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Roy Jones Jr. heads biggest boxing card in Charlotte since 1994

Boxers often have to adjust during a fight to counter an opponent. Promoters often have to adjust before the fight begins.

The Charlotte boxing card featuring