Roy Jones Jr knows a thing or two about greatness – and those who do can usually spot it in others. The former four-weight world champion has provided his pound-for-pound rankings.
The American fighter is the only boxer in history to start his pro career at light middleweight and go on to win a heavyweight title. He told TalkSPORT who he thinks are today’s stars of the sport.
First up, was undefeated WBC Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury.
“It’s really hard to say, but you’ve got to give it to Fury right now. Fury got to be number one.”
Fury has entertained fans outside of the ring as much as he has in it, but there’s no denying that the self-proclaimed ‘behemoth’ is an anomaly in terms of sheer skill for a man his size. 29 men have tried to decipher the puzzle presented by the two-time champion. None have succeeded.
Following Fury in the legend’s list is Terence Crawford – an undoubtable elite talent who many fans feels hasn’t yet faced the best of his era.
That sentiment is perhaps best summed up by the most recent breakdown of negotiations with Errol Spence Jr. The two have failed to organise a unification of the welterweight titles once more, and prime time is running out.
Next, Jones puts former undisputed cruiserweight champion and current unified heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, in at number three.
In an economical and classy career, the Ukrainian has remained undefeated and collected all of the above in just 20 fights. He’s the man who should face Fury next year to crown the first all-belt king of the heavyweights since Lennox Lewis.
In at number four is Dmitry Bivol, who will put his feet up at the end of 2022 having beaten both Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
It’s not just the names he beat that has him in the conversation for fighter of the year, or indeed on this list by Roy Jones Jr, it’s the way in which he did it.
Over 24 rounds the Russian put on a boxing clinic to remain undefeated and WBA light-heavyweight champion.
‘RJJ’ couldn’t pick a fifth on the spot, so his list ends at unconventional four, but what a four it is.
As for his own work in the sport, the fighter-turned-trainer is expected to take up the pads once again for Chris Eubank Jr as he prepares to face Liam Smith, as well as potentially starting a new training relationship with a former heavyweight champion.