Enzo Maccarinelli flattens legendary Roy Jones Jnr in Moscow

Enzo Maccarinelli flattens legendary Roy Jones Jnr in Moscow

By Dewi Powell: Swansea’s Enzo Maccarinelli (41-7, 33KO) has knocked out American legend Roy Jones Jnr (62-9, 45KO) in their non-title cruiserweight fight in Moscow, Russia.

46-year-old Jones Jnr was pinned on the back foot from the first bell and unraveled in the fourth of a scheduled ten rounds. A Maccarinelli attack led to Jones stumbling to the floor and a follow-up phase saw Jones Jnr peppered with a flurry, blinding the ageing fighter to a brutal right hand to the side of the head. Jones Jnr was unconscious before he hit the floor and Maccarinelli knew it, walking to a neutral corner where he went to one knee and prayed for his vanquished opponent.

The high profile win might put the Welshman in the mix for a world title shot, especially in Russia where they have two champions, WBC belt holder Grigory Drozd (40-1, 28KO) and WBA ‘Regular’ ruler Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21KO), who stopped an out-of-sorts Maccarinelli in three rounds in 2009.

It was Jones’ first fight since becoming a fully-fledged dual-Russian citizen with the special blessing of President Vladimir Putin. It’s understood that government representatives from the Kremlin were in attendance at the Vlad Hrunov promoted show at the VTB Arena.

The loss is likely to pull down the curtain on Jones Jnr’s career, a fine one that has included a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games and lengthy period of being recognised as the pound-for-pound best boxer across all weight categories. Jones has been in decline for 12 years and has often fended off wishes from the wider boxing community to call time on his 26-year time in the professional code. The question posed was whether this was the end of Jones Jnr’s illustrious career and Maccarinelli answered emphatically.

It’s difficult to see how the shoe-in Hall of Fame entrant can come back from the defeat, even if he’s to continue at the lower level of recent years. While Maccarinelli may no longer be recognised as one of the 200lb weight categories best anymore, the former WBO world champion was far above the caliber of opposition Jones has faced since being knocked out against Dennis Lebedev in 2011, ironically also in Russia. Despite amassing an eight fight unbeaten streak, which also included five early victories, it told that Jones Jnr hadn’t faced anyone with Maccarinelli’s size, height and power.

When odds were first available on the fight, the bookmakers opened by pricing Maccarinelli at 11/4 to stop Jones Jnr. That shortened to 5/2 after the weigh-in when the two sized up against each other as the far shorter and stockier Jones Jnr (14st 1lbs) owned an unconvincing weight advantage over Maccarinelli (13st 7lbs).

It was Maccarinelli’s first significant fight since an injury stopped a challenge to WBA Regular light-heavyweight titlist Juergen Braehmer in April 2014 and the biggest win since stopping Ovill McKenzie in August 2013, proving that he can still compete against fringe world-class contenders.

In the aftermath of some sickening knockout losses, there have often been calls for Maccarinelli – a former Commonwealth, British and European champion – to retire but the resilient veteran has carried on, worked hard and proved doubters wrong. Under the guidance of Gary Lockett, whose stock as a young trainer is increasing on an almost weekly basis, Maccarinelli now makes better use of his natural talent. He appears to be smarter and it’s aided by his role as a coach at Bonymaen Boxing Club.

Elsewhere on the show, there were two further Welsh wins for the Lockett stable. Maerdy’s super-middleweight Alex ‘Bad News’ Hughes (7-0, 4KO) extended his impressive start as a professional to seven straight wins with a unanimous decision victory against Murad Dalkhaev (5-6, 2KO).

The 21-year-old got ready for the scheduled six rounder by packing his bags and flying to Dublin to spar Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan ahead of the Irishman’s WBA world title eliminator, which he lost to Chris Eubank Jnr tonight in London. Those sacrifices in preparation paid off and the counter-punching switch-hitter never looked in danger of being defeated. When he wasn’t being warned for pushing, Hughes patiently chose when to throw with spite and accuracy, gradually slowing down Dalkhaev’s approach with thudding body punches.

Earlier on, Pontyberem’s lightweight Zack Davies (5-0, 1KO) recorded the first knockout win of his professional career, halting Russia’s Alexander Saltykov (9-29-3, 5KO) in the fourth round. Wales’ 64KG representative in the 2014 Commonwealth Games suffered a shock knockdown in the third round, losing a round for the first time since switching from the amateur code 10 months ago but he recovered to knock Saltykov out less than three minutes later.

Image by BoxNation TV.

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