Jones knocked out by Lebedev
Denis Lebedev knocked out Roy Jones Jr. in the final round of their non-title cruiserweight fight in Moscow on Saturday, handing the American his third consecutive defeat.
With seconds remaining in the 10th round, Lebedev landed four fierce lefts with Jones on the ropes, where he had been for much of the bout. Jones, once the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, bowed and shook his head before taking one last right hook from the Russian and falling deadweight to the canvas.
Many had predicted a much quicker demise, but Jones managed to stave off the Russian, ranked the world's top cruiserweight, with a combination of swagger and counterattack that has become the hallmark of this late stage of the 42-year-old's career.
''I'm so happy with this win, we put so much into this fight,'' Lebedev said. ''Jones was everything we expected: quick, strong, cheeky. ... But I pulled through.''
Jones is 54-8, while Lebedev improved to 22-1.
''It was a great shot, I can't take nothing away from him,'' Jones said about the final punch that knocked him out. ''He was a tough competitor.''
Jones, the biggest name to have fought in Russia, said the crowd's reception at the Dynamo Arena made it ''one of the most exciting bouts of my career.''
There was no title at stake, but the win may give Lebedev a second title shot. His only career defeat was a controversial points loss against Marco Huck in Germany last year.
The fight was Jones' attempt to salvage some glory in the twilight of his career. He had lost his last two fights, against Danny Green and Bernard Hopkins last year. Observers have speculated his retirement is imminent.
''I really don't know what I'm going to do now,'' Jones said. ''I'm going to think about it.''
In Saturday's fight, he showed flashes of his former power and showboated in the early rounds to an appreciative crowd, shaking his head theatrically and dancing back into his corner at the bell. But he was ultimately outmaneuvered and outpunched by his more youthful opponent.
The 31-year-old Lebedev used almost all of the 10 rounds to soften up Jones for the knockout, chasing the American around the ring and forcing him into a defensive stance against the ropes to ride out flurries from Lebedev in every round.
Jones seriously rocked Lebedev just once, in the ninth round, when he broke away from the ropes and connected with a big right jab-left hook combination.