He could be Philly’s next great boxer.
Still, the Jones camp has at least one important card up its sleeve: For the past year, Jones has been co-promoted by Top Rank Boxing’s Bob Arum, the iconic promoter who’s put together some of the most celebrated boxing matches of the past 40 years, and who currently counts Pacquiao among his stable of star fighters. Arum recently called Jones “the best of the young welterweights,” and last week he sent out a Top Rank press release saying he was putting Jones on a “short list” of names for Pacquiao to consider fighting in 2012.
“Mike might be the first one to beat Manny in a long time,” says Jackson. “Manny makes a ton of mistakes, and he hasn’t fought a young, hungry tiger like Mike. I think Mike should fight a name guy in September, and then another one early next year, and then we’re ready [for Pacquiao]. Why wait?”
It’ll probably take a convincing win over a familiar name in September to get Mike Jones’ name on the lips of average Philadelphians, much the same way few people pay attention to minor league ballplayers until they’re on the cusp of the bigs. An inked contract to fight Pacquiao will have everyone talking about Jones, and a win will cement his legend and status as the heir to Bernard Hopkins.
If the Pac-Man fight materializes, Jones certainly wouldn’t mind the guaranteed multi-million-dollar payday—he’d see to it that his father gets the best medical care possible, and he’d ensure that his daughters would be taken care of for life. But mostly, it’s about the chance to become a champion.
“It would be a dream come true,” says Jones. “I think about that every day. I work for that every day. I wanna be looked at as one of the greats. I want to leave a legacy so when I’m dead, I’ll still live on. That’s what I want out of this boxing game.”
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4