Veteran four division world champion, Roy Jones Jr. (55-8, 40 KOs) is due to step into the ring this Saturday at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland. However, he's not quite sure yet whether he'll be facing light heavyweight fringe contender, Dawid Kostecki (39-1, 25 KOs) or lesser replacement, Pawel Glazewski (17-0, 4 KOs).
Kostecki, who would be the favorite coming into a Jones bout, currently sits in a jail cell awaiting word on whether his charge of running a prostitution ring will keep him from taking part in the biggest bout of his eleven-year career.
For the 43-year-old Jones, though, the opponent seems to matter little. The former pound for pound great is looking for a paycheck and, more and more, has shown a willingness participate in these traveling circus road shows in exchange for a taste of headlining glory.
To put things into perspective, Jones has not won a major bout since decisioning Antonio Tarver in their 2003 first meeting. Since then, the Pensacola native has gone 6-7 in thirteen bouts with four of those losses coming via ugly, chilling knockout (vs. Tarver, Glen Johnson, Danny Green, and Denis Lebedev).
The fighter who once reigned supreme over everyone from 160 lbs. to 175 lbs. is now a well-paid journeyman and a target for every fringe contender with enough drawing power to ensure a decent payday.
Much like the old time baseball stars who would play exhibition games for the amusement of curious fans, Jones is now more oddity, curiosity than viable world class fighter. In the case of the baseball players, though, they were never faced with a Roger Clemens fastball or never had to pitch to Albert Pujols. However, Jones is often still getting in the ring with prime, world class fighters-- Something that turns a cringe-worthy exhibition into something potentially deadly.
For this Saturday's show in Poland, Jones is bringing 40-year-old former lightweight champ Nate Campbell and the 42-year-old three-time former world heavyweight title challenger, Jameel McCline, to the traveling sideshow.
As long as these fighters can pass their physicals and are facing relatively harmless opposition, it's hard to deny them a payday. But at 40+ years of age and with no legitimate chance of ever beating a world class star again, these veterans should be willing to walk away from the sport on their own terms and with all of their faculties intact.
Jones, especially, who was once king of the boxing world, should be willing to realize when enough is enough. His fights have become sad eulogies at this point and are edging ever closer to becoming tragedies.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Tim Harrison, The Walking Dead: Roy Jones Jr. Forges on in Poland, The Boxing Tribune