Jones Jr. demoted to world of PPV

He’ll meet Warren native Anthony Hanshaw, who is
moving up to light heavyweight.


NEW YORK — There was a time, not too long ago, that if HBO was going to have a boxing extravaganza on Saturday night, Roy Jones Jr. would be the ringmaster. He was a reliable ratings grabber who rarely fought on Pay-Per-View.

HBO is having such an extravaganza this Saturday, broadcasting three welterweight matches live from both coasts, featuring Arturo Gatti coming back against Alfonso Gomez and IBF champ Kermit Cintron defending against Walter Matthysse from Atlantic City and WBO champ Antonio Margarito defending against Paul Williams in L.A.

Meanwhile Jones will meet Warren native Anthony Hanshaw, a 168-pound contender who is moving up to light heavyweight, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi on Pay-Per-View. He hasn’t fought in almost a year, and his last fight against Prince Badi Ajamu was in Boise, Idaho, and also wasn’t on a cable network.

Out in cold

In an age when boxers seemingly never lose their attractiveness to the cable networks, Jones, who was considered “pound-for-pound” the best in boxing less than 10 years ago, finds himself out in the cold.

“They treat boxers like racing dogs,” Jones said. “Once you can’t run anymore they don’t want you. They get rid of you. The reason they wrote me off is I’m rebellious. I’m not a corporate guy. I stand on my own two feet. If you want to be your own person, they don’t have any time for you.”

Asked if he was upset with the cold shoulder from HBO, where he once served as a commentator on the network’s boxing broadcasts, Jones said no.

“I’m OK with that,” Jones said. “As long as God loves me, that’s all that matters.”

Jones’ star dimmed after KO losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004. It worsened when he couldn’t make deals for fights against Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe. Jones had long since used up his currency for soft touches on the cable network. Long gone are the days when HBO would overpay Jones to fight a postman, a schoolteacher or a cop. Perhaps because he is still wealthy from those days, Jones does not concern himself with the fact that his fights don’t rate interest from HBO.

People still watching

“The hype is the same to me,” he said. “People are still watching me fight.”

But he no longer has the considerable marketing muscle of HBO Sports. Now he must generate his own publicity for his fights. And Jones has never been a fan of hyping his fights, even when he was the promoter.

But one fight could get everyone back on the Jones bandwagon. Last week Felix Trinidad was reported to have conversations with promoter Don King to come back in January 2008. And Trinidad mentioned Jones as a possible comeback opponent. Jones said he is interested.

“It’s a fight that boxing needs,” Jones said. “I was supposed to fight him after he fought Bernard Hopkins, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen because I told Don King that Hopkins was going to beat Trinidad. But right now the timing is better than ever before for me and him to fight.”

For now, Jones will have to be content with fighting outside of the spotlight.

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