Boxing

Roy Jones's SA gym is no one-hit wonder

02 September 2018 - 00:00 By DAVID ISAACSON


Old foes Roy Jones Jr and Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga came face to face in Johannesburg this week for the first time since their 1993 ring battle.
Jones's sixth-round stoppage victory over the South African didn't go down as one of his most famous contests, but he was reminded of it moments after touching down in SA this week.
"I got recognised by a guy at the airport: 'I remember that left uppercut that you hit Thulani Malinga with.' I said 'yeah'."
The pair hugged when they met up at the launch of a new gym in Craighall, Johannesburg, where Jones's name appears alongside that of his SA partner, Jodi Solomon.
Jones, who has two gyms of his own in the US, recalled how he penetrated Malinga's awkward defence. "What people don't understand... I threw a lot of decoys.
"You never knew what was loaded and what wasn't. I threw so many decoys, so one of the [punches] he thought was a decoy was loaded, and that's how I caught him.
"That's how I put everybody down," he added, with a chuckle.
Jones nearly fought another SA boxer, then WBO heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders, in 2003, but it never materialised. Jones, who held the WBA heavyweight title at the time, believes he would have beaten the hard-hitting southpaw, the conqueror of Wladimir Klitschko.
"I was so quick. I'm too good on my feet... at that time I was still a beast in the ring."
Jones rates himself as boxing's second- best of all time, behind Muhammad Ali, pointing out he was the only man to have started out at junior-middleweight and won world titles in four divisions, ending at heavyweight.
Next on his rankings come Salvador Sánchez of Mexico and then the two Sugar Rays, Robinson and Leonard.
There's no room for Floyd Mayweather in his top five. "Floyd lost rounds to people in his prime. I didn't lose rounds in my prime.
"I like Floyd, he's a great fighter, but it would take God to tell me that he would beat Leonard, because Leonard was a dog. I never seen Floyd have to fight like that."
Jones insists he's in business with Solomon for the long haul. The plan is to visit at least once a year for clinics, while providing local boxers a platform in the US. This was not a one-hit wonder like Mayweather's 2013 trip here.
"What I'd like to see, and you can write this too," he said, tapping me on the arm, "the government officials spent so much money bringing Floyd Mayweather over here, but nothing materialised.
"Take the same type of money and put it behind what we're doing and watch what happens... It's something that's for real."
He added that he and Solomon share a common philosophy. "She's a lady in a man's business, she has super-exceeded the limitations that were put on her. She knows how to go outside the box to get what she gotta get.
"Those are the type of people I believe in. I couldn't find a better partner."

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