Champion-Not many fights left

Saturday, February 2, 2002

MIAMI -- Roy Jones Jr. can see the end of the road.

The undisputed light heavyweight champion thinks 2003 might be his last year in boxing. He cites his age and injuries and says there's "not many" more big fights left in him.

"The challenges are there, although I'm not as hungry as I used to be," the 33-year-old Jones said this week during his three-week training stint in Miami for his fight tonight against Glen Kelly. "Your body is a lot different, and injuries start showing up."

Jones rarely has been challenged since he turned pro after the 1988 Olympics. His only loss was on a disqualification in 1997 to Montell Griffin, whom he later knocked out in the first round.

The Pensacola, Fla., fighter, who was a has held titles in three weight classes, will carry the WBC, WBA and IBF 175-pound titles into the match against Kelly, a 30-year-old Australian fighting for the third time in the United States.

"I fight guys who nobody has beaten yet or have been on rolls, on a winning streak, or they might be at the top of their game," Jones said.

"That's what I want. I know at 40 I'm not going to be able to take on the guys I'm taking on. But when you're pound-for-pound the best, you're supposed to adjust to anything, but you're also supposed to stand out."

Jones has had constant struggles with sore hands and he admits the wear of years of punishment are piling up.

"I rely on my experience," Jones said. "I've been in this game for a long time. I still keep myself in good shape, and I know how to deal with everything."

Kelly, 28-0-1 with 15 knockouts, is younger, stronger and bigger than the quick, flashy Jones, and says he plans to knock out the champion. Jones, 45-1 with 36 KOs, said his bad hands would be a factor only late in the fight, should it get that far.

Kelly, 30, also believes that Jones' interests outside the ring are a distraction. But for Jones -- who once played in a U.S. Basketball League game and won a fight on the same day -- his new rap CD and music videos are another chance to expand his interests.

"The music is beautiful, but it doesn't take away from the concentration," said Jones, who performed three songs from his CD "Round One: The Album" at a South Beach nightclub this week.

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