Roy Jones Jr is widely regarded as one of the best fighters to ever lace up the gloves, and plenty of opponents throughout his career put that to the test.
Winning world titles from middleweight to heavyweight of course saw ‘Captain Hook’ face some big hitters, and there was one man in particular he says forced him to seek an early finish for fear of what was coming back.
Speaking to The Ring Magazine as part of its ‘Best I Faced’ series, Jones Jr identified Merqui Sosa as both the strongest and the hardest puncher.
“Merqui Sosa was a very powerful guy. You couldn’t push him back; he didn’t give up anything in the ring. I had to get him out of there early. He was very strong and wasn’t planning on going nowhere.
Merqui missed me with a shot that almost buckled my knees. If that had landed it would have been different. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s trying to kill you!’ I went to work on him after that and got the fight over. Tarver had good punching power, but he didn’t punch harder than Merqui Sosa.”
Sosa came out the gates quickly in the catchweight bout back in 1996, with Jones opting to believe in his own speed and timing by standing and trading.
He had the man from the Dominican Republic on the ropes towards the end of the first round, his work just that bit more accurate – as was the case in most of his fights.
In the third minute of the second round, ‘RJJ’ closed the distance and landed a right hand that topple Sosa. He managed to his feet, but another swarm saw the referee wave it off – Sosa punching him in the chest while he was protesting.
Five months later, Jones would drop back down to super-middleweight and continue his run as champion.
As for Sosa, he won a string of six fights before a streak of four losses peppered with just two more victories saw him hang up the gloves in the year 2000.