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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Roy Jones, the Web and the snowball effect

Roy Jones Jr.
Would Roy Jones Jr. climb into a cage against inferior competition for peanuts? Uh, doubtful.

The Internet is like a bad game of telephone. You remember: Sit in a circle and whisper something to your neighbor, who whispers what he believes you said to his neighbor, and so on. By the time it gets back to you, the message has been completely distorted.

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Stupid game. Never played it.

But the Web does. Somehow, CBS's report that boxer Roy Jones Jr. might be willing to engage Anderson Silva in a mixed-style fight has morphed into Jones contemplating a career change.

During a media conference call Wednesday, Showtime Senior Vice President Ken Hershman responded to Nick Diaz's petition to get Jones for a Strikeforce fight by saying it would "be a very long shot."

Of course it would. Why would Jones be interested in fighting for Strikeforce? Or against Nick Diaz?

If the Silva story is true, it makes a hint of sense: Silva has wanted to box Jones, and Jones was ready to oblige him. There's some kind of mutual admiration society there. For what I'd imagine would be a spectacular amount of money, Jones appears willing to say to hell with it and fight Silva in a cage. Maybe he sees the historical value in it. Maybe he's off the rails. Who knows?

Whatever his motivation, how this revelation translates into Jones begging for any MMA fight he can get is beyond me. Silva is regarded by many as a pound-for-pound great, and by some as the pound-for-pound great. If Jones has an itch to do something radical, Silva is a guy to get out of bed for.

Nick Diaz, by contrast, was bounced from the UFC for failing to deliver. That's a precipitous drop off in competition. If you're going to risk losing -- and Jones would be risking big -- then risk losing to the best.

Worse: Even with CBS driving the wheel, Strikeforce doesn't have the promotional infrastructure of the UFC to make it as big and profitable a fight as it would have the potential to be. And while Hershman said money wouldn't be an issue, I imagine it would turn into one quickly. Jones, loose of marbles or not, isn't going to get triangle-choked for a few hundred grand and some comped tickets.

But wait: It gets better. "I think it's an insult to the integrity of mixed martial arts to think Roy Jones, or any professional boxer, could just come in and fight Nick Diaz in a mixed martial arts context," Hershman said. "In a boxing context, it's completely different."

Gimme a Motrin. This is the same Hershman who colluded with EliteXC and Gary Shaw to employ Z-level brawler Kimbo Slice, whose venues had consisted of freshly mowed lawns and Miami boatyards. Apparently, grass burns carry more weight in his office than Olympic medals and a "Fighter of the Decade" seal from Ring magazine.

All of this smacks of a guy who knows he's getting turned down for a date but tries to save face by saying he wouldn't bother in the first place.

Gimme another Motrin.