Roy Jones Jr: The Usual Suspects - Dariusz, Bernard

By Phillip Przybylo

08.02 - Three men. Two proposed fights. One problem: Zero takers. And all is normal in the world of boxing.

For years, the divisions from middleweight to light heavyweight were a barren wasteland, lightly sprinkled with a few name fighters and no enticing fights. Judging by the sport's section pages in America, one could assume that there was only Oscar De la Hoya's weight class, and then, the heavyweights. Heads and opinions are turning around, though. From the captivating middleweight tournament to last week's performances by two of the greatest, the public is starting to demand specific fights from talented members of these weight classes. Unfortunately, the fighters refuse to make like Henry Clay and compromise to make these fights happen.

Dariusz's Chances

Roy Jones, Jr., to be public enemy number one, and Dariusz Michalczewski has been trying to hunt him down for about the last three years. The reigning WBO light heavyweight champion has taken on Roy's sloppy seconds, has called him out routinely, and has remained undefeated for a decade in his quest to face off with Mr. Jones. But this nothing new.

What is new is Michalczewski's newly found confidence that a proposed fight would take place between the two stalwarts of the division. "I'm confident that before the end of the year Jones and me will meet inside the ring," stated Dariusz ( Dariusz Michalczewski welcomes Roy Jones´ willingness for showdown ). Other than the fact that this is basically a rerun of their 2000 and 2001 negotiations, sure, it can happen.

Dariusz's chances to square off with Roy are no different from the last two years. Roy did a half-serious interview with random shout out's to his supporters. One statement ("I'm going to go to HBO Monday and say HBO give me some money and let me go ahead to Germany and make this thing happen with Dariusz Michalczewski, if he wants some") does not a fight make. One cannot negotiate a fight through public statements and press releases, as they have essentially been doing in this degenerating pattern. Both of them are not willing enough to make minor sacrifices for their place in history, which is sad. Even sadder considering that, in this scribe's opinion, it's there for Roy: He could cruise to victory via a lopsided decision.

Hopkins and Jones More Intriguing Anyway

On February 2nd, Jones and Bernard Hopkins fought in a doubleheader on the premium cable network, HBO. Bernard thoroughly outclassed and flat-out whipped IBF no. 1 contender Carl Daniels; and likewise, Roy did so with Australian Glen Kelly. To look at their performances last Saturday is looking at two fistic masterpieces. They are the Van Gogh and Monet of boxing.

First, in Reading, PA, USA, "The Executioner" pounded Daniels for ten rounds, forcing the challenger to quit on his stool (and no one could blame him). Absolutely everything was working for Bernard except the definitive knockout blow. From straight rights, to demoralizing left hooks to the body, and onto blistering combinations, the undisputed middleweight champion had it going on. He had a fairly immobile target, but he still looked like a smaller version of Roy Jones out there, which is scary for a man of 37 years.

In Miami, FL, USA, Roy Jones, Jr., knocked out his challenger in one of the better one-man "performances" of this era. In control since the ink dried on the contract, the unified light heavyweight champion hit Kelly with anything he wanted, including the oldest trick in the book: the old "look, ma, no hands punch." Surprisingly, Jones's right hand from behind his back stopped Kelly completely in the seventh. Afterward, a motivated Roy brought up his version of a deal to set up a superfight with Hopkins (for the second time that night).

60-40 a Bogus Deal

Jones's proposed plan would make him the beneficiary of a 60%-40% split of the purse between himself and "The Executioner." His unique, yet unfair, proposal is just as unattractive as the deal offered last year (if Bernard won the rematch, he would have to take a smaller payday than Jones in a rubber match).

One does not offer the first or second best fighter in the world a 40% share of a purse. One does not offer one of the greatest middleweights of all time who had just broken Carlos Monzon's record of fourteen title defenses 40%. That is just not the way business is done.

Even though Bernard has not fought as many "names" as past legends have, he has fought tough fighters. Ironically, him and Jones share similar traits when it comes to their championship reigns. They have never been in extreme danger in their multiple defenses. They have faced very underrated competition, as the successes of Eric Harding and Antwon Echols have shown, and to a lesser extent, the recent comebacks of David Telesco and Syd Vanderpol.

Jones can play "the name game" all he wants to support his 60-40 deal, but he has not faced a true "name" since Virgil Hill almost four years ago. In this "what have you done for me lately" sport, Roy's record is not that star-studded. On the other hand, Felix Trinidad, a future hall of famer, was systematically destroyed by Hopkins a little over four months ago.

Does Roy's win over Bernard in 1993 play a legitimate factor in negotiations? Yes. Does it entitle Roy to a 60-40 split? No. Sadly, there seems to be a stalemate as far as any negotiations go because of Roy's proposal.

The middleweight king wants a 50-50 share of the purse, which is not all that unreasonable. Roy's win and perseverance in the limelight should grant him anything between 51 and 55 percent. Although no one sees it that way. If there was ever a time where Bernard needed advisor Lou DiBella, it is now.

What a Superfight It Would Make

Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins are the two best boxers in the world. Through lengthy title reigns and apparently awesome skills, these two are head and shoulders above the rest. That much is known. What is largely overlooked is the fighters' intelligence. These men are also the two smartest men inside the ring. They never lose because they always have a game plan, and have alternate routes to achieve success in case there is a roadblock in the way. For everything their opponents do, each of them has an A+ answer. Even at their advanced ages, this could be another Ali-Frazier or Hagler-Hearns.

A fight between the two could generate enough money to have a $20 million pot to split between the two. Roy has failed in past attempts in the pay-per-view market, but he has never faced the likes of another true champion that has a chance at challenging him like Hopkins does. And when Hopkins beat Trinidad, the fight produced nearly half a million buys for the fight. A fight with a known American superstar like Roy Jones may hit the 3/4 mark or more. With that much money, a possible but unheard of solution would be to have each fighter take $8 million and the winner could take $4 million (the final twenty percent)


What could be is not necessarily what will be, though. We have been playing these games for years with Dariusz, Roy, and Bernard. These distinguished fighters are trying to leverage their way into the driver's seat for the bigger payday. Instead, if they keep it up, they will leverage their way out of any payday. And the world of boxing will suffer for it.



Bookmark and Share


If you detect any issues with the legality of this site, problems are always unintentional and will be corrected with notification.
The views and opinions of all writers expressed on do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Management.
Copyright © 2001- 2015 East Side - Privacy Policy