1. HAVING collected a haul of world titles at middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight, Roy Jones Junior dared to go one further, as he took on WBA world heavyweight champion, John Ruiz in 2003.
2. A LOT had been made of the pre-fight antics demonstrated by Roy Jones, who was blamed for making no attempt to sell the fight. Jones had been guaranteed $10 million compared to Ruiz’s cut of pay-per-view sales. Ruiz claimed: “Roy hasn’t done his job. I guess he has his money and couldn’t care less about my end of it.”
3. 15,300 fans packed in to the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, to see Jones attempt to make history as the first former middleweight champion since Bob Fitzsimmons – in 1897 – to clinch a heavyweight crown.
4. HEADING in to the bout, Roy Jones had only registered one professional loss [courtesy of Montell Griffin] in an otherwise perfect 48-fight career. And despite conceding age, reach, height and weight [33lbs] to John Ruiz, he was a 9-5 favourite to win.
5. HAND speed proved to be one of Jones’ most reliable weapons, and he utilised it to great effect in the opening stanza, catching the Puerto Rican unaware on numerous exchanges. Determined not to be outdone however, Ruiz came back with a hard right hand of his own – reminding all in attendance of his power.
6. ALTHOUGH clever footwork enabled Jones to navigate the ring and stay away from his opponent, at times, he was happy to stand in the centre and trade with the champion. In the fourth round, a straight-right from the Florida native rocked Ruiz, causing his nose to bleed. Sensing his opponent was hurt, Jones followed up with a clubbing right to Ruiz’s temple, prompting his manager, Norman Stone, to ask “are you alright?” between rounds.
7. IRRESPECTIVE of being the bigger man, Ruiz refused to be the aggressor. Instead, he waited for Jones to come in, and mounted largely unsuccessful counter attacks. By the mid-rounds, the variance of Roy Jones was on full show, as he demonstrated superior boxing ability and ring-nous to take rounds comfortably.
8. AFTER establishing a comprehensive lead, Jones was happy to adopt a hit-and-run style for much of the remainder of the bout. Firing sharp jabs and uppercuts, scoring well with the judges.
9. JONES landed 32% of his punches on route to gaining a unanimous decision over Ruiz. As the judges at ringside scored the contest 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111.
10. WITH the win, Roy Jones became the seventh boxer in history to hold world titles in four different weight divisions. He relinquished the WBA strap immediately, and moved back down to light-heavyweight.