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OT: Roy Jones Jr. To fight Corrie Sanders!


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Jones takes risky fight against southpaw Sanders

By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY

Lennox Lewis appears headed for retirement. Evander Holyfield opted to fight James Toney. Mike Tyson's messy life doesn't leave much time to think about boxing.

So Roy Jones Jr., disinterested in unifying heavyweight titles with Chris Byrd or going back to light heavyweight to meet rival Antonio Tarver, was running out of potential opponents for his fall HBO PPV date until he and promoter Murad Muhammad pulled off quite a surprise Thursday, agreeing to a fight with fast, powerful southpaw Corrie Sanders of South Africa. The fight will probably be in Las Vegas Nov. 8.

"It's a done deal," Muhammad told USA TODAY. "I wouldn't be talking to you if it wasn't signed. This is basically a miracle because we were stuck for an opponent and we didn't want to lose our date."

Sanders (No. 8 USA TODAY, 39-2, 29 KOs) poses a serious threat to Jones. After all, he threw a jolt into the sport in March when he scored a major upset, demolishing top contender Wladimir Klitschko in two rounds to win a minor title.

"When Sanders knocked out Klitschko, Roy said, 'Go get him.' (First) we worked on a Holyfield fight and it fell through. We worked on Tyson and it fell through. We wanted Lennox Lewis, but he's not fighting," said Muhammad, who will co-promote the title bout with Don King. "Everyone kept asking, 'Where do you go next?' We got it. You have a man who knocked out Klitschko ... so you know he's a puncher and bonafide heavyweight."

Jones (No. 6, 48-1, 38 KOs) also made history in March, becoming the second light heavyweight champ to win a piece of the heavyweight crown as he easily beat John Ruiz despite giving up 33 pounds.

At 6-4, 230 pounds, Sanders, 37, is quicker, more skilled and much more powerful than Ruiz. Sanders' only losses are KO defeats to ex-champ Hasim Rahman in 2000 and to Nate Tubbs in 1994.

"Roy Jones Jr. is an all-time great, but this is not Ruiz," said Sanders promoter Rodney Berman. "Corrie Sanders is going to stop Roy Jones. Corrie is over the moon about the fight. He said it will be a privilege to walk into the ring with Roy Jones, but he believes Roy has made a mistake."

HBO PPV, whose schedule took a hit when Lewis passed on a fall fight, is thrilled with Jones-Sanders. "My immediate reaction was elation," HBO's Mark Taffet said. "The public was treated to a very special night in boxing history when Roy Jones defeated Ruiz. Now they'll get to see if he can stand tall against a man who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko."

The fight came together quickly. Berman and manager Vernon Smith planned to fly from South Africa to Miami on Wednesday for a Saturday purse bid on Sanders' mandatory vs. Lamon Brewster. But after a call from Muhammad they instead flew to New York, where they negotiated until closing a deal on Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Jones, 34, was guaranteed a minimum $10 million to fight Ruiz and Muhammad said, "Roy will not go backwards." Sanders will earn by far the biggest purse of his career.

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However, the problem here goes both ways. Chasing can be just as tiring. Throwing punches, especially those meant to knockout, can be a little taxing as well. Especially at a target that doesn't reallly want to get hit. Jones is very good in being evasive without necessarily running. He can stand in front of you and avoid being hit. He's smart and fast enough to avoid blows that a very experienced and smart fighter can see coming. However, this is a big hitter he's facing. Though maybe one shot won't be enough, it can be an attention getter. A very good test to see if Roy is going to be a good heavyweight.


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Roy Jones tested positive for steroids, just incase anyone cares. He's also a 9 out of 10 on the ***** meter. He needs to take some better fights, i was impressed by Sanders when he fought klitzcho, but there are better fights that could have been made. This is definately a possible upset, so Im not saying he isn't taking a tough fight. If he wants to be a legit heavyweight though, he'll have to beat someone better. Parading around with the belt he has is a joke. Unless he's unified, beats lewis or even Byrd, he aint **** as a heavyweight in my mind. He better intend on fighting the winner of the holyfield-Toney fight, if he's not going after a real belt. I dont think he could beat Toney at 190 and he definately wont beat him as a heavyweight. Going back down to 175 and fighting Antonio Tarver, thatd be a good fight. Or fight Bernard Hopkins(who is now in his prime) again, thats the fight every real boxing fan wants to see.

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Stop hating on Roy J and get off Hopkins jock.

The real money is in the heavyweight division until those supposed light heavyweight prospects get the public clamoring for R JJ to drop down to fight them.

This is going to be a good fight.

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I think the fight that everyone would love to see, and Max Kellerman has promoted it many times as the next great mega fight, Is Roy Jones Jr. vs. Mike Tyson. I think that would be a great fight, bc while roy is the better fighter, tyson who is about the same height as jr. is a threat to knock him out at any time.

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