Boxing: Weight loss makes Jones look weary

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The Independent Online

Roy Jones has been arguably the world's finest fighter for a decade, but on Saturday night in Las Vegas he finally looked like an old man in a fight that he actually won.

Jones is now 34 and in the ring at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino he won a hollow points victory over his nemesis Antonio Tarver but it was a dreadful performance.

Tarver, also 34, did enough in the 12 rounds to deserve the verdict and should have left the ring with his World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title but two of the three judges at ringside voted heavily in favour of Jones. The third returned a draw.

One judge, Glen Hamada, voted 117-111 in favour of Jones. The score means that Jones, in Hamada's opinion, won nine of the 12 rounds, which is an absolute disgrace.

There was talk before Saturday's fight about the struggle that Jones has had losing 18lb and dropping from heavyweight to light-heavyweight.

Back in March, Jones won the World Boxing Association heavyweight title when he predictably beat John Ruiz but he had to drop from 193lb to 175lb for Saturday's fight. It was clear from the start that the weight loss had left him physically drained and nervous about his reserves and that combination allowed Tarver to build a steady lead in a fight that was never a thriller but was always intriguing.

At the fight's dubious conclusion, Jones was the WBC light-heavyweight champion of the world but he immediately announced that his next and only fight would be at heavyweight against Mike Tyson. He said: "It's Tyson, then I'm out.'' Tarver can forget about a rematch and instead concentrate on getting himself back for a challenge at his old, soon to be vacant WBC title.

It was just 10 days ago that Tarver relinquished his International Boxing Federation version of the title and that enabled Sheffield's Clinton Woods to fight Jamaica's Glen Johnson for the vacant title in Sheffield on Friday night.

There was controversy at the end of that fight when a drawn verdict was announced, the title declared vacant and Johnson, like Tarver, left in tears of outrage and frustration.

Meanwhile, Bridgend's Jason Cook won the vacant International Boxing Organisation lightweight title in his home town on Saturday night when he stopped Argentina's Ariel Olveira in round seven.