Roy Jones Jr offers to fight Klitschko in Russia-Ukraine row
Roy Jones Jr. has hit back at fellow boxing Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko after the Ukrainian questioned the American's "moral compass" due to his relationship with Russia.
Pensacola, Florida native Jones fought in Russia four times towards the end of a glittering career which saw him win belts in four different weight classes and become the only man to start campaigning at light middleweight and then go on to become heavyweight champion.
Taking Russian citizenship in 2015, Jones later explained he wanted to improve Russian-American relations while also feeling more "valued and appreciated" in Russia.
With conflict since breaking out between Russia and Ukraine, however, former two-time heavyweight champion Klitschko has taken aim at Jones, which has evoked a passionate response from the man considered by many to have been the best fighter of the 1990s.
"I have people on both sides of the fence. I don't wanna see nobody die. Nobody fight like that because people die of war. I don't wanna see nobody on either side die," Jones insisted to TMZ.
"I have loved ones on both sides of the fence. You understand me? I got kids on this side, people on that side. I love both sides. I don't want to see nobody die," he added.
The two pugilists were both indicated to the Hall of Fame in recent weeks, and in a video post uploaded on social media, Klitschko said he had a "real question" for one person in Jones.
"Whose side are you on?" Klitschko asked. "On the side of the aggressor, or on the side of the defender of his right to live? I respect you as a fighter but I really question your moral compass."
If it was up to Jones, however, as he made clear in the same conversation with TMZ, there wouldn't even be a conflict in the first place.
"You understand where I'm coming from?" Jones asked.
"So don't try to put me off in there like I'm some guy, 'Oh, he's happy [with] this.' I don't know enough about it to be happy about it.
Thank you, fans and officials. When I was 14 and started my journey in boxing I’ve never dreamed of being among all these champions in the HOF.All of us here have a huge responsibility. It is up to us to build the future of boxing. Keep on punching#HallOfFameCanastotapic.twitter.com/KSX5dhJ9WK— Klitschko (@Klitschko) June 11, 2022
"How could I tell you, I don't know that Russia [is] wrong. I don't know that Ukraine [is] wrong. I don't know who the hell might be right or wrong. And I don't care 'cause that's not my field," Jones also stressed.
Jones went on to say that if he were a "president, senator, or politician", then he would be qualified to argue with Klitschko – whose brother Vitali is the mayor of Kiev in addition to an ex-heavyweight champion himself – on the topic.
As Jones is neither of these things, though, the only matter they can discuss is whether Wladimir thinks he can "whoop" Jones or not.
"If you think you can whoop me, that's a whole different thing. I do still box for a living," Jones pointed out.
"If you want to talk about whooping me, that's one other thing. if you want to do something about it, then me and you can fight anytime," he concluded.
While Jones was last seen in the ring in late 2020 for a popular exhibition bout with Mike Tyson, Klitschko has not laced up gloves since April 2017 when he retired following back-to-back defeats to Brits Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.