BOXING : Jones Makes Short Work of Byrd at Home

From Associated Press

Roy Jones Jr.’s fans and neighbors got only a glimpse of their hometown hero Saturday night, but that was all right with them.

Jones retained the International Boxing Federation super-middleweight title by stopping Antoine Byrd at 2:06 of the first round.

Jones brought the sellout crowd of 9,300 to its feet when he entered the ring wearing a maroon-, black- and gold-striped tuxedo jacket. He kept the fans up after the opening bell by knocking down Byrd twice and leaving him helpless along the ropes.


“He let me fool him into trying to trade with me. That’s where he made his mistake. I’m too fast to trade with,” said Jones (28-0 with 24 knockouts).

Jones, at 167 1/2 pounds a half-pound under the class limit, did little in the opening minute, pawing with left-handed Byrd and getting in a few punches. Then, at the one-minute mark, Jones crashed home a right hand to Byrd’s head that hurt him. Jones attacked and dropped Byrd at 1:16 with a right-left combination to the head.

Byrd, 167 1/2, got up immediately and took a mandatory eight count. About 30 seconds later, he went down again from a flurry of punches, but this time he was up at three.

Byrd tried to stay out of harm’s way, but he was too badly hurt to do it. And when Jones crashed two left hooks to the head that sent Byrd reeling off the ropes, referee Bill Conners stopped it at 2:06.

“He could have let it go on, but I was kind of hurt,” admitted Byrd, of Cleveland.

A punch count showed that Jones landed 34 of 46 punches and Byrd landed two of 13.

It was the first 168-pound title defense for Jones, 26, and his 17th knockout in 18 pro fights in his hometown.

Byrd (26-5-1) was ranked No. 1 by the IBF and World Boxing Assn. and No. 3 by the World Boxing Council.


Jones, who got a $1-million bonus recently to sign a six-year deal with HBO, got $1.1 million for the fight. Byrd, 31, made $400,000.

In a preliminary match, Al Cole, 216, the IBF cruiserweight champion, made his heavyweight debut by stopping Mike Dixon, 210, after eight rounds.