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Not all thrilled by Jones

A win over Derrick Harmon only brings up more questions for some.

By JOHN C. COTEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 26, 2001


TAMPA -- He was impressive at times, breaking Derrick Harmon's right eardrum, forcing the game challenger to quit on his stool after 10 rounds, and showing off the fastest hands in light heavyweight history. But it wasn't enough.

It never is with Roy Jones Jr. No one at the post-fight news conference seemed to care too much about his victory, or blown away by it. As always with Jones, the biggest question was: Who's next?

For the first time all weekend, talk of Jones moving up to heavyweight to meet Evander Holyfield or Lennox Lewis, or dropping to 168 pounds to fight Felix Trinidad or Bernard Hopkins, was mute.

Instead, another light heavyweight was bandied about -- WBO champion Dariusz Michalczewski. All it took was one question -- "Why won't you fight Dariusz" -- to get Jones agitated. For the rest of the news conference, he kept referring to the questioner as Michalczewski's "friend" and "cousin."

Jones' answer was the same it had been all weekend.

"I don't know, is he ever going to come to the United States?"

Michalczewski has never fought outside of Europe. Jones' reasoning for refusing the fight, though he says Michalczewski has turned down his offers, is simple and seems to makes good boxing sense: Why should boxing's only undisputed champion fight in a challenger's hometown?

"I ain't going to Germany to fight no German; that don't make sense," Jones said. "That's just a dumb business move. I'm going to beat him, but beating him over there wouldn't be good enough.

"If he wants me that bad, then come over here. It ain't that hard to find me."

If Michalczewski's plan is to get Jones so mad he takes the fight in Germany, it won't work. "I ain't doing it," Jones said.

But clearly, if there is one opponent Jones wants to get his hands on, it's Michalczewski, who repeatedly has called him out the past six months.

"There comes a time when I get tired of hearing him," Jones said. "When I get tired of hearing him, money don't matter no more. You keep on calling Roy Jones, Roy Jones, Roy Jones, you better lock your door when you go to sleep at night because you might wake up one morning and he'll be standing over you."

The Michalczewski fight, or a matchup against Tampa resident Antonio Tarver, who was impressive winning on the undercard Saturday, could help bring Jones the kind of respect he has not been getting. Though he had no trouble with Harmon, it was almost a friendly sparring match as the fighters tapped gloves after almost every round. Jones even admitted he liked Harmon when asked why he didn't try to finish him.

"Imagine if I was hitting someone I didn't like," Jones said.

Someone like Michalczewski.

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