Iconic prizefighter Roy Jones Jr. believes Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko ordered his place on Ukraine’s blacklist as a violator of the state’s border.
Jones (62-8, 45 KOs), who has twice competed in Moscow and once in Krasnodar over the past four years, filed for Russian citizenship last Thursday.
Ukraine and Russia have been clashing since Vladimir Putin’s forces seized the Crimean peninsula in early 2014.
The 44-year-old Vitali (45-2, 41 KOs), a former WBC heavyweight titlist who was one of the central figures of the Euromaidan protests, was elected mayor of Kiev in May 2014. Vitali, who helped other opposition leaders successfully force the resignations of President Viktor Yanukovych and his cabinet members, unofficially won 57 percent of the capital city’s vote. Vitali’s primary responsibilities are to manage the budget and oversee tax collection from Ukraine’s largest and most profitable companies.
“I asked President Putin for a Russian Passport so that it would be easier for me to travel back and forth and also it would help me and my company business wise. But this is nothing new. I have been talking about getting a Russian Passport now for a couple of years,” said Jones, 46, who was named the 1990s “Fighter of the Decade” by the BWAA.
“I know the Klitschko brothers have been itching to fight me, and it could be that this is their way of calling me out. So hey, if Vitali or Wlad want to settle this over a friendly sparring session for 12 rounds for the world heavyweight title anywhere in the world outside of Ukraine, including Crimea, they know how to reach me. Otherwise, this nonsense of Ukraine blacklisting me is a transparent attempt to politicize a legitimate business endeavor that we are pursuing with peace in our heart to help restore and build bridges between the East and the West.”
Vitali essentially retired from boxing to pursue politics in September 2012. Unlike Vitali, the 39-year-old Wladimir (64-3, 53 KOs) remains active in the squared circle and he is preparing to defend The Ring, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts against Tyson Fury on October 24 at the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. Wladimir, who earned gold as a Ukrainian at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and is currently ranked third in the pound-for-pound rankings, has emerged triumphant in 22 consecutive outings since suffering a TKO at the hands of Lamon Brewster in April 2004. Of greater significance, Wladimir has won 18 straight championship contests and continues to threaten Joe Louis’ longstanding record of 25 successful defenses.
Jones, a six-time world titlist who has collected crowns in four weight divisions, was an untouchable superstar in his prime. Junior’s peak moment as a pro likely occurred in March 2003 when he unanimously outscored John Ruiz to become the first middleweight king to capture a heavyweight strap in more than 100 years. Regrettably, far removed from being one of history’s premier pound-for-pounder’s, Jones is now a shopworn figure who strictly battles for monetary reasons.
Although the mismatch would never be sanctioned, a fight between Jones and Wladimir would be a lopsided bloodbath. While Wladimir rarely absorbs punishment and defies Father Time, Jones is a spent great who jeopardizes his health every time he enters the ring.
Roy Jones Jr. should retire before ever again mentioning “a friendly sparring session for 12 rounds for the world heavyweight title.”