Jones Junior gets a beating from Danny Green (photo: Brendan Esposito)

On December the 2nd 2009, Roy Jones Junior, lost a boxing match to Australia’s Danny Green in 122 seconds. First round knockouts happen in boxing from time to time, it’s a feature of this glorious sport of ours that anyone CAN beat anyone on their day; everyone has a puncher’s chance after all.

At the time RJJ accepted his loss and made the appropriate noises about retirement and the boxing world prepared to say goodbye to one of its greats.

But then, the money started talking and Bernard Hopkins, trying desperately to save his planned multi-million dollar rematch with RJJ, started murmuring about “fast stoppages”. RJJ, as soon as he got back to Pensacola, decided to lodge an appeal with the NSW Combat Sports Authority, demanding that the bout be ruled a no-contest and alleging that Green’s hand wrappings were not up to standard, effectively turning Green’s hands into “offensive weapons”. It’s such a contrast to what RJJ said straight after the fight, “We don’t make excuses, it was a great performance by Danny.” That frame of mind didn’t last too long, did it?

So this is what we have now, one over the hill Yank, attempting to protect his final pay day match against another over the hill Yank at the expense of the man who beat him in one round. Danny Green did the sport of boxing a favour by knocking out RJJ in such dramatic style. By ambushing the Hopkins/Jones Junior rematch in the way he did, he spared us the sight of two wheezing old-timers tapping each other to exhaustion.

RJJ and B-Hop are undoubted legends of boxing, but they aren’t showing a champions class here, they aren’t letting Green enjoy his moment. This all reminds me of Buster Douglas against Mike Tyson. Tyson knocked Douglas down with a brutal uppercut in the 8th; Douglas took a nine and then proceeded to beat Tyson a couple of rounds later. Within minutes, Don King was complaining about alleged slow counts and demanding that Douglas be counted out then, thus scrubbing Tyson’s defeat from the record books. If RJJ wants to leave the sport with ANY dignity, he should man up, swallow his loss and let Danny Green beat up on Hopkins.

Luckily Green’s management team have showed some back bone and have thrown the “cheat” allegations straight back at RJJ’s camp. Green’s manager, Justin Manolikos took a hard shot at RJJ by saying, “Coming from a steroids cheat, it’s a bit of a cheap shot”

Ouch!

So a popular solution to rid the game of cheating in the fall out to Henry’s handball is to ask them to own up.

It seems people want referees to approach players after an incident and ask them, expecting the player to admit to the infringement. What? I’m sorry, but we’re getting dangerously close to the call for the men in the white coats now, it’s only a matter of time before someone is sectioned.

Cheating is rife in the game, and if players can get away with it, they will. Just think about it for a second, and how many of these incidents do you see at every match you go to? Shirt pulling, wrestling in the box, standing on ankles, diving, even claiming for a free kick/throw in/offside (delete as appropriate) when players clearly know it’s not? Even we as fans hopefully call for penalties and free kicks when there’s no chance they’ll be given, do we have to stop that too?

It’s quite frankly ridiculous. Let’s face it here, players are paid handsomely for what they do. They are paid even more when they win. Do you think most of them care HOW they win? Not a chance! And who is to say anyway, that players would be honest when asked by the referee? Can you imagine asking Ashley Cole, the man who claimed to be insulted at Arsenal’s offer of £55,000 a week, if he’d handled a ball in the box and honestly expect a genuine answer? Neither can I.

And besides, if a referee were to ask a player, the player would already know that the referee couldn’t be sure so the battle would be lost. It becomes a completely pointless exercise.

A footballer who displays an act of sportsmanship such as Di Canio, Robbie Fowler or Andrey Arshavin will rightly be lauded for their actions. However, they will always be the exception to the rule. The game has moved to such an extent now that managers and other players demand their teams do everything they can to get that all important win.

To expect everybody in the game to voluntarily cease that habit is quite possibly the most naive suggestion I’ve ever heard.