Roy Jones, Jr. prepares for final competitive fight in Pensacola
Roy Jones, Jr’s fight on February 8th, at the Pensacola Bay Center, has taken on all the emotion of a fond farewell. And there was a flicker of that emotion when Channel 3 Sports visited Jones’s training camp on his farm in North Escambia County.
By now, it’s an old ritual. Roy Jones, arriving at the gym, preparing for his next fight. But next Thursday’s fight at the Pensacola Bay Center will be the 75th and final bout of his storied competitive career. Roy’s next birthday will be his 50th. It’s time.
"I've been training so much, and doing it for so many years, once you start trying to get ready for it and your body starts trying to fail you, you know it's starting to get time for you to start letting it go,” Jones explained.
He will fight 30-year old Scott Sigmon (30-11-1) at the Bay Center. Roy’s career is concluding where it began nearly 30 years ago, when the sport’s royalty, including former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes and Ken Norton, and the classy lightweight champion, Alexis Arguello, came to Pensacola to see the then-20-year old phenom’s pro debut in May of 1989.
Holmes had watched Jones dominate the 1988 Olympics, only to be robbed of the gold medal in an egregious judging controversy.
“I don't see no way that this man can miss,” Holmes said at the time.
“He can be as good as he wants to be,” was the assessment of Ken Norton, Sr., another legendary heavyweight champion, as he looked forward to Jones’s pro debut against Ricky Randall, a fight Jones would win in a TKO.
Jones was confident, but he had no idea all that the next three decades would have in store for him.
“I didn't expect that when I was talking to you as a young guy because I didn't know nothing about that,” Jones explained.
“I didn't ever expect to be fighting as a heavyweight, period, let alone for the heavyweight title. So it went far beyond my imagination and my thoughts.”
The Sigmon fight will be the 24th time Jones has fought in Pensacola. One more show for a hometown that he never left, and which never left him.
"I'm still worried about how I'm going to feel, walking to the ring because I'll be looking at it as the last time I'll be walking to the ring in Pensacola,” he mused. “And it probably will make me tear up. It makes me want to tear up, thinking about it. But, at the same time, there's a guy there in the ring, waiting to kill me if he has to to get a win.”
Inside his gym, surrounded by the trappings, the reminders, of a career unlike any other, and surrounded by the next generation of fighters who will make up his future in the sport, Roy Jones prepares to close the chapter after three remarkable decades. It will be an emotional night for the man within the ring and for thousands of fans without.