Jones Jr. to Mix MMA & Boxing

By Mike Harris Feb 12, 2009
Eight-time world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. is moving into MMA, albeit on the promotional side of things.

His Square Ring Promotions will put on “March Badness,” a mixed boxing/MMA card on March 21 at the Pensacola Civic Center in Florida. A light heavyweight boxing match between Jones (52-5) and Omar Sheika (27-8) will be the main event, Jones said at a news conference Wednesday at the venue, where the show will be broadcast live on pay-per-view.

In an interview with Sherdog.com, Jones said he decided to test the waters of MMA promotions “because I respect all kinds of fighters. People are always saying, ‘Boxing this, MMA that.’ But both of those are hand-to-hand combat man-to-man. Anyone who will fight another man straight up like that, I got nothing but the utmost respect for.

“So to cure the stigma that we don’t like MMA or that we’re against it, to prove my point, I’m going to start promoting them too,” Jones said. “And they have a huge fan base too. They love fighting. Boxing. Ultimate fighting. It’s all still fighting.”

Jones said he does not understand the boxing-versus-MMA mentality.

“Why do people keep trying to pull us apart?” he asked. “Why not come together and make for an even bigger situation and make it better for both sports? MMA has something that boxing doesn’t have, which boxing needs to acknowledge.”

Jones said he believes the audience is there for a promotion combining boxing matches with MMA bouts.

“I know there is because a lot of times, the only time people get disappointed in MMA cards is when they don’t give them enough rounds,” he said. “In boxing, you always get enough rounds or a little more than you really want. So how about mixing the two and make it good for everybody? You get enough rounds, plus you get enough action too.”

Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

Roy Jones Jr. would relish
a bout with UFC 185-pound
champion Anderson Silva.
Jones said the boxing skills of some MMA fighters are good enough for them to compete against professional boxers.

“Some of them can,” he said. “But you have to remember, not all of them have a boxing background. But boxing is only one of the components that make up MMA. You have to be good at at least two components: either boxing, either wrestling, or some form of jiu-jitsu or something like that.”

One such MMA fighter whose boxing skills Jones respects is UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who has said he would like to box Jones.

Jones said he would relish the fight.

“That would be a wonderful fight,” he said. “He is a good fighter and a good boxer and he’s quick and he’s tall and he’s left-handed. So he’s the kind of guy that really, in boxing, creates a problem for me.”

Jones said the UFC should allow Silva to fight him.

“They won’t, but why not allow us to come together?” Jones asked. “That’s a fight the people would like to see.”

Jones said the “March Badness” undercard will feature three MMA bouts: Seth Petruzelli (10-4-0) vs. former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall (9-3-0) in a light heavyweight fight, Roy Nelson (13-3-0) vs. Jeff Monson (27-8-0) in a heavyweight bout and former collegiate/WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley against an as-yet unnamed opponent. Petruzelli’s fight will be his first since his spectacular 14-second TKO of Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice, at Elite XC “Heat” last Oct. 4.

In another boxing match on the card, IBF No. 2-ranked cruiserweight B.J. Flores (22-0-1) will fight another as-yet unnamed opponent.
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