FanDuel - WFBC

May 16, 2004

A single punch and 15 years of dominance crumbled.

Antonio Tarver
crushed Roy Jones Jr. with a left hand, flooring the champ and earning a TKO victory at 1:41 of Round 2.

posted by justgary to boxing at 01:50 AM - 16 comments

Wow, wow, wow. If it wasn't for the fact that the reports described the punch as a punishing shot that knocked Jones clean out, and that he had to crawl back to the center of the ring before he could get up, I would think the fix was in. It obviously hurt Jones both mentally and physically to have gotten so big (199 lbs at one point) then have to come back down to 175 to fight. Tarver is 35 years old, so you can't really say age is a factor. This is one of those things, like Douglas beating Tyson (though Tarver is clearly a tough fighter) but I would think there has to be a rubber match now. Who wants to bother seeing Jones fight heavyweights if he's lost his skills at 175? What are the odds a SpoFier saw the fight and can give a report? Thanks for posting this justgary.

posted by vito90 at 10:57 AM on May 16

I wanted to see Jones humbled as much as the next guy, but I have a few reasons why I don't agree Tarver crushed Jones. It was a good but lucky punch. 1) Jones was working him in the first round, although throwing lead rights was a bit arrogant. 2) Jones thought he caught him with a right, so did I, and then got caught with the Tarver Left hook. 3) Jones was up for the 10count, he could have ran out of the round I think. 4) I would have prefered Tarver to be beating him and then set him up for this for true dominance to be trumpeted. I don't think Tarver had landed anything untill this punch. 5) Tarver is a South paw, to me, it's an unfair advantage. I think a rubber match is in order, although I find watching Lefty's uncomfortable.

posted by kremb at 02:05 PM on May 16

The more I watch boxing the more it seems like skills don't just deteriorate - they disappear. I would never have thought that he would lose to Tarver if properly motivated -but he got smacked. Definetly surprising power.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:32 PM on May 16

Kremb good analysis. The only thing I disagree with is the "un" in front of fair. You're entitled to use whatever legal advantages you have. Being lefty, having more reach, being smarter, if that's what makes you better then power to you.

posted by vito90 at 12:17 AM on May 17

Tarver is 35 years old, so you can't really say age is a factor. True, but Jones has many more fights under his belt. I wanted to see Jones humbled as much as the next guy name dropper/ I graduated the same year as jones, in the same town. He jogged daily through my neighborhood and we played street and intramural basketball against each other many times. He was always very nice, polite, and much more quiet than what you see on the tv. From Ali to Tarver now, that's just boxing. /name dropper That said, I'm a huge fan of Jones, and I've thought he was the best pound for pound figher I'd ever seen. So I was pretty much in awe when I heard what happened. I would think there has to be a rubber match now. Who wants to bother seeing Jones fight heavyweights if he's lost his skills at 175? I completely agree. With his speed eroding, and Tarver knocking him out with one punch, he'd be crazy to take on Tyson, and other than Tyson, who cares about him fighting other heavy weights. Forever, the question has been is Jones so good no one has challenged him, or does he simply look good because he's never fought anyone. I'm always been in the former camp. To me, it wasn't his fault there was no one to challenge him. He can't create worthy opponents. But now he has a chance to show what he's made of, and he doesn't seem all that interested in a rematch. Hopefully he'll change his mind, and I'm betting he does. I would have prefered Tarver to be beating him and then set him up for this for true dominance to be trumpeted. I don't think Tarver had landed anything untill this punch. Sure, it was one punch. But you can't really hold that against tarver. If he punches that hard, or if Jones can't take his punch, its not tarvers fault. The more I watch boxing the more it seems like skills don't just deteriorate - they disappear. I don't think that's the case here, though. There's been rumblings' about Jone's slowing down for a while now. The last time I saw him fight on tape delay it seemed to me his hands and feet were much slower. If that's noticeable with the human eye, it would be glaring in the ring. I haven't seen the punch, but I heard Jones "pulled back" when it was thrown. Boxers are taught to go to the side. Jones never has. I heard Bert Sugar saying that Ali and Jones were the only fighters he ever saw who could get away with pulling back. Looks like Jones might have lost that little bit of speed that allowed him to do those unconventional things. I'm hoping Jones goes back to the drawing board, digs deep, and gives it one more shot. If he could turn it around and take the third fight he'd have the respect he's craved for all those years. To realize that the skills have deminished and to adapt and conquer could put the exclamation point on his career.

posted by justgary at 12:22 AM on May 17

I uploaded the knockout if anyone's interested. It's a bad angle and kind of big but here it is. (right click/save as)

posted by justgary at 01:22 AM on May 17

This from a boxing non-fan: Why would you consider being left-handed an unfair advantage? Shouldn't a well-trained boxer be able to deal with lefties as easily as righties?

