226 Lbs. (102,5 Kg.), to become the first former Middleweight titlist to win a world Heavyweight title since Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897.

Many would say that Jones, 34 years of age at the time, should have called it a day after the Ruiz fight, and rode into the sunset as the WBA World Heavyweight Champion. Possible blockbusters against Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield were mentioned, but never materialized.

Instead he moved back down to Light Heavyweight, where he barely got by Antonio Tarver (21-1) by majority decision in November of 2003, before things started going bad for him.

In 2004 and 2005 he lost three straight fights, first by stunning knockout to Tarver in a rematch, then he was stopped by Glen Johnson (40-9-2), and then Tarver won the rubber-match on points.

It was speculated that the move up to Heavyweight and move back down to Light Heavyweight more or less ruined Jones, and few expected him to ever be any kind of force in the sport again.

But he rebounded surprisingly well, defeating Prince Badi Ajamu (25-2-1) and Anthony Hanshaw (21-0-1), and fellow legend Felix Trinidad (42-2) in front of 12.000 fans at Madison Square Garden in a fight that generated more than 500.000 buys on US Pay-Per-View.

In November of 2008, the Trinidad show-down proving he was still very much relevant, Jones was again taking part in a so-called super-fight, when he returned to Madison Square Garden and fought undefeated former Super Middleweight world champion Joe Calzaghe (45-0).

Despite being past his prime, Jones scored a knock-down in round one, but couldn’t capitalize on the good start and lost a clear unanimous decision to the Welshman.

Following the Calzaghe fight its been very much up and down for Jones. He stopped Omar Sheika (27-8) and Jeff Lacy (25-2) in 2009, and then got beat by Danny Green (27-3) in Australia, Bernard Hopkins (50-5-1) in a long overdue rematch, and Denis Lebedev (21-1) in Russia.

But since then he has racked up five straight victories, defeating Max Alexander (14-5-2), Pawel Glazewski (17-0), Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf (17-3-1), Courtney Frey (18-5) and Hany Atiyo (14-2), and claims he is still in the sport to win a world title at Cruiserweight.

Having won world championships at Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight, his current record stands at 59-8 (42).

Closer to fifty than forty years of age, it looks very hard for the boxer they once called “Superman”, but stranger things have happened than Roy Jones Jr. also winning a genuine Cruiserweight world championship before finally hanging up his gloves.

  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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