BILOXI, Miss. -- Roy Jones Jr. winked at the crowd, wiggled
his hips and mixed in a few high-steps as he trotted toward his
first opponent in nearly a year. There was plenty of show, but no
The 38-year-old is still entertaining in the ring and he can
still win, but the sudden knockout victories for which he was known
may be a thing of the past.
Jones took a 12-round, unanimous decision against previously
undefeated Anthony Hanshaw on Saturday night, capturing the vacant
IBC light heavyweight title.
"They say you've got to pass the torch? Well, you've got to
pass it when the times comes and I think my time hasn't come yet,"
Jones said. "I've got a little more business I have to clean up."
The scorecards favored Jones 114-113, 117-110 and 118-109.
It was the second straight victory for Jones, but only the
second win in five fights for the former middleweight, super
middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight champion.
Hanshaw, 29, gave Jones all he could handle, although Jones
insisted Hanshaw would be a tough opponent for anyone.
"A lot of people say, 'if you're going to fight, fight somebody
that's easy.' I don't believe in fighting people that are easy. I
believe in taking on a challenge," Jones said. "I was really glad
to see Hanshaw had the heart that I thought he had, because this
shows you that he's going to be a problem for some of these guys in
The decisive moment came in the 11th round, when Jones (51-4)
landed a quick right to free himself from the ropes, then staggered
Hanshaw with a left-right combination.
Hanshaw (21-1-1) stumbled and fell to his knees after Jones
appeared to bump him. The pro-Jones crowd stood and cheered as if
they expected the fight to end, but Hanshaw was back up after a few
seconds and quickly regained his form for the rest of the round.
The crowd rejoiced when Jones' victory was announced, but
Hanshaw thought he was robbed.
"I put the pressure on him. I backed him up all the rounds. He
won like two or three rounds," Hanshaw said. "He's a legend, but
I won the fight."
In his younger days, Jones was renowned for being so quick he
could keep his hands at his sides and dance away from danger before
landing a big punch in the blink of an eye.
But in recent years he had struggled to retain that form, and
the first round was no different. Jones flailed at air on his first
several big punches, then found himself backed against the ropes,
fending off a barrage from Hanshaw on four occasions.
But as the bell sounded, Jones sauntered back to his corner
unfazed, even winking at the crowd.
Early in the second round, he brought the crowd to its feet when
he got off the ropes with a sudden blow to the head that backed
away the aggressive Hanshaw. A minute later he landed a left with a
thud that enlivened the crowd again, and the fight was quickly on
The 29-year-old Hanshaw, ranked 11th in the super middleweight
division by the IBF, is trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr., who said
in the run-up to the fight that he and Hanshaw had "a plan" for
Jones in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Jones had predicted he would knock out Hanshaw before the bells
ever sounded on those rounds.
Instead, the middle rounds were relatively unspectacular, with
Jones spending much of the time backed against the ropes, fending
off dozens of close-range punches from Hanshaw. But few seemed
well-placed or powerful enough to stop Jones from mockingly
wiggling his hips or high-stepping when he danced free.
The crowd delighted in Jones' antics, and it was essentially a
home fight for him. Jones is from Pensacola, Fla., about a two-hour
drive away, and has fought often on the Gulf Coast.
Hanshaw's arrival was met with mostly boos before the crowd
roared when Jones entered the ring wearing a black-and-gold, Roman
Jones said he looks forward to fighting again and could be ready
in a couple months if necessary.
"I'm not going to go home and get out of shape," Jones
promised. "I'm going to stay in shape, and whoever wants it, they
can come on and get it."
The top fight on the undercard was declared a no contest in the
opening round when defending NABA welterweight champion Oscar Diaz
of San Antonio received a cut above his left eye from an
inadvertent head-butt from challenger Juan Buendia of Mexico.
Diaz went to a neutral corner to receive medical attention, but
the referee waved his arms, signaling the end of the fight. That
drew a shower of boos from the crowd.
In the other undercard fights, Derrick "Smoke" Gainer (41-7-1)
of Pensacola, Fla., outpointed Carlos Navarro (27-6-1) of Las Vegas
in a 10-round super featherweight bout decided by split decision.
Gainer was favored 96-94 on one scorecard and 96-92 on another,
while a third was 98-94 for Navarro.
Super middleweight Ron Johnson (9-1) of Las Vegas defeated Aaron
Norwood (22-9-2) of Hattiesburg, Miss., in a third-round knockout.
Cruiserweight Ezra Seller (28-7) of Washington, beat Troy Beets
(12-11-1) of Ocean Springs, Miss., when Beets' corner threw in the
towel in the sixth round.