Roy Jones Jr. will be lacing his gloves up for a clash with Mike Tyson tonight, and the expectations are quite high. Despite both men being into their 50s, the appetite for this super fight has gotten everyone excited. Two former world champions meeting well past their primes isn’t usually the best sell. However, the selling point here is the resumes that Roy Jones Jr. and Tyson have.
While comparisons for Tyson in the world of MMA have always existed, we don’t see many for Roy Jones Jr. But, it turns out that case isn’t entirely accurate.
At UFC 182, Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg occupied the booth as flyweight contenders Kyoji Horiguchi and Louis Gaudinot were fighting. Goldberg was complimentary of Horiguchi’s movement, which prompted Rogan to compare Horiguchi’s footwork to Jones Jr.
He said, “It’s just the speed of his blitz. And doing so in an unconventional way with the hands down, sort of reminds you of Roy Jones Jr. in his prime. It is not how you would teach anyone, but man does it look pretty.”
Roy Jones Jr. in his prime was considered one of the craftiest boxers in the world. Like Rogan eluded too, he would have an unconventional style where he kept his hands down. This allowed him a greater field of vision to counter his opponents and telegraph their strikes. However, fighters are always at risk for a brutal KO when their hands are down.
Another fighter in MMA with a stance like that is Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. RJJ also had blisteringly quick hands and would use combinations to his advantage.
No boxer can become a multi-division world champion with a stagnant style. One of the hardest parts about facing prime RJJ was the versatility with which he could claim the win.
We won’t see that RJJ against Tyson. Hopefully, we do see a glimpse of what made him such a feared boxer in his heyday.
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