What a difference a year can make in the boxing landscape. In early 2009, the welterweight division was home to many of the big names in boxing: Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito. Now many of those fighters have moved up to 154, or taken a sabbatical away from the sport. What some fans may see as a disappointment, rising welterweight Mike Jones views as an opportunity.
The Philadelphia contender will get his biggest exposure next Saturday (November 13) when he fights Jesus Soto Karass on the undercard of Pacquiao-Margarito. Coming up in Joe Fraziers gym, Jones learned early on the importance of dedication and hard work in boxing. But will be that be enough to help him handle the bright lights of the big stage?
AllHipHop.com: Since youre an up and comer many casual fans may not be familiar with you. When did you start boxing?
Jones: I started when I was 15 years old as an amateur. I used to play basketball and football but nothing too serious. I wanted to box and my dad took me down to Joe Fraziers gym in north Philly. And thats when my amateur career began and I just stuck with it. I turned professional at 22 years old. And here I am now.
AllHipHop.com: One of the hot-button topics in the sport is the matchmaking, especially when it comes to prospects and fledgling contenders. How do you feel youve been matched up five years into your career?
Jones: I think its been going along pretty good. Im learning on the job. Im getting better and better, but Im still making mistakes. Every fighter does, but everything is starting to fall into place.
AllHipHop.com: Even though youve never weighed more than 148 for a fight, you look a lot bigger and stronger than many of your fellow welterweights
Jones: I know Im in the top of my class as far as strength in the welterweight division. Im not sure I am the strongest, but definitely one of.
AllHipHop.com: You like to trade up close and walk guys down. Will we see any changes for this fight?
Jones: Im looking to box a little bit more. Karass is pretty much a bruiser; he likes to come straight in at you and throw a lot of punches. Im going to give him angles and a good jab. Well see how he handles that.
AllHipHop.com: Jesus Soto Karass has a tendency to throw low blows and lead with his head. The latter put a nasty cut on Alfonso Gomez in his last fight. Is that a new challenge for you?
Jones: Yeah, definitely have to be aware of that so I have the chance to fight. I just have to make sure that caution doesnt take away from my game plan.
AllHipHop.com: When you look at tapes of yourself, where are the areas youre looking to improve in?
Jones: I want to improve on my balance. I want my legs a lot stronger. And master my jab. The fights will go a lot easier if I throw it correctly. Thats about it. I can improve those a whole lot.
AllHipHop.com: Who are the fighters you enjoy watching in your division?
Jones: I like guys Andre Berto, hes a good talent. Paul Williams is good, although he moves around he says he can still make 147. There are more guys, but theyre not coming to the top of my head right now.
AllHipHop.com: you might be drawing a blank because a lot of titlists are now non-American fighters? How willing are you to travel to unify the belts?
Jones: I would like to fight in the U.S. because a lot of things happen over overseas. They tend to rob you out there. I dont have a problem beating someone out there as long as things are fair.
AllHipHop.com: The ironic thing is that a little over a year ago, the division was packed with name fighters like Mayweather, Cotto, Mosley and Margarito. Has there been talk about you moving around in weight?
Jones: I really havent thought about it too much. I think well stick with welterweight since I dont have a problem making weight.
AllHipHop.com: Any nervousness since this will be the highest profile fight of your career fighting on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard?
Jones: Not at all. Every fight I feel is my biggest. I feel Im defending a title any time I fight. Im excited either way. When its over, Ill look back like wow, that was a big event. As far as my mind state now, Im focused on taking care of business.
AllHipHop.com: Working under Joe Frazier, whats the best advice he gave you?
Jones: Work hard. The boxing game is crazy. He used to always say you can get your brain shook, your money took, and your name in an undertakers book. You have to do all the right things and never slip up. You cant go outside yourself, you have to stay true to the game to be treated right. The best advice is hard work every time I stepped in the gym.
There was no talking. You got in there and got your stuff together. You train non-stop. When its all done, then you can start talking [laughs].
