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Jones-Lacy: Be careful what you wish for, Roy

Jones-sheika_medium As you might have read a couple posts down, Roy Jones Jr. says it's a done deal (at least verbally) for a second Square Ring-promoted boxing and MMA card in Florida, headlined again by Jones in a boxing contest, this time against fellow Floridian Jeff Lacy.

I have been quite adamant, even a bit of a harpy, about the fact that Jones is completely shot, washed-up, faded beyond belief, and done as a top-tier fighter. I'm going to start in on it again. Sorry to those that have read it before.

When Jones (53-5, 39 KO) walked through a rusty, spent Omar Sheika at March Badness, it was no surprise. As faded as Roy is, he's going to beat Sheika about 9.5 out of ten times, with only that half-chance coming from the idea that Sheika could land a home run shot. Roy is 40 years old, his reflexes aren't what they used to be, and he looks downright corny playing to his audience against fighters that pose no serious threat to him. Also keep in mind that Jones never hurt Sheika despite battering him pretty well. When the fight was stopped, Sheika was still coming forward. It was an OK stoppage in my book, though, for one simple reason: Who the hell wanted to see that farce continue?

Since Jones was knocked out harshly by Antonio Tarver inside of two rounds in 2004, his career has been a series of beatdowns and shams victories. Glen Johnson manhandled him en route to a ninth round knockout four months after Tarver, and then Roy went back to Antonio for a rubber match. It was the best he's fought since the first loss to Tarver, but he still lost a clear decision.

Wins over Prince Badi Ajamu (who?) and very, very fringe contender Anthony Hanshaw meant nothing, but did land Roy a big fight with blown-up Puerto Rican welterweight legend Tito Trinidad. Roy, who was simply too big to be hurt by anything Trinidad threw his way, marched past him and into a fight with Joe Calzaghe last November.

Calzaghe slaughtered him. A flash knockdown in the first by Roy proved to be but a fleeting moment of hope for the Roy crazies, and you can easily argue it was the only round of the entire fight he won. Calzaghe cut him, busted him up, and took him to school. Yeah, I said it: Roy Jones got taken to boxing school by Joe Calzaghe, and like an old doctor, he found that pretty much everything he used to know was now obsolete, only in Jones' case it was because he physically can't do it like he used to do it.

He's a fighter that lived on ridiculous reflexes, amazing speed, and a great mental taking to the game. He still probably has it upstairs, but the physical doesn't respond right anymore. It can't. He's old.

Jeff-lacy16_medium So now we come to Jones against Jeff Lacy, who recently moved up to 175 pounds with a debated victory over journeyman Otis Griffin.

Lacy, 31, fights like he's Jones' age. Shoulder problems have taken away the left hook that gave him his nickname, and made him for a few brief, shining moments one of the bright spots of American boxing. That all came crashing down when he was demolished by -- hey, guess who? -- Calzaghe in 2006.

Since then, Lacy has gone 4-1. I have not seen the Griffin fight, but it would not surprise me if I did and had the opinion that Jeff didn't win the fight. I didn't think he deserved his wins over Vitali Tsypko (MD-10, 12/06) or Peter Manfredo Jr. (UD-10, 12/07). His fight with rugged vet Epi Mendoza (MD-10, 07/08) was very close.

The last time Lacy was really a factor came in November. One week after Calzaghe whipped Jones, Lacy was taken to the woodshed by Jermain Taylor. But that fight combined with Jones' last several outings leads me to one conclusion: As mediocre as Lacy might be, he is a very dangerous matchup for Roy Jones at this point in Roy's career.

Why? Because Lacy, as much punishment as he took against Taylor and Calzaghe, stayed up. The Calzaghe that beat Lacy was twice the figher Roy is now. Taylor, who can be shaky at times, is a much better fighter than Roy is now. Lacy took all they had to offer. He even had Taylor hurt in the middle rounds of their fight.

He's a strong guy that can put a lot of power into his shots, and Jones might not be able to stay on his feet the way Taylor did when he was rocked. Jones can do that peppering stuff all he wants, but unless he's got another referee in there that's bell-happy, it might not be enough. The pit-pat Jones shots didn't seem to bug Sheika that much other than frustrating him; Lacy is no superstar, but he's in better shape and has been more active than Sheika.

The obvious is, well, obvious: Jones is looking for another win to leap back into yet another "he's back!" fight. One problem is there just might not be a Calzaghe or Trinidad type payday out there. Looking around the surrounding divisions, there's really no one besides fellow middle ager Bernard Hopkins in a rematch that has long since lost its luster. What's he gonna do, call out Manny Pacquiao? Go back up to heavyweight and look for one of the Klitschkos?

The more immediate problem, though? He might not be able to beat Lacy. I think Roy sees this as a fight where he will box his way to an easy victory, and certainly he could do that. He's still quicker than Lacy by a large amount, still a better boxer, and if he stays out of Jeff's wheelhouse, he can pick and peck all night long and take the fight going away. I just have my doubts he can take big shots from Lacy without crumbling.

In its own way, it's an interesting fight. But that way isn't the right one.

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