How many of us that have watched a Roy Jones ring entrance will ever forget it? In most cases he rapped his own entrance music while being accompanied by dancers, dancing in sync with his raps. The best part about it was that Roy Jones had just as much showmanship in the ring as he displayed in his entrances. But in the prime of his career, more times than not his entrance lasted longer than his fights. Love him or hate him, his showmanship made him a ton of money over the span of his career.
Many boxing fans spent money to watch all his PPV’s in fears they would miss Roy toys with his opponents with his hands behind his back or wind up and throw a windmill straight right and knock out his opponent. Other boxing fans spent money to watch his PPV’s in hopes that Roy would finally get knocked out, or someone would embarrass him. But regardless of whether you were cheering for Roy to land that one last body punch to stop Clinton Wood or whether you were cheering for Roy to stay on the mat at the end of the Tarver fight, Roy Jones’ personality gave the fans something to cheer for, look forward to, and pay money to see.
In his prime, nothing could get in his way. He was the biggest name in boxing. In the early 2000’s Roy Jones vacates the heavyweight championship and goes back home to Super Middleweight. He takes on Antonio Tarver and struggles to come away with a decision. The following year he rematches Tarver and is knocked out for the first time in his career. Everyone though he would be taking a tune-up fight then rematching Tarver and winning. Instead, he takes on Glen Johnson and is knocked out. At this point everyone thought he would call it quits but he unsuccessfully fights Antonio Tarver for a trilogy.
Right around this time a new name is emerging in boxing. Its not Tarver, it isn’t Johnson, it isn’t Calzaghe (who had held a title for over almost 8 years at this point), its Floyd Mayweather Jr. To the typical boxing fan, all people knew about Floyd Mayweather was that he was very loud outside the ring and he was backing it up inside the ring. At this point Floyd was collecting titles beating names like Diego Corrales, José Luis Castillo, Demarcus Corley, Phillip N’dou, Zab Judah, and Carlos Baldomir. At this point Floyd had compiled a good resume, but not great. What got him noticed in the public’s eye was his personality. Floyd has never been known for windmill lead rights, wide looping hooks, or even showboating too much in the ring he has found success by letting his personality show outside the ring, and showcasing his skills inside the ring.
What Floyd and Roy both had in common is they brought what made professional wrestling successful to boxing. Good guys and bad guys. Many people paid to see Roy deliver devastating blows, many paid in hopes he was on the receiving end of a devastating blow. Many people pay to watch Floyd showcase his hand speed, technical skills, and counter punching ability all while showing the patients and discipline to do this over 12 rounds, without getting hit, while in route to pitching a perfect game. Others pay to see Floyd fight in hopes that this will be the one game where the pitcher makes a mistake which costs him the game.
As Floyd still continues to rack up massive paydays and constantly pitch no hitters, we take a look at who is up next as the big star in boxing. There’s so much young talent but many are looking to Adrian Broner. Just like Floyd and Roy, Broner has a strong personality, is very boastful, pompous, and he’s shown a lot of potential in the ring. Broner so far has looked like a mix of Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones. He has Floyd’s fighting style, patient, defensive, but Roy Jones’ showmanship in the ring. He dances, he trash talks to his opponents, he dances his way to the ring while different rappers provide the live music for his ring entrance.
Are there better fighters in the game right now, absolutely. Andre Ward comes to mind. But Adrian Broner’s personality stands out supreme in an industry where people want to see good guys and bad guys. Just like Floyd and Roy, Broner has no problem being the bad guy, as long as it puts people in the seats, and earns him PPV buys. It will be interesting to see whether Broner is able to live up to the bars set by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones, or whether he will get caught up in the inevitable spotlight and take his mind off of boxing.