AllHipHop.com: We all have our favorite fighters. Who are you top five all time?
Jones: Id have to Muhammad Ali. He was very fast, smart, and he put his punches together. One thing I loved was that he was very tough.
I love Joe Frazier because he had a lot of power and was persistent. He had a great left hook, and I know him [laughs].
Tommy Hearns had a great jab and a wicked right hand.
Georgie Benton was a great defensive fighter. Guys like a Floyd Mayweather roll with their shoulders like Georgie Benton used to do. I think he started it.
Evander Holyfield, I love his toughness and countering ability. Georgie Benton trained Evander Holyfield for a little bit.
Bernard Hopkins for how great defensively he is. He always executes his game plan to perfection. I loved the way he took apart Felix Trinidad.
Was that five?
AllHipHop.com: That was six, well count B-Hop as a bonus. Any closing thoughts?
Cool. [laughs] Im very excited and have been training very hard. I cant wait for the world to see me in action. I know for a fact they will say Im one of the best out there.
Mike Jones vs. Jesus Soto Karass will be featured on the undercard of the November 13 card headlined by Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito. The PPV will be live from Dallas Stadium. Tickets are still available via.www.ticketmaster.com
Top 50 Knockouts of All Time
I always love compilations like this. The Boxing Union YouTube took considerable time in making this awesome clip of the top KOs in boxing history. Of course, you can argue lists like this all day. There are a few fights I would have included like Johannson-Machen, Mercer-Morrison, Gatti-Gamache, Tua-Ruiz, and Peter-Williams. But theres a good number of older clips Ive never seen before, so it more than evens out. Enjoy.
Bute Signs Three Fight, Six Million Dollar Deal with Showtime
Lucian Butes time at HBO is over. The IBF super-middleweight confirmed a return to the Showtime network worth six million dollars.
Bute was the odd man out when Showtime started its Super Six round-robin boxing tournament. The event locked up the divisions top stars for nearly two years, and Butes camp claim they were never even asked to participate. As a result, Bute signed with HBO last year.
To date, Lucian Bute has faced Librado Andrade and Edison Mirando on HBO, winning both fights by knockout. But his last defense in October against Jesse Brinkley was not picked up by the network. HBO planned to match him in March 2011 against Kelly Pavlik, who was originally supposed to have his comeback fight next week on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard.
Pavlik suffered a rib injury and pulled out. It makes it very unlikely that hed face Bute in what would be his first fight in nearly a year. That left Bute with no big name options under HBO.
The three fight contrat ensures that Bute will face the winner of the Super Six tournament, which holds Stage Three bouts this weekend (Allan Green vs. Glen Johnson) and on November 27 (Carl Froch vs. Arthur Abraham). On the latter date, tournament leader Andre Ward will face Sakio Bika in a non-Super Six bout due to the withdrawal of Andre Dirrell.
At press time, its rumored that Butes financial guarantee can increase if Showtimes subscriptions rise during his deal.
Showtime (11PM)- Edwin Rodriguez vs. James McGirt, Jr
Dyah Davis vs. Aaron Pryor, Jr
Showtime (10PM)- Juan Manuel Lopez (WBO featherweight champion) vs. Rafael Marquez
Prediction: Lopez TKO5
Allan Green vs. Glen Johnson (Super Six Sem-Final Qualifier)
Prediction: Johnson TKO10
HBO (11:15 PM)- Zab Judah vs. Lucas Matthysse (IBF junior welterweight eliminator)
Prediction: Judah Unanimous Decision
Robert Guerrero vs. Vincente Escobedo
Prediction: Guerrero Unanimous Decision
News & Notes
– EXCLUSIVE: Pacquiao Denies Bad Training Camp Rumors
– Top Ranks Pacquiao-Margarito Conference Call Transcript
– Roach on Why Pacquiao Beats Mayweather: He doesnt know how to fight southpaws
– David Lemieuxs KO of Hector Camacho: Knockout of the Year Contender?