Roy Jones Jr. was one of Boxing’s biggest stars for years. Though past his prime, the still skillful Jones capped off his career on UFC Fight Pass Thursday night, perhaps signaling the beginnings of Zuffa Boxing’s endeavors.
Roy Jones Jr. (49) stepped into the boxing ring for the 75th and final time Thursday night, getting his 66th win over journeyman Scott Sigman (30) in a fight that Jones dominated, playing to the crowd at many points and out-boxing the veteran Sigman. Jones won the bout on every judge’s scorecards 98-92, although it was hard to pinpoint any round in which Sigman did anything of significance. Part of Island Fights 46, the match went down in Jones’ hometown of Pensacola, Florida live on UFC Fight Pass. It marked the first time the streaming service has featured anything boxing related.
But Roy Jones Jr. was never supposed to be here. Boxing at the age of 49 against a journeyman with no real significant title on the line, fighting on UFC Fight Pass. Yet circumstances led us to this point. For Roy, it was the beginning of the end when he lost three fights in a row back in the mid-2000’s; he was never able to recapture the past glory of being the dominant force that he was in the 90’s. Most strange, however, was that he was fighting on UFC Fight Pass, a subscription service for MMA’s biggest organization.
Strange until you remember that Dana White teased that the UFC and Zuffa would enter the boxing game in 2018, although he didn’t mention how. On Thursday, we got somewhat of an answer as we watched Jones dance around the ring for 10 rounds on Fight Pass. It’s unknown if the UFC will continue to keep broadcasting boxing cards on fight pass (even hybrid cards, which Island Fights 46 was), or if they chose to air Jones’ final fight due to the significance of a legend retiring.
What we do know is that the boxing legend left the door open for a return. Against but one fighter: UFC legend Anderson Silva. If Jones gets his way and has one final fight against Silva, the UFC will have a hand in it. Silva is currently suspended by USADA due to failing another drug test, and is looking at as much as an 8 year suspension due as a repeat offender on multiple banned substances. Yet it’s still possible for the USADA issues to be worked out. At which point Zuffa will very likely get two in the ring together. It all depends on if the UFC wants it — but why wouldn’t they?
You’d have to assume they would want the fight. In a year where the UFC lacks draws, you’ve got to figure Jones vs Silva in a boxing match would be big news. Never mind their age of the fact that they’re past their prime. It would be a money fight even if it drew a fifth of what McGregor vs. Mayweather did. Or less. Nor would it hold up a division. The allure of getting another crack at a big boxing payday, without having to negotiate with Mayweather or Showtime, has got to be appealing.
With Zuffa Boxing becoming a thing, anything is possible in 2018.