As a future Hall of Fame fighter, former broadcaster and current trainer and promoter, boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. has experienced just about every scenario the sport has to offer from a variety of different prospectives.
So Jones, who will corner rising super middleweight Kevin Newman II (11-1-1, 6 KOs) in the opener of Friday’s ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader (Showtime, 10:45 p.m. ET), didn’t back down from sharing his thoughts on the fallout of last Saturday’s Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder heavyweight title rematch.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) shocked the world by producing a TKO in a one-sided affair that ended when the associate trainer of Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), former welterweight world champion and Olympic gold medalist Mark Breland, defied the corner by throwing in the towel in Round 7.
Respect box? Subscribe to our podcast — State of Combat with Brian Campbell — where we take an in-depth look at the world of boxing each week.
The 34-year-old Wilder, who was saved from an increasingly brutal beating, spoke to several outlets on Monday tofor a trilogy bout this summer. Along with blaming the 40-pound costume he wore during his ring walk for tiring out his legs before the opening bell, Wilder also threw shade at Breland’s decision and threatened to fire him over the ordeal.
“Mark Breland was highly concerned about a fighter he saw that was beaten, had been wilted and was done with,” Jones told CBS Sports’ “State of Combat” podcast on Tuesday. “Mark did what he thought was best and tried to save him from future damage and allowed him to be able to get out the ring safe and sound, go back rebuild in the gym and come back as a stronger man next time; not get completely taken apart and diminished and embarrassed further. I know there had to be some embarrassment after talking so much about what you are going to do to him and none of that happened.
“Mark was trying to save his fighter intellectually, spiritually, emotionally — all the way around the board. So all Mark could have done is throw the towel in and I would’ve done the same thing.”
A father of eight children, Wilder said he repeatedly informed everyone from his trainers to his family that it would never be acceptable to stop a fight before he was knocked out. Speaking to Yahoo Sports, he stated, “As a warrior, as a champion, as a leader, as a ruler, I want to go out on my shield. If I’m talking about going in and killing a man, I respect the same way. I abide by the same principal of receiving.”
Where Jones, who won world titles in four divisions including heavyweight, took the most issue with Wilder was his choice of words about why he was upset.
“No I don’t respect that because that’s why you are having a hard time with your team now and that’s why you are having a hard time learning boxing because you and your team is so much worried about yourself and how you do things that you don’t think other people’s jobs is to look out for you,” Jones said.
Jones certainly understands Wilder’s warrior mentality, saying that throughout his 28-year-career, his coaches knew full well he was never going to quit. The difference is that Jones trusted their viewpoint and decision making.
“[Wilder] probably feels he [still had a chance] because he dropped Fury two times in the first fight but he was feeling much better in that fight because Fury wasn’t fighting with a game plan, he was still learning him,” Jones said. “In the second fight, Fury had a great game plan and was executing it to a T! He was executing it to a T and there was nothing to do for Wilder but to go downhill.
“There was no uphill for him in that fight and anybody that thought he had a chance is crazy because Fury had broken him down from Round 1 and he was going downhill since then. If Wilder thought he had a chance, he was wrong and I’m sorry but that’s just what the facts are.”
Although Jones credited Fury with a great performance and considers him an all-timer from the standpoint of “being able to figure out the puzzle,” he’s against the idea that Fury suddenly cemented himself as a legend. The reason, along with Fury’s short sample size, is that he doesn’t feel Wilder had a strong enough resume heading in.
“You can’t call [Fury] an all-timer because the bully just hadn’t been bullied yet,” Jones said. “The bully beat a lot of people, don’t get me wrong. But if you look back at the names on [Wilder’s] record, they don’t add up to the names on Mikey Tyson’s record. The only person that has a record that we knew anything about — and he never had a professional career and was a celebrated amateur, at best — was [Luis] Ortiz. Ortiz was a good fighter but with his lack of pro experience, Wilder took him into the deep water last time and drowned him.
“That’s the only real fighters I see on his record that you can say this guy is a real credible fighter because of his amateur career because he hasn’t beaten anybody as a pro either. So when you look at it, Tyson Fury did take a bully that hadn’t been beat yet and no one thought could be beat and he walked him down and beat him. Right now, he still has to beat a few more fighters to become one of the greats but he is a great fighter. I told Tyson Fury about 4-5 years ago that if you get yourself together and rededicate yourself, you could beat all these guys. That’s what he’s doing right now.”