Quijano: How to sully a legacy

LAST month, with little fanfare and hardly any media attention, one of the greatest fighters of our generation announced his retirement.

There was an article I read in the Miami Herald that described Roy Jones (66-9, 47KOs) as “the best Florida fighter in boxing history”, which I found a bit disingenuous.

My, how the mighty have fallen. Once considered in the same argument as the immortal greats like Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard, should he be remembered now as just the best Florida fighter in history?

LEGACY. Consider what he has achieved. He turned pro as a junior middleweight and went on to become the heavyweight champion of the world, a feat never done before.

He is a six-time world champion in four different weight classes. He was voted the Boxer of the Decade in the 1990s. He has beaten the legends like Bernard Hopkins and James Toney and defeated numerous world champions like Vinny Pazienza, Virgil Hill and Montel Griffin.

But to me, more than anything else, it was the way he carried himself during a fight when he was at his peak that made him so great. He had the fastest hands in all of boxing and prodigious power in both hands. He had exceptional athleticism that allowed him to toy with opponents and experiment with them.

Once, he played in an organized professional basketball game in the afternoon of a championship fight. In his fight against Glen Kelly, he placed his hands behind his back before delivering the knockout blow, explaining later that he was mimicking a fighting move from his pet roosters.

But we all knew what happened to him. After suffering from his first knockout loss at the hands of bitter rival Antonio Tarver, it all went downhill from there. He suffered knockouts against the likes of Enzo Maccarinelli and Dennis Lebedev.

He continued fighting at an advanced age and became a globe-trotting journeyman, fighting in Moscow, Australia, Poland and Latvia. At times it turned bizarre when he actually fought a fan who was slated to win a prize money of $100,000 if he beat Jones.

The question really is this: How badly can you sully a legacy that people remember you now for what you have done at your worst than at your best?

So to all of you fighters out there who are better off going quietly into the night, consider what has happened to Roy Jones Jr. before you decide if it’s worth lacing up those gloves again.

VERBATIM. “I’m going to expose him. He doesn’t move as well as I do.” -Joseph Parker on Anthony Joshua (www.mirror.co.uk)

LAST ROUND. It’s on my brother from another mother, Edge Genosa, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!


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