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Roy Jones Jr. Unifies Belt

Roy Jones made it look so easy, dancing into the ring then around Reggie Johnson, taunting him, dominating him from start to finish. He even took time to talk to Michael Jordan, who sat ringside.

"I hope everyone had as good a time as I did, because I had a damn good time," Jones said Saturday night after becoming the first undisputed light heavyweight champion in 14 years.

Jones' speed and quickness gave him a huge edge and a huge victory. He won every round on his way to a unanimous decision. Every judge had it 120-106 in favor of Jones, who added Johnson's IBF title to the WBA and WBC crowns he already had.

"Roy was real quick," Johnson said. "I didn't have time to counter his punches. Coming into the fight, I knew I had to give a lot and take a lot of punches."

Johnson was able to reach only one of those goals taking a lot of punches.

Jones, 40-1 with 33 knockouts, landed 273 punches to Johnson's 49, and connected with 63 jabs to 16 for Johnson. CompuBox showed that Jones landed 210 power punches, Johnson 33.

"I was carefully guiding the punches," Jones said, holding his fists aloft. "I've got radar in these things."

It seemed that way. Jones knocked down Johnson twice and repeatedly had him wobbling.

Jones, who weighed 174 pounds, used a straight right 1:58 into the first round to knock down Johnson. The Houston fighter got up quickly, but was bleeding from his right eye.

In the third round, Jones countered a right from Johnson with a left-right combination that sent him to the canvas. Again Johnson got up quickly and the bell ended the round. By that time, blood was streaming from Johnson's eye.

Johnson, 171, was only able to fight back in spurts by the fourth round. The rest of the time he was backing away or covering up. When he managed to get inside, Jones punished him with jabs and uppercuts.

Halfway through the 12-round fight his face was swollen, his white trunks streaked with blood. But Johnson, 39-6-1, kept answering at the bell.

The crowd, which included a big contingent from Jones' hometown of Pensacola, Fla., called for a knockout. There were some boos late in the fight when Jones didn't press his attack. Johnson did go down in the 12th after a solid right from Jones, but it was ruled a slip.

"I could have pressured him and knocked him out, but why would I take a chance on him getting a lucky punch and knocking me out?" Jones said. "That's not very businesslike."

But Jones was not completely businesslike.

He couldn't resist showboating when it became apparent how completely he was dominating the fight. At one point, he backed Johnson to the ropes, looked at Jordan and shouted, `Watch this!" before throwing a flurry of jabs.

"We had the best player ever in the building and at the same time, we had the best boxer in the building," said Jones, himself a fomer professional basketball player.

It was the fifth defense of his titles in the last 18 months for Jones. He became the only fighter to currently hold a unified title and only the third undisputed light heavyweight champion, joining Bob Foster and Michael Spinks.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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