Jones transforms from hunted to hunter

Martin Rogers
Yahoo! Sports

NEW YORK – Don King could find he is without his favorite companion – noise – when he arrives in Wales over the next few days.

In the wake of Roy Jones Jr.’s comprehensive unanimous decision over Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, King claimed he and his fighter were booked on a private jet bound for Britain in order to issue an official challenge to Joe Calzaghe.

However, while The Don was surrounded by a cacophony of noise, much of it emanating from his vocal chords, he may be greeted by stony silence when he ventures to Cardiff.

If Calzaghe and his promoter Frank Warren have any sense, they will not grab the hopeful bone the Jones camp has tossed out. They simply don’t need to.

While in Wales, Jones might have nothing to do except explore the unlikely possibility he has any ancestral links with the land that did, after all, produce his namesakes Tom and Catherine Zeta.

Whereas once the prospect of a showdown with Junior would have been all Calzaghe wished for, the super middleweight king, due to square off against Bernard Hopkins in April, has moved into a new league while Jones now dines at the last-chance saloon rather than boxing’s top table.

Jones is the needy one, but trying to muscle into the slipstream of the attention surrounding Hopkins vs. Calzaghe is unlikely to elicit a positive response – at least not right now.

“I believe Calzaghe will fight me,” Jones said. “I think he will beat Hopkins and then fight me because he wants the challenge and I represent that challenge.

“He knows what testing himself against me can do for his reputation and how he will be remembered. I think we can make it happen.”

The problem is, Calzaghe is focused upon the April 19 fight that he believes can secure his legacy, and while a match-up with Jones could happen at a later date, it does not figure on his list of immediate priorities.

Similarly, the Welsh public is in no mood to be distracted from the prospect of seeing its man take on Hopkins in Las Vegas, no matter how enthusiastically King unleashes his publicity machine.

So, apart from hoping to talk his way into a Calzaghe contest, what is next for Jones, the man considered by many as the fighter of the 1990s?

“I will fight anybody, any time, anywhere,” Jones said.

At this stage of his career, and battling to restore his credibility and secure some lucrative paydays, of course Jones will. What a shame he didn’t adopt a similar attitude when he was at the peak of his powers.

When bitterness over his controversial Olympic final defeat on the foreign soil of Seoul, South Korea, kept him shackled to home territory. When a bout against Dariusz Michalczewski in Germany would have been a huge draw. Or when Calzaghe was hunting him, rather than the other way around and Hopkins was desperate for a rematch.

Jones could be about to discover what it is like to be denied opportunities by those at the top of the fight game. What a fitting irony.

In any case, does a victory over Trinidad, who was returning to the ring 32 months after being humiliated by Winky Wright, suddenly give him a free pass back into boxing’s upper echelon?

“Yes sir,” said King, trying to convince the world (and maybe himself) that his fighter is still worthy of the "Superman" moniker. “It is a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…..”

Yeah, OK Don, we get the picture. In any case, don’t you have a flight to catch?

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