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The Mega-Fight Edition [Vol.VI]: Andre Ward vs. Roy Jones Jr.

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When you watch Roy Jones Jr. and Andre Ward on HBO as they offer analysis from ringside, just their body language alone is very revealing in how a fight between them would have gone.

There’s Ward, with his cool and calculated delivery, very cerebral both in texture and in content. This is in contrast to Jones, ever lively and demonstrative, sharply making his points with colorful and bold candor.

Jones is the most remarkable athlete I’ve ever seen in a squared circle. His reflexes and speed were supernatural, to go with his other-worldly God given talents.

He did a lot of things wrong from a conventional stand point in comparison to the very technically sharp and proficient Ward, but Andre never had some of Roy’s natural gifts.

The dichotomy of what this presents makes this fight very difficult to determine who would prevail objectively, because neither of them would have known what it’s like to lose.

Andre Ward, Olympic Gold Medalist and reigning super middleweight boss, has found a way to subdue and dismiss anyone who’s encountered him since the age of 12. He is the Tim Duncan of the sport, will fundamental your ass to death, and simply puts you together before taking you apart.

Roy Jones, robbed of Olympic glory in front of an international audience, is the very best 168lb fighter in the history of the sport. No one knew how to deal with athleticism that- to this day- has never been seen before. He rarely lost rounds at all, had incredibly keen instincts and defensive acumen, and did it all with the type of focused arrogance that makes Floyd Mayweather look like a monk in his own utopia.

Can the “Son of God” turn Jones into a mere disciple? Or would Jones crucify him without mercy?

Somewhere in the middle of this is an answer, and I’m going to give it to you.

ROY JONES JR. VS. ANDRE WARD

There are two things I am fairly certain about in this fight. First, that Jones would really irritate and anger the immensely prideful Ward, and that the fight would be full of drama and suspense.

In comparing the current Ward (who turns 30 in February 2014) to the 1999 version of Jones, I can conclude that it would be virtually impossible for Jones to stop the most fundamentally disciplined fighter he’d ever face.

In 1996, I was at the Ice Palace in Tampa, Fl. when a 27 year-old Jones squared off with underrated ring great Mike McCallum. McCallum was 39, slow, and not really anything close to what he was. He gave Roy a very difficult fight, one that saw him struggle greatly to get a points win.

I saw McCallum’s very technically sound approach and bevy of skills neutralize virtually all of Jones’s natural gifts. Montell Griffen elaborated on it a year later, stymieing Roy with textbook precision in beating him.

Despite Roy’s impressive demolition in the rematch, I saw Lou Del Valle do much of the same thing in 1998, and witnessed Eric Harding really pressing Roy before losing in 2001 due to a torn bicep.

I cannot see Roy Jones beating Andre Ward.

Andre is better than any of these fighters, and at least on even terms with a prime Mike McCallum. He does not have a great right hand. In fact, it’s just average in comparison to his left hand- which he’s always looking to land. But his analytical mind would expose Roy’s reliance on sheer talent.

Part of Ward’s genius is understanding what his opponent cannot do- or doesn’t want to do. He would be well aware of the technical deficiencies in Jones while never making the mistake of waiting on Roy and giving him space.

Glen Johnson was masterful in demonstrating this, and Antonio Tarver demonstrated it in all of their encounters.

Unaccustomed to losing rounds and falling behind on points, Jones would try to get cute in there with an iron-willed man in Ward that just wouldn’t have it or fall for the oki-doke.

While it would not resemble his clinical annihilation of Chad Dawson, Ward would gradually just reduce Jones into a spectacular athlete while being a superior boxer.

Andre Ward would defeat Roy Jones Jr. via 12 round UD.

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