Glen Kelly (white guy/ blue trunks) is a fairly conventional fighter who likes to work behind his jab and from behind his high guard defense. He is riding a 29 fight unbeaten streak, and this was his first taste of fighting on the world stage.
Roy Jones Jr.
Roy Jones is an olympic silver medalist (should have been gold, the robbery was so bad that security was deployed to ringside before the decision was read) before going undefeated in his first 50 fights aside from a DQ loss that he avenged in 90 seconds. He is arguably both one of the most accomplished champions in the history of the sport and one of the greatest athletes ever to lace up the gloves. He won titles in every division from 160lbs up to heavyweight. He is best known for his shocking speed and brilliantly unorthodox style that kept opponents guessing his next move and often guessing wrong.
Roy starts off going to the body as he often did to both slow down his opponents and get them to drop their hands a bit so he can go upstairs later on in the fight. Notice he throws a body jab, then a jab to the head before cracking Kelly with that hard right hand to the body. By alternating his targets so often when he commits to actually hitting he lands with far higher accuracy than most.Also that guy in the back is hilarious to watch.
After spending the first round going to Kelly’s body and jabbing. Roy finally begins to open up his brilliant offensive game. Roy is notorious for leading with anything but the Jab (what conventional boxing wisdom says is the best punch to lead with) here and for most of this fight Roy decides to lead with his left hook. Roy is a tough fighter to try and analyze. He can jab with the best of them, when he wants to. He leads with the right hand, when he wants to. But this fight was all left hook leads. The left hook lead is excellent because as the punch lands the impact forces them to your right which makes it very easy for you to take an angle and get to your opponents side where they can’t hit you back. Also by forcing them right you line up your straight right hand perfectly. More on the lead hook later.
Playing with an opponent’s defense
In the first part of the gif you see Roy pawing with a non-commital jab. Kelly responds by narrowing his guard, closing the hole in front of his face but this opens up the side of his head and Roy steps in with a big overhand right that lands just behind Kelly’s ear. Kelly is staggered and gets stuck on the ropes when he regains his balance. Roy steps in with a jab then a left and right to the body before tying up and smothering his opponents return fire.
Level change feints
The guys exchange at range before Roy steps in low and lands a combo to the head. Roy throws a jab that backs Kelly up. Roy changes levels dipping down low to give Kelly the impression that his next attack will go to the body before springing up to land a right hand lead. Roy normally fights from a pretty wide stance (legs far apart) but notice how close together his legs are as he throws this punch. I wish the screen included the feet because what Roy does is get up on the ball of his foot and launching himself off his toes as he throws. It pushes Kelly to the ropes and Roy lands another combo to the body before stepping out of range, denying Kelly a chance to return fire again.
The threat of the punch not thrown
Notice how Roy is putting out his right hand here and letting it hang in between the two. Roy is known through out the boxing world for his lead right hand, by sticking his right hand out there he is doing 2 things, he is presenting the threat of it which makes Kelly very leery about launching his own offense for fear of walking in to the powerful punch which allows Roy to control the tempo of the fight. If Roy actually throws the punch it shortens the distance that the punch has to travel making it much faster to it’s target than if he threw it from the normal position by his jawline.
The first knockdown
Kelly had taken about a dozen lead hooks in this round. Roy sees an opportunity to change it up and catches Kelly with a lead uppercut. Because the hook comes from the side you need to widen your guard to defend the sides of your head, opening up the center. Most fighters would have thrown a jab in this situation, but Roy Jones is not most fighters.
The lead hook
This punch work especially well for Roy because of the low lead hand. Most fighters prefer to look at either the eyes or the chest of their opponent, so when Roy holds his left by his hips his opponent can’t actually see it. By using the hook which comes through an angle usually outside of the field of vision anyway, he is able to land big power punches with virtually no set up at all. Also being borderline super humanly fast doesn’t hurt either. Here Roy lands a big one as Kelly is trying to jab and rocks him with it.
Roy changes targets (again)
So Roy has been battering Kelly with left hooks to the head and he is pretty damn sure that Kelly isn’t going to throw his right hand for fear of taking another stunning punch to the head. So Roy goes to the body. His constant changing of targets make him one of the most difficult fighters in history to stop by just trying to block. Again this punch is underneath the field of vision and Kelly probably didn’t see it until it had already landed.
The second knockdown
Roy feints very, very, well. Notice the slight hand movement and the stutter step before launching this hook. The second he does it Kelly brings up his guard expecting the hook to the head and totally opens up this brutal body shot that puts Kelly on the canvas. So much of boxing is psycology, misdirection and being able to anticipate your opponent and adapt on the fly.
This is just nonsense
Kelly has been covering up and beaten up badly. Roy could continue to bang away at Kelly’s guard for another few rounds but the simple fact is it’s hard to KO somebody who is just trying to survive. Roy decides to give Kelly a shot. He puts his hands behind his back and cracks Kelly with a punch he never sees coming as Kelly fruitlessly jabs at his elusive head. Probably my favorite knock out of all time.
Roy Jones is one of the toughest fighters I have ever had to analyze. Sometimes he is stationary, sometimes he is all footwork and angles. Some say he doesn’t jab much, except for the time he shredded Vinny Paz’s face with them. His unpredictability combined with sublime athleticism make him one of the best fighters I ever had the pleasure to watch.