AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Roy Jones, right, promises to put on a show for his fans on Saturday.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
A new, more media-friendly Roy Jones has emerged going into Saturday's fight with Joe Calzaghe.
Jarrett Baker/Getty Images
Former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones still knows how to revel an audience.
Jarret Baker/Getty Images
Joe Calzaghe intends to do all of his talking with his fists on Saturday.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
The man to beat: Joe Calzaghe intends on keeping his undefeated record intact on Saturday.
Isaac Brekken/AP Photo
In his last fight, Joe Calzaghe was forced to climb off the canvas against Bernard Hopkins.
Jones turns over new leafNEW YORK -- For about a decade, Roy Jones was widely considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, a nearly untouchable force who won titles in four divisions without seriously being challenged. But for an even longer period of time, Jones held another distinction -- the most difficult fighter on earth for the media to deal with, a reluctant superstar with little to say and less interest in promoting his fights. Although Jones is no longer atop the pound-for-pound list, he has turned over a new leaf when it comes to media relations and promotional acumen. In days gone by, Jones would be considered early if he was only an hour late for a news conference. Now, it's not unusual for him to beat reporters to his media appointments. And instead of being brief -- he spoke for all of 17 seconds and took no questions during the final press conference before his third fight with Antonio Tarver in 2005 before storming out -- Jones now seems to actually have fun engaging with media members, laughing and joking throughout a small media gathering a few weeks ago in the hours before the Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik fight in Atlantic City, N.J. In days gone by, Jones would never have allowed HBO's cameras to follow him constantly for the "24/7" series as he has done for the past few months. And certainly, Jones (52-4, 38 KOs) would never have taken the time to provide blogs for ESPN.com about his training camp or given an audience to a boxing writer in his Manhattan hotel suite like he did Thursday afternoon.
|Battle of the Superpowers|
The schedule for Saturday's HBO PPV card (9 p.m. ET) from Madison Square Garden in New York: • Light heavyweights: Joe Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KOs) vs. Roy Jones Jr. (52-4, 38 KOs), 12 rounds, for Calzaghe's world title • Welterweights: Zab Judah (36-6, 25 KOs) vs. Ernest Johnson (18-2-1, 7 KOs), 10 rounds • Junior welterweights: Dmitriy Salita (28-0-1, 16 KOs) vs. Derrick Campos (17-5, 10 KOs), 12 rounds • Junior welterweights: Frankie Figueroa (19-2, 13 KOs) vs. Emanuel Augustus (38-29-6, 20 KOs), 10 rounds
|For all the stories, podcasts, videos and news on Joe Calzaghe's showdown with Roy Jones in New York, visit the Fight Credential.|
• Heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko (36-2, 35 KOs), who came out of retirement after almost four years and stopped Samuel Peter in a dominant performance in October to reclaim a belt, was ordered this week at the WBC's annual convention in Chengdu, China, to face mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Gomez (44-1, 35 KOs) in his next fight. If the sides do not make a deal, a Dec. 19 purse bid will be ordered. "This is exactly what we wanted," Gomez promoter Ahmet Íner said. "This is a great day for Arena Box-Promotion. We got Gomez vs. Vitali."
• The WBC is at it again. At its annual convention, which is going on this week in Chengdu, China, the council ordered middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik to face his No. 1 contender, Marco Antonio Rubio. The fight is already in the planning stages for Feb. 21 in Pavlik's native Youngstown, Ohio. However, the WBC said it will strip Pavlik of its belt if he doesn't pay sanction fees for his last two fights, neither of which were title bouts. He faced Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins above 160 pounds in matches the WBC was not affiliated with, yet it is still demanding fees.
• The WBC is also demanding payment of sanctioning fees from Manny Pacquiao for his last fight, when he knocked out David Diaz to win the organization's lightweight title. If Pacquiao, who faces Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight on Dec. 6 in a nontitle match, does not pay the WBC within in 15 days, he will be stripped. Former junior lightweight titlist Edwin Valero, who is serving as one of De La Hoya's sparring partners, will face Antonio Pitalua for the interim belt. If no agreement is reached, a Dec. 1 purse bid was ordered. If Pacquiao is stripped, the winner of Valero-Pitalua would become the organization's titleholder.
