Roy Jones Jr.
A top figure in boxing, Roy Jones Jr. was born on January 16, 1969, in Pensacola, Florida. He received the light middleweight silver medal at the ‘88 Olympics (though it is believed he should have won gold). Jones went on to win champion titles in three divisions, becoming the first middleweight champ to win the heavyweight title in more than a century. He’s also done sports commentary and acting work.
Born on January 16, 1969, in Pensacola, Florida, where he was also raised, Roy Jones Jr. took to boxing at a young age. He proved to be a teenage phenomena in the ring, winning the 1984 U.S. National Junior Olympics in his weight division. In 1986, Jones picked up his first U.S. National Golden Gloves win in one weight class, and scored another Golden Gloves victory the following year in a heavier weight class.
Jones became an Olympic champion in 1988. Until his final bout, he was undefeated in the Olympic Games held in Seoul, South Korea. Jones faced off against South Korean fighter Park Si-Hun and lost the bout by decision, though many watching the fight thought that Jones should have won. The judges' decision came under intense scrutiny after it was later revealed that they had been entertained by South Korean officials. Still, Jones took home the silver medal in the men's light-middleweight boxing event.
In 1989, Jones made an impressive debut as a professional boxer. In just two rounds, he knocked out his opponent, Ricky Randall. He picked up his first title in 1992, becoming the WBC Continental Americas super-middleweight champion. The following year, Jones reached another career milestone, earning the IBF middleweight title.
He bested Bernard Hopkins to earn that honor, fighting basically one-handed after fracturing a knuckle prior to the fight. Jones successfully defended that title, and added another to his list, in 1994. Facing the nearly undefeated James Toney, Jones secured a victory by decision after 12 rounds in the ring, taking the IBF super-middleweight title from Toney.
In 1996, Jones managed a feat that had not been accomplished in his sport for more than 100 years: He retained his IBF super-middleweight title and then, after bulking up, clinched the WBC light-heavyweight title from Mike McCallum -- becoming the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 106 years. Throughout the 1990s, Jones seemed unstoppable. In the late 1990s, the Boxing Writers Association of America named him "Fighter of the Decade."
In 2003, Jones became only the second light-heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title (Michael Spinks was the first to achieve the feat); he became the WBA heavyweight champion after a bout against John Ruiz, who previously held the title.
In 2004, Jones was handed his first major defeat at the hands of Antonio Tarver. He had beaten Tarver the previous year, but in this latest bout, Tarver managed to knock out Jones. After that match up, the once invincible Jones became more hit or miss in the ring. He defeated Prince Badi Ajamu in 2006 and Anthony Hanshaw in 2007 in title fights, but he has lost most of his more recent face-offs in the ring. Jones still has some presence in the ring, however. He won the Universal Boxing Organization Inter-Continental Cruise weight title in 2011.
Now in his 40s, Jones continues to fight while promoting other boxers and mixed martial arts competitors through his company, Square Ring Promotions.
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