Former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr., who turns 45 in January and has not fought since June 2012, is getting back into the ring, hoping a victory will lead him to the fight he really wants.
Jones was in Philadelphia on Wednesday at a news conference with Bobby Gunn to announce they will fight Dec. 4 in a scheduled 12-round cruiserweight bout for a minor title at the National Armory.
But while Jones has Gunn in front of him, the reason he took the fight is what he hopes will come next: a showdown with UFC star Anderson Silva, in a boxing match, in the first half of 2014.
"The reason for this fight here with Bobby Gunn is to get myself a bit of a tuneup because I haven't fought in a over a year, and I want to be ready for Anderson Silva in case he beats [Chris] Weidman," Jones told ESPN.com. "Silva has made it clear that if he wins, he wants me next. I'm here for him.
"That's a fight that intrigues a lot of people, but I can't fight Anderson Silva coming off such a long layoff. So I needed to get a fight first. If it wasn't for Anderson Silva calling me out, I wouldn't be fighting this fight."
On July 6, Weidman upset Silva at UFC 162, knocking him out with a left hand in the second round of their middleweight championship fight (185 pounds in UFC). They are scheduled to meet in a rematch Dec. 28 at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"If it weren't for Anderson saying he wanted to fight, it wouldn't make sense for me to be doing this fight," Jones said. "But I'm motivated to beat Gunn so I can fight Silva, and I need to be ready.
"But, hey, he might not win the fight with Weidman. But if he does, people are intrigued by a fight between us. He wants to box. I got to let him scratch his itch."
Jones, who spent a decade regarded as the best boxer in the world, won world titles in four weight classes -- middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
Although Jones (56-8, 40 KOs) has not been a serious contender for several years, he has won his past two fights, albeit against low-level opponents. He outpointed Max Alexander, a former participant on "The Contender" reality series, over 10 rounds in December 2011 in Atlanta. Then Jones traveled to Poland and won a highly debatable split decision in a 10-rounder against Pawel Glazewski in June 2012. Those victories followed three consecutive losses: a first-round knockout loss to Danny Green in Australia, a one-sided decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in their rematch in Las Vegas and a brutal 10th-round knockout to Denis Lebedev, who knocked Jones out cold in Russia.
Many have called for Jones to retire in recent years, but he said he still enjoys fighting.
"People are always saying that [I should retire]," Jones said. "But I love what I do. I love the act of hitting and trying to not get hit."
Gunn (21-5-1, 18 KOs), born in Canada but living in Hackensack, N.J., has not fought much in recent years. He got knocked out in the fourth round by Tomasz Adamek in a cruiserweight world title fight in 2009 and then didn't fight again until April 2012, when he was knocked out in the fifth round by the long-faded James Toney. Instead of boxing, Gunn, who turns 40 on Dec. 25, has been involved in bare-knuckle fighting.
"He's a tough, hard-nosed guy," Jones said. "He's the kind of guy you have to watch because he's strong as hell and he has a lot of heart. He'll be there to win and try to land that one shot. That will keep me on my toes."
Added Gunn: "I've wanted a matchup with Roy for quite some time but it never worked out for a number of reasons. We've been working on this for a while and I wasn't sure if it was ever going to happen but I'm glad it will. People can say what they want about Roy and I at this stage, but this is an extremely important fight. The winner will take a huge step forward, and the loser is at the end of the road."
Jones said he will be trained by Valrice Cooper for the fight, the first time they will have worked together.
John Wirt of Square Ring, Jones' promotional company, said he is working on trying to get a television deal for the fight.