• Joan Guzman (28-0, 17 KOs) will face Ameth Diaz (25-7, 19 KOs) on Dec. 20 in Guzman's native Dominican Republic in a lightweight title eliminator, Sycuan Ringside Promotions' Sean Gibbons told ESPN.com. The fight will be at lightweight even though Guzman failed to make the 135-pound limit for a fight against unified titleholder Nate Campbell in September, which forced the fight to be canceled hours before the first bell and sent Campbell into bankruptcy because neither fighter was paid.
• With Paulie Malignaggi having given up his alphabet junior welterweight title to face lineal champion Ricky Hatton Nov. 22, the IBF's leading contenders, Herman Ngoudjo and Juan Urango, will meet for the vacant belt. Urango promoter Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing and Ngoudjo promoter Yvon Michel made a deal this week and avoided Thursday's scheduled purse bid. They'll meet Jan. 30 in Montreal, where Ngoudjo is based. Urango, a former titleholder, lost his belt to Hatton. Ngoudjo lost a tight decision to challenging Malignaggi in January. Ngoudjo-Urango likely will be televised on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."
• Former junior middleweight titlist Roman Karmazin (36-3-1, 23 KOs), idle since his 10th-round upset TKO loss to Alex Bunema in January, has secured a release from promoter Don King and is scheduled to return to action against an opponent to be named on Dec. 20 in Los Angeles, where he lives, according to adviser Steve Bash. Karmazin will fight at middleweight and plans to stay there, but Bash said he'd return to junior middleweight for a meaningful fight.
• Featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa (12-0, 10 10 KOs), the 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist who defected and is now one of boxing's fastest rising contenders, will have a shot to win a title in just his 13th fight, albeit an interim title. With titleholder Oscar Larios sidelined because of a severe cut suffered in his Oct. 16 defense against Takahiro Aoh, Gamboa will face Elio Rojas (20-1, 13 KOs) for an interim belt. Rojas earned a shot by winning a title eliminator against Hector Velasquez in his last fight in September.
• Junior lightweight titlist Nicky Cook (29-1, 16 KOs), who upset Alex Arthur in September to win the belt, makes his first defense Dec. 6 in London. Cook will face British countryman Stephen Foster Jr. (24-2-1, 16 KOs), who lost a tight decision to Arthur in a slugfest in his only previous title bout in December. "It's fantastic to be fighting for the world title again and this time I won't let the opportunity pass me," Foster said. "It won't be a case of third time lucky, this time I'm going to win it. I came so close to beating Arthur last year and I'm still kicking myself about it now. If only I had followed up when I hurt him in the 11th round with some more big punches then I could have been crowned champion. That was a year ago. I'm ready to give Cook a real fight for his title." Also on the card, lightweight Amir Khan aims to rebound from his stunning first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in September when he faces Oisin Fagan.
• Although Cook-Foster headlines promoter Frank Warren's Dec. 6 show in London and there will also be a lot of attention paid to Khan's comeback fight, there is also another title bout on the bill. Enzo Maccarinelli (28-2, 21 KOs) will attempt to reclaim his old alphabet cruiserweight title, which he lost by knockout to David Haye before Haye vacated it to move up to heavyweight. Maccarinelli will face Johnathon Banks (20-0, 14 KOs), who is trained and managed by Emanuel Steward. Maccarinelli hasn't fought since suffering a second-round knockout loss to Haye in March. "It's been a while since my fight with Haye and I'm not going to dwell on it. What happened, happened and it's in the past," he said. "Since the fight I've just had my head down and been putting the hours in the gym correcting what I did wrong and I believe that I'm better than before. I've got to prove a lot of people wrong."
• Top Rank's much-discussed card in Macau, which has moved around and had been most recently slated for Dec. 13, has been pushed back at least until late January, Top Rank's Bob Arum saidl. He said the move was made at the request of the host Venetian resort. Among the bouts that had been talked about for the card, which has been on the drawing board for months, was junior flyweight Ulises Solis defending his title against Brian Viloria.
"Klitschko will regret he chose me to replace Povetkin. Like Lennox Lewis, I will knock him out and take those belts. And then, I am going to beat his brother Vitali, too." -- Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman, on replacing injured Alexander Povetkin to challenge unified titleholder Wladimir Klitschko on Dec. 13 in Germany.
"Hasim Rahman is a tough and experienced fighter. I will definitely not underestimate him. He is always talking big -- I know that back from a fight when he was supposed to meet my brother Vitali. But that does not impress me." -- Unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko on Rahman.