Roy Jones Jr. to fight again in October
In December, Roy Jones was knocked out in the first round by Danny Green. Then in April, Jones lost a one-sided decision to Bernard Hopkins. But neither of those back-to-back embarrassing defeats were enough to keep the former longtime pound-for-pound king from fighting again.
Jones, 41, who won titles in four divisions from middleweight to heavyweight before his precipitous fall, is coming back.
He will return to the ring to face Danny Santiago on Oct. 7 at the Pensacola Civic Center in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla.
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A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday to formally announce the bout, which will be for a vacant regional cruiserweight belt. Although the cruiserweight limit is 200 pounds, Jones and Santiago will meet at a contract maximum of 185 pounds.
Despite his recent poor run -- Jones is 2-3 in his last five bouts -- he said he still wants to fight.
"What are you gonna do? You gonna box or sit around? I've been sitting around and I wasn't enjoying it," Jones told ESPN.com on Tuesday night. "This is still what I want to do. Got nothing else to do but get in trouble or get fat, so what I got to stop for? I'll fight and I'll fight to win."
After the loss to Hopkins, a long overdue rematch of Jones' middleweight title win in 1993, he said he did not think about retirement.
"It never crossed my mind, to be honest," said Jones, who became the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in more than 100 years when he easily outpointed John Ruiz in 2003. "I want to do this. I feel real good. I want to fight and do the best I can do."
Jones, whose company, Square Ring, will promote the fight, said although he will face Santiago in the cruiserweight division, which is where he also fought Green, he is open to returning to the light heavyweight division he once dominated.
"Jean Pascal showed the division is still wide open," Jones said, referring to the Montreal star who upset Chad Dawson to claim the 175-pound division's lineal championship last month.
Jones said he is excited to fight again in his beloved Pensacola, where he last fought four fights ago, knocking out Omar Sheika in the fifth round in March 2009.
"I always loved fighting at home," he said. "My people come out and support me."
Said Square Ring CEO John Wirt, "Roy is looking forward to coming back to his roots. We've named the card 'Resurgence,' which we're tying into the fact that Pensacola is coming back from the [BP] oil spill and that Roy Jones is coming back. He gets a lot of inspiration and support from his hometown fans. He performed brilliantly against Jeff Lacy [in Biloxi, Miss.] and Omar Sheika fighting on the Gulf Coast and he believes that he gets strength from his hometown."
Jones (54-7, 40 KOs) acknowledged that he made almost no money -- if any -- for the fight with Hopkins, because it did poorly on pay-per-view and his take did not kick in until Hopkins received the first $3.5 million in profit, which it did not generate.
Jones knows he won't make much for the fight with Santiago either, a fight for which there is no television deal in place.
"Money ain't always the issue," said Jones, despite his own financial problems. "That's not what drives me. I know I'm not making much money for this fight. But I love doing it and I still want to see if I still got it, which I think I do."
Santiago (31-4-1, 19 KOs), 31, of Ocala, Fla., has won two fights in a row on the Florida club circuit. He lost his two most notable fights in a row. Zsolt Erdei stopped him in the eighth round of a light heavyweight world title bout in 2007 and, later that year, former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver, knocked him out in the fourth round. Tarver, of course, has a lot of history with Jones. He lost his first fight to Jones, but then beat him easily in their second and third fights, including a shocking second-round knockout in their 2004 light heavyweight championship rematch.
Wirt said the undercard will feature light heavyweight prospect Ismayl Sillakh against Daniel Sackey and former featherweight titlist Derrick Gainer, Jones' Pensacola buddy, against Walter Estrada in a lightweight bout.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.