Basketball: Jones the boxer to try for net gains

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Budweiser League officials have said it is not a hoax. Roy Jones Jnr, the International Boxing Federation super-middleweight champion, is ready to quit the sport to pursue a basketball career in England.

League and club officials said yesterday that Jones plans to retire after his defence on 12 January against Merqui Sosa and come to England for a trial with the London Towers.

"It's extremely serious," Rob Webb, the Budweiser League spokesman, said. "This is real. We've been in regular contact with his agent. It's very much the case that he'll call boxing a day after his fight and will come and try out with the Towers. He'll have to prove himself. If he doesn't make it in London, he can try out with some other clubs."

Jones, considered the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, is reported to be a good prospect, who has practised recently with the New York Knicks. "He's really using us," Rich Dennis, the Towers spokesman, said. "The NBA is his objective. It would be his stepping stone to get some pro experience."