Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Onetime boxing superstar to fight in Philly

(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Wearing a dark sport coat and a checkered shirt, Roy Jones Jr. sat in the back corner of a dimly lit Center City blues club and waited for the news conference to begin.

Just a lone camera and a handful of reporters were on hand last week for the former pound-for-pound best boxer in the world.

He once was a superstar, bright enough to transcend his sport. Jones starred in Hollywood films and graced video-game covers.

But the 44-year-old was in town to announce that he will fight on a weeknight boxing card in December at the 3,500-capacity Northeast Philadelphia Armory.

His opponent on Dec. 4 will be Bobby Gunn, billed as the first bare-knuckle champion since John L. Sullivan. Gunn is 21-5-1 as a traditional boxer, but in 2011 he won the first sanctioned bare-knuckle fight since 1889.

The Armory event's matchmaker, local boxing figure Don Elbaum, declined to say how much the fighters will earn. The 12-round bout will be for the World Boxing Union's vacant cruiserweight title.

Jones (56-8, 40 KOs) announced the fight just four days after his former rival, 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins, defended his light-heavyweight title with an exciting and impressive performance in Atlantic City.

Hopkins eyes a multimillion-dollar fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., an opponent Jones said he himself would defeat.

Jones said he does not like Hopkins, before quickly saying he does not like the in-ring tactics he said Hopkins used to earn a unanimous decision in their 2010 rematch.

"In my prime, I did the things that he's getting to do now," Jones said. "In our prime, he couldn't enjoy those things because I was doing them. So now it's his time to do those things, and I let him enjoy them."

Nicknamed "Captain Hook," Jones was robbed of a gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics before he put together a Hall of Fame professional career.

He topped Hopkins, James Toney, Antonio Tarver, and Felix Trinidad and earned a world title at four weight classes. The Boxing Writers Association of America named Jones the fighter of the 1990s.

But his bout with Gunn is not Jones' attempt to get into the ring against Hopkins or Mayweather. Instead, he said, it is a tune-up for a boxing match with mixed martial artist Anderson Silva.

Neither Jones nor Gunn has fought in the last 12 months, and it is unclear if the bout will be televised. Elbaum said TV rights, along with a local promoter, were being worked on.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

Matt Breen Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected