Roy Jones Jr vs Bobby Gunn PPV: Is free American cable missing out?Written by Lee Cleveland
On Friday in Wilmington, DE, fight legend Roy Jones Jr (64-9, 46 KO) faces former bare-knuckle champion and part-time boxer Bobby Gunn (21-6-1, 18 KO).
Jones vs Gunn will be distributed live via television and online on Pay-Per-View (PPV).
Of course, some will ask: Why is Jones vs Gunn on PPV? After all, Roy is arguably 20-24 years past his prime and Gunn isn't exactly an elite opponent.
And no, this fight won't be a blockbuster at the box office.
Perphaps the alternative answer/question would be: Why isn't this fight on free American cable?
Would Jones vs Gunn be a hit on SPIKE TV for instance?
Sure, Roy is only 14-8 in his last 22 bouts and has been knocked out six times. However, even at 48, Jones Jr can occasionally show flashes of brilliance in the ring. Moreover, the name, itself, 'Roy Jones Jr' is still significant to a lot of people.
Jones vs Gunn PPV
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Friday, February 17
9 PM ET/6 PM PT
Casino at Delaware Park
PPV Price: $29.99
If promoted well (let's say on SPIKE TV), Jones vs Gunn may have been a blockbuster.
It would have been a novelty of sorts...
All of us have talked to former fans of boxing who claimed to be diehards in the 1980s and 1990s. They remember Roy Jones Jr well, and many would have tuned in for nostalgic reasons if nothing else.
Many of these fans, who stopped following the sport in the late 1990s and early 2000s, have never heard of fellas like Adrien Broner or Gennady Golovkin.... But they know RJ.
And while they, like most hardcore fans today, wouldn't shell out $30 anymore to see Roy fight, many would enjoy watching the 90s legend ply his trade on free TV.
Combine Roy's name recognition and legacy with Gunn's 'tough guy,' bare-knuckle background and Jones vs Gunn is quality entertainment on a Friday night.
Name recognition in boxing, like politics, means a lot. As Americans have witnessed in its recent presidential election, a familiar name can be golden, even if the candidate bearing that name is the most flawed of them all.
Perhaps networks sometimes put too much emphasis on win-loss records and title implications, and not enough on name recognition and overall popularity?
Roy Jones Jr isn't a top fighter anymore but given he's the most recognized active American fighter today, free cable outlets may have missed out on a sweet ratings opportunity.
Jones dominated the boxing scene from 1993 to 2004 and was an exceptional multi-talented fighter with incredible speed, explosiveness and technical prowess.
The consensus Fighter of the 1990s, the great Jones, Jr has won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters ever.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.