Jones lined up for tilt at Hamed crown

America's Junior Jones has emerged as candidate for Prince Naseem Hamed's next featherweight title defence.

America's Junior Jones has emerged as candidate for Prince Naseem Hamed's next featherweight title defence.

Jones, a former WBO super-bantamweight champion, outpointed Tracey Harris Patterson last night to strengthen his claims for a date with the Prince in March or April.

It is a fight which is interesting Lou DiBella, the senior vice-president of cable network Home Box Office, who is beginning to plan for Hamed's next assignment.

Ideally, DiBella would like to pit Hamed with either super-bantam champion Erik Morales (WBC) or Marco Antonio Barrera (WBO) - twice a Jones victim - but negotiations are proving difficult and Jones would be ready-made, good class opposition.

Hamed-Jones should have happened in 1998, but the contract had to be torn up when Jones was beaten by Kennedy McKinney on the same night the Prince made his American debut against Kevin Kelley at Madison Square Garden.

For the moment, Hamed and HBO are reflecting on the awful wrestling match with WBC champion Cesar Soto in Detroit last month.

But DiBella still rates Hamed as the best nine-stoner in the world by some distance.

DiBella said: "Naz knows that next time he has to put on as much of a show in the ring as he does on the way to the ring.

"He knows what he has to do, and I'm comforted by the fact he has said to me personally I want the biggest fights.

"But right now, Morales' promoter Bob Arum doesn't want to talk, and I'm in conversations with Frank Warren about Barrera. He is asking for a lot of money, but we'll continue to talk.

"Jones has beaten Tom Johnson and Patterson back-to-back. And a Jones-Jamed fight is a great match-up. I'm confident Naz will come back in March or April against a very high quality opponent and I think he know what he has to do this time.

"It takes a whole lot of class for a fighter to apologise for a performance, especially when he's unified a title and I was pleased with him (Hamed) for doing that.

"It re-forced my view that he's a good kid and a good fighter. For all the criticism he gets, some of which may be deserved, he is still the best featherweight in the world and I don't think anyone's a close second."

Former WBC champion Luisito Espinosa is another opponent being mentioned for Hamed, but Di Bella adds: "Espinosa is an old fighter, he lost to Soto. And I feel that Espinosa against Hamed might be as unpleasing a match style-wise as Soto-Hamed."

Hamed has until the end of the month to decide which of his titles he keeps, the WBO or the newly-won WBC.

World Boxing Council president Jose Sulaiman recently extended the decision deadline to November 30.

Unfortunately, the politics of the alphabet men will not allow Hamed to retain both belts.

HBO, for their part, are not concerned either way. And titles are not necessarily their priority, as long as they screen good, appealing fights.

European heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko, brother of WBO holder Vitaly, made a successful American television debut by stopping Phil Jackson, a loser to Lennox Lewis in 1994, in the second round on Friday.

The German-based Ukranian, who won the 1996 Olympic gold medal, used a four-punch combination to complete the job after keeping the shorter Jackson on the end of his jab in the opening round.

The brothers Klitschko are big in Germany and are threatening to become major players on the heavyweight scene.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003