Chances are Jones-Trinidad will do just fine at the box office. But if by this Wednesday advance sales are weak, perhaps promoter Don King should declare it a retirement match.
Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, Roy Jones and Felix Trinidad will fight in the main event of a spectacle billed as "Bring on the Titans." According to King, the event's title comes from the "inimitable and incomparable" Cyrano de Bergerac, who, according to King, said, "Don't bring me no mortal men, bring me giants!"
Despite Saturday's colorful title, "Bring on the Titans" will involve no title -- no matter how many Jones and Trinidad once accumulated. Neither man is willing to concede this week's fight should be the official and final end of his career, but both might consider it.
Jones has never retired. In 2003, he gained about 20 pounds and decisioned WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz. It was a historical victory, even if Ruiz was less than a historical champion. In Jones' post-fight press conference, light heavyweight contender Antonio Tarver baited him. Jones took that bait and returned to 175 pounds to teach Tarver a lesson eight months later.
The lesson didn't go as well as planned, so Jones gave Tarver a rematch six months after that. The rematch really didn't go as well as planned. For the first time in his career, Jones was starched. In Round 2, he went down and stiff on the canvas for a few seconds before rising and being unable to continue. The image of Jones on his back, legs straight, was the exclamation point for a surprising sentence.
A worse image awaited, though. In September 2004, IBF light heavyweight champ Glen Johnson put Jones on his back for five minutes. After that, fans and boxing insiders began urging Jones to consider retirement. Jones took a year off, then came back for a rubber match with Tarver. Jones lost that fight -- one that he might have promoted as "I Won't Be Knocked out Thrice!"
After his frightening loss to Johnson and frightened loss to Tarver, Jones fought once in 2006 and once in 2007. If one imagines there were no repeat pay-per-view customers for Jones' fights with Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw, it's safe to assume fewer than 80,000 fans have seen Jones fight in 27 months.
Trinidad has retired twice. Until September 2001, he was indestructible. He'd decisioned Oscar de la Hoya at welterweight, decisioned WBA light middleweight champ David Reid six months later, ruined Fernando Vargas and taken WBA middleweight champ William Joppy's belt in the first fight of a middleweight tournament.