Roy Levesta Jones Jr. is an American-born former professional boxer, boxing commentator, boxing trainer, rapper, and actor who holds dual American and Russian citizenship. He competed in boxing from 1989 to 2018, and held multiple world championships in four weight classes, including titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, and is the only boxer in history to start his professional career at junior middleweight and go on to win a heavyweight title.
Roy Jones Jr. was born to a family with a boxing tradition. His father, Roy Jones Sr., a Vietnam war veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star for valor after he rescued another soldier, was also a middleweight boxer. Roy Jones Sr. fought Marvin Hagler on June 10, 1977 on the undercard of the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Vinnie DeBarros fight. Hagler knocked Jones Sr. out in the third round and received $1,500 to Leonard’s $50,000.
On turning professional, he had already sparred with many professional boxers, including NABF Champion Ronnie Essett, IBF Champion Lindell Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard. Jones began as a professional on May 6, 1989, knocking out Ricky Randall in two rounds in Pensacola at the Bayfront Auditorium. For his next fight, he faced the more experienced Stephan Johnson in Atlantic City, beating him by a knockout in round eight.
Roy Jones vs. James Toney: On November 18, 1994, Jones was set to face undefeated IBF super middleweight Champion James Toney, who was ranked highly in the pound for pound rankings. Toney was undefeated after 46 bouts and was rated the best in the world at 168 lbs. Billed as “The Uncivil War, Toney vs. Jones was heavily hyped and on PPV. Jones, for the first time in his career, was the underdog.
Light heavyweight champion: In November 1996 at Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, Jones defeated 40-year-old former three-weight world champion Mike McCallum via a shutout decision before a crowd of 12,000, to win the vacant Interim WBC Light Heavyweight title. Jones scored a knockdown just before the bell at the end of round 10. Jones landed 254 of 535 punches throughout the 12 rounds and McCallum connected on 209 of 651 Jones was soon upgraded to full champion by the WBC when former titlist Fabrice Tiozzo moved up to cruiserweight. Jones made $2.8 million from the fight and McCallum got $750,000.
Roy Jones vs. Montell Griffin I & II: In 1997 Jones had his first professional loss, a disqualification against Montell Griffin at the Taj Majal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Griffin was trained by the legendary Eddie Futch, who had taught him how to take advantage of Jones technical mistakes and lack of basic boxing fundamentals. Griffin jumped out to an early lead on Jones but by round 9 Jones was ahead on the scorecards by a point and had Griffin on the canvas early in round nine. But as Griffin took a knee on the canvas to avoid further punishment, Jones hit him twice. Subsequently, Jones was disqualified and lost his title. At the time of disqualification, Jones was ahead on two of the judges scorecards
WBA heavyweight champion
Roy Jones vs. John Ruiz: On March 1, 2003, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Jones defeated John Ruiz, the man who defeated an aging Evander Holyfield, for the WBA Heavyweight title in front of 15,300 fans. Jones officially weighed in at 193 lb and Ruiz at 226 lb. Jones became the first former middleweight title holder to win a Heavyweight title in 106 years. Jones also became the first fighter to start his career as a light middleweight and win a heavyweight title, and the second reigning light heavyweight champion after Michael Spinks in 1985 to move up in weight and claim a major heavyweight championship in his first fight in the division.
Roy Jones vs. Antonio Tarver: Jones chose to return to the light heavyweight division and on November 8, 2003 he defeated Antonio Tarver to retain the WBA, IBO and The Ring Light Heavyweight Championships, and to win Tarver’s WBC title. Jones appeared a lot weaker after coming back down to the light heavyweight division, losing the muscle he gained for the heavyweight fight seemed to have taken a toll on his aging body and his cat-like reflexes appeared diminished. Jones won by majority decision, the judges giving him.
Roy Jones vs. Antonio Tarver II: On May 15, 2004, Jones faced Tarver in a rematch. Jones was heavily favored to win, but Tarver knocked him down at 1:31 of the second round. Jones had won the first round, but in the second, as Jones tried a combination, he was caught by a big counter left hook from Tarver. Jones got on his feet by the count, but for the first time in his career was ruled unable to continue by referee Jay Nady.
It was announced in July 2020 that Jones had signed a contract to face former undisputed heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, in an eight-round exhibition fight. The bout—officially sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission—was initially scheduled to take place on September 12 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, however, the date was pushed back to November 28 in order to maximize revenue for the event.