Take nothing away from Roy Jones Jr.'s win over Jeff Lacy on Saturday night, and I mean that. Just don't put too much stock into it, either.
No, call it what it was: Jones, at 40, still fast enough, still strong enough, still good enough to rout, demoralize and outright embarrass the 32-year old Lacy, a fellow Floridian and one-time member of boxing's elite. That distinction has turned out to be a fabrication that was ended by Joe Calzaghe three years ago, and has now been completely stamped for delivery into oblivion by the ancient "Captain Hook," a nickname Jones gave himself in order to promote this latest second-rate pay-per-view attraction.
Should he ride out now, glorious in victory, dominant against an inferior? Maybe, maybe not. Jones has only taken real punishment a few times in his long, Canastota-bound career. Antonio Tarver gave him trouble once, knocked him out early the second time they met, and beat him over the distance in the rubber match. Glen Johnson seemed to beat the last shred of willpower out of Jones years ago, prior even to the third Tarver bout. And Calzaghe took Jones back to school last November in a one-sided beatdown that featured Jones' first real cut.
Will Jones ride out? Of course he won't.
No, for Jones there is always going to be something out there. Make no mistake about it, Roy Jones has some of the best fans in boxing. He appeals to the diehards, as many of us that are around now came of age as boxing fans during the peak of his powers, when he was an awe-inspiring athlete who did in boxing rings what Michael Jordan might have done in his prime against the collegiate All-Americans. He also has fans on a very local, very heartfelt level. And the older he's gotten, the more his ego has calmed, and the harder he's tried to be a man of the people.
One thing is almost certain, and that's that Jones will next fight Australian Danny Green in the land of Men at Work and Crocodile Dundee late this year. Green won a useless cruiserweight trinket on the "Hook City" undercard, and for Jones it would be a chance to call himself "cruiserweight champion," a claim roughly as bogus as the idea that Jones beating the likes of Lacy means he's "back" in any meaningful way.
Jones can't come "back." He's too old. It's not any knock against him at all. Time takes its toll. As great as we think Bernard Hopkins still is -- and he's great -- he's not at his peak, and he will never be that guy again. Roy stays in peak condition still, trains hard, and seems to truly feel in his bones that he's doing what he should be doing. In that respect, I can hardly do anything but just wish him the best, and hope deep down in my Roy-lovin' heart that maybe, just maybe, he does something really special again.
But my fandom can't interfere with reality. The Lacy fight was another stay-busy affair, and Lacy proved so incompetent that even the puncher's chance I gave him proved to be way, way too big of a stretch. If anyone should be seriously considering a totally new career, it's Lacy, who has not looked good in a single one of his fights since the Calzaghe shellacking. Part of it has to do with injuries that took his best punch, part of it has to do with Calzaghe taking his aggressiveness and hiding it somewhere in Wales, and part of it is just that he was never as good as most thought.
Roy Jones beating Jeff Lacy means no more than Roy Jones beating a bloated Tito Trinidad, Anthony Hanshaw, Prince Badi Ajamu, or a semi-retired Omar Sheika. And he just might beat Green, too. Danny Green is a solid fighter, but limited, and Jones may yet be able to overwhelm him with speed and savvy.
If he does win, then who knows? Maybe he really has something cooking. Maybe he's getting an unbelievable second wind in a profession that barely offers a first breath for most of its competitors.
No, Jones over Lacy doesn't mean much of anything, if anything at all. But Roy's still going, and I'll be damned if he isn't making it last as long as he possibly can.