-- So who's next? Any of New York's Bravest around 175 pounds?
Let's get something straight: One, Roy Jones Jr. is a charitable guy, and two, many New York City policemen deserve to make $400,000 in one night.
|Roy Jones Jr. fights Rick Frazier on Saturday in Pensacola, Fla.|
Is this the career of the best fighter in the world pound for pound, or the Civil Servant of the Month Club?
Again, some perspective: It's good to keep your day job if you don't have the talent to win a pro title. And ranked fighters who work every day while training are an inspiration in an age of spoiled, tunnel-visioned athletes.
Hey, my father was a cop. Had he any idea he could get a shot at Bob Foster or Dick Tiger while working the 108 (pronounced "one-oh-eight"), maybe he would've laced them up. Detective Charles Kenny and all his little Kennys could've used the extra dough to renovate the garage-room in Levittown.
The other side of all this is wasted talent. Roy Jones will be 30 years old on Jan. 16. He is not long for the sport and is bright enough to move onto other endeavors when he retires. So why does he waste his athletic prime chasing guys who hope to survive long enough for HBO to get a rating?
Frazier, 37, enters the fight with a record of 17-3-1. He was knocked out in the fourth round by William Guthrie back in 1995. Guthrie was later knocked out by Reggie Johnson, the current IBF champion, who isn't getting this type of shot at the big time.
For the record, here's a quick list of guys more deserving of a fight with Jones. If he flattens them, he can retire knowing he did all he could within his natural weight range.
1. Dariusz Michalczewski
Title: WBO light heavyweight
Was also WBA champ in this weight class. Roy's weight class, by the way.
2. Graciano Rocchigiani
Title: Interim WBC light heavyweight
Fought Michalczewski to a draw. He doesn't have the best resum?, but Michael Nunn was next for Jones at one point, and it was Rocchigiani who then decisioned Nunn.
3. Arthur Williams
Title: IBF cruiserweight
There are no marketable names in this division, but Williams is as good as any. Big puncher, not especially mobile. He could use a payday, too.
4. Fabrice Tiozzo
Title: WBA cruiserweight
His only loss was to Virgil Hill five years ago.
5. Evander Holyfield
Titles: IBF, WBA heavyweight
I agree with Jones here. No tune-ups are necessary for a light heavyweight champ. His career earns him a shot at Holyfield right away.
I'm glad for Frazier. His bills will get paid a lot quicker this year. Just go into the fight knowing what it really is, another HBO exhibition.
On the Jones undercard is "Sugar" Shane Mosley. With five wins in '98, Mosley already vied for Fighter of the Year honors with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Fighting Golden Johnson, Mosley jumps back into another legitimate title defense. Johnson isn't a mainstream star, but even coming off a loss, he's still a decent fighter worthy of a title shot. Pito Cardona edged Johnson in a split decision in October (as shown on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights).
Cardona had a date with Mosley the following month, but opted to step aside after warring with Johnson. According to HBO execs, Cardona, the No. 1 IBF contender, is still reluctant to take the mandatory shot he has coming. Johnson, who lost a close split decision to Cardona, steps in. Good choice.
Mosley, unlike Jones, has big money opponents all around him -- Ivan Robinson, Stevie Johnston, and eventually Floyd Mayweather (lots of money for both Mosley and Mayweather, and it would be worth it).
Botha scouting report
So you're asking, "Should I bother watching the Tyson fight?" That depends on how much $40 means to you.
Frans Botha, though, is a legitimate contender. His best win came against Axel Schulz. It was a split decision, one later reversed when Botha tested positive for steroids (Botha maintains it was prescription medication).
The closest he's come to an opponent close to Mike Tyson's level was on the undercard of Tyson-Holyfield I. Facing Michael Moorer in November of 1996, Botha showed both why he deserves to be in the ring with Iron Mike, and why the Tyson camp would go after him in a comeback fight.
Facing a slick southpaw, Botha was unafraid to throw the right hand. He has a quick right hand and relies heavily on a powerful, fully leveraged right uppercut. His combinations are not fluid. He was hit early and often by Moorer, and rarely, if ever, moves his head after throwing the right hand. He also likes to step in with a lead right uppercut. He also has a habit of moving straight back after being hit. All this means big trouble for the South African on Jan. 16.
At this point in his career, Tyson is not the boxer Moorer was that night. Moorer, for all his faults, has a beautiful jab and is capable of putting together dazzling combinations. None of them, though, carry the weight and velocity of Tyson's. Botha was able to last until the 12th round because of his will to survive and his ability to hold off Moorer with his powerful arms. That will not be enough to stop a crisp Tyson.
What was also exhibited that night, however, was a strong will to fight. Rocked by Moorer in the third, ninth, 10th and 11th rounds, Botha continued to fight back -- and with winning in mind. He wasn't knocked down until the end of the 11th, and was stopped on his feet by an astute Mills Lane in the opening seconds of Round 12.
It's conceivable that Botha could survive the early rounds, frustrate Tyson, and wrestle with the former champ into the late rounds. A sharp Tyson (sharp even for the '90s Tyson) will more than likely stun Botha early. When that happens, his volition will be unable to compensate for his poor habits. More on Tyson-Botha in future columns.