By Trigo Egbegi
I present this outline largely for the singular benefit of Christian Brother Nathan Oduwole who phoned in from Abuja, entreating me to make myself clear on the subject of demons haunting pro boxing, carried in my last week’s column.
In his query, the reverend gentleman who confessed to having a soft spot for the game could not reconcile the choice of Roy Jones Jnr with the factors that make the noble art of self defense the butt of the world’s wackiest attacks.
Sometimes these attacks make sense. Truly, many of our boys play deep into the hands of the detractors, making the competition even. This minute, they look to be within sight of victory; attacks justified. The next, they back off like a pack of hyenas; overwhelmed by the logic of the more positive philosophy of the game.
From the tone of his reasoning, Mr. Oduwole is not convinced. A character like Roy Jones is far too big a success in the game for the so-called demons to even attempt to tempt. Roy Jones is a prime candidate for The Discovery of The Millennium Award.
But – if you must know – demons are (for) real, spiritually and physically. And demons are daring creatures on the loose who will put to the test any man who let’s himself loose. Remember, even Jesus Christ who showed no weakness was tempted by their big boss.
Demons, in the boxing context, do not necessarily refer to the spiritual/physical creatures on the rampage today. Neither are they the beings that possess the weak souls, nor the ones that direct the carnage unleashed on the earth.
It’s merely the situations that arises when a man chooses to court the pro boxing sport under the most outrageous, most underwhelming conditions. Under such setting, the only likely outcome is that the candidate ends up being used by the sport.
We must learn to never underestimate the boxing sport, despite the glamour and panache it exudes. Plus, the outrageous financial windfalls that come the way of the successful ones.
Pro boxing is, strictly, a no-go area for those who have no business there, in terms of potential and capacity. Besides, this is a sport for the young still exuding energy – not for the aged who stand the risk of putting their health on the line.
Above are the two major classes of candidates that readily serve as canon fodder for the demons in question.
As high as 40% of persons in boxing falls into the first category which parades those merely there to make up the numbers. These are the ones who possess neither ability, nor competition, and thus are unable to take one step beyond the starting point. They are never pre-ordained for success in this business.
Roy Jones does not identify with this category one bit. In fact, he is one of those rare names that were pre-ordained for success in heaven, considering the enormous potential/capacity content he brought into the game. What Roy possessed and accomplished in the ring may never be surpassed in the history of the game.
Yet – for all his overly publicized excellence – Roy Jones is top on the list of guilty Category Two candidates providing shelter for the demons. Simply put, Roy Jones is the biggest name among the 10% of boxers still around and pushing when their time is up.
Roy Jones may have emptied his capacity content and damaged his pro career that 2003 night with his, albeit, successful one-fight championship misadventure into the heavyweight division when beating the Puerto Rican John Ruiz.
The experiment fetched him a princely ten million Dollars into the bargain. But then, he couldn’t conjure the same body chemistry that would return him to the 175-lb class he belonged.
Seventeen years into his glittering career (at age 35) Roy Jones had begun his head-long plunge into the abyss of defeat. Six years on, he still has no clue as to the solution to his self-inflicted damage in which the demons run riot.
•Next week will conclude the sad serial on the demons and their hold on such celebrated heroes as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep and Evander Holyfield.