posted by deadcowdan at 09:31 AM on May 17

I thought he got up before the 10-count too. justgary's clip doesn't really show the punch too well, but I thought he was back on his feet in reasonable time.

posted by Succa at 01:38 PM on May 17

I thought he got up before the 10-count too I agree, but he still looked mighty shaky. If you wobble at all in today's boxing world, they'll call it. Why would you consider being left-handed an unfair advantage? You're correct. It can be an advantage, but not unfair.

posted by justgary at 01:53 PM on May 17

but why is it an advantage?

posted by goddam at 02:00 PM on May 17

This is an interesting read. There are boxing "boxing" reasons, but I don't feel I have enough of a grasp on them to do them justice. One of the main reason, and a simple one, is that most people are right handers. Most boxers are right handers. So to face a left hander can throw a fighter off, though I'm sure Jones sparred with south paws before the Tarver fight. In the end, its just part of the equation, and not why Jones lost the fight.

posted by justgary at 02:26 PM on May 17

I can't speak specifically for boxing, goddam and dcdan, but as someone who grew up taking about 7 years of Tae Kwan Do, I can say that sparring against someone who was a lefty is a little odd. The main reason is that your normal stance will be with your dominant side's foot behind and to the side of your non-dominant side. This serves as A) typically better balance (in TKD, you're taught to keep the majority of your weight on your rear leg) B) a better/more opportunities to use your more gifted side for larger hits (more room to build up momentum). That being the case, since the majority of people in the world are righties, you are more accustomed to people fighting in a stance with their right foot in the rear. In sports like this, where most if not all of your defense is instinct and reflexive, something that takes quite some time to build up and kind of drive into subconscious levels, fighting against lefties kind of throws that off a little bit. YMMV, of course.

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:34 PM on May 17

One difference I've noticed between two righties fighting, and a lefty and a righty going at it is the foot work. While like-handed fighters each have the same foot forward, thus mirroring eachother, fighting a southpaw complicates matters, because foot real estate is much harder to come by. It doesn't sound like much, but power comes from the boxer's stance, so its a pretty big deal. Also, it just makes a righty have to think about one more thing, which can be perilous in the ring. On top of that, lefties are used to fighting righties, meaning fewer adjustments, which is another distinct advantage. (on preview) and what ufez said. btw, justgary, i wish you'd post more often.

posted by garfield at 02:49 PM on May 17

thanks for the info guys.

posted by goddam at 02:56 PM on May 17

I've watched the footage of the knockout in slo-mo about 20 times now, and there's only one word I can come up with. Fluke. Jones comes with a straight that justmisses tagging Tarver square on the face. In the followthrough, Jones is leaning forward, and Tarver comes up to Jones's left. I think Jones might have thought he caught his opponent a better blow, because he's absolutely sloppy, standing there upright with his left out in the hinterlands and the right cocked. As Tarver straightens, Jones thinks, "Well, I know he's a lefty, but he's awkward and maybe hurt, and I have a clear shot to the head. I'm going for it." I have no clue what made Tarver come up throwing that big left hook. He didn't even have his eyes on Jones when he started throwing it, unless he had gauged the target from where Roy's feet were. Instead of Jones clocking Tarver, his hand whips around Tarver's head. Now he's wide open, but damn ... Tarver's punch came from absolute la-la-land. It was either miss and quite possibly get comboed into oblivion, or be the hero and end it all, and that's what Tarver did. There was no freaking way Jones was going to run out the round. He's all shaky legs and pratfalls, and when he just beats the 10 count and the ref waves it off, Jones gives no reaction whatsoever. There is 1:20 or so remaining at the countout. That's two years when you don't know whether you're boxing or baking cookies with Grandmama. This is not to take anything away from Tarver. Jones was out of defensive position, and big (and possibly lucky) shots are a part of the sport. But to say this loss tarnishes the entire career of Jones is ridiculous. I hope they fight again, because I think it would be an excellent match.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:40 PM on May 17

On top of that, lefties are used to fighting righties, meaning fewer adjustments, which is another distinct advantage. Good point. btw, justgary, i wish you'd post more often. Thanks Garfield. I'll talk to my wife about allowing more computer time ;) I've watched the footage of the knockout in slo-mo about 20 times now, and there's only one word I can come up with. Fluke. Did you by chance see their first fight wfrazerjr? I did not, but I heard that many at ring side thought Tarver was robbed. If that's true then it certainly gives Tarver more substance than just a one punch knock out. Regardless, I agree with you that it doesn't tarnish Jones' career. You can only dominate for so long, and he's been at the top of several divisions for a really long time. Still, I don't think he wants to go out this way, and I'm hoping he doesn't.

posted by justgary at 07:56 PM on May 17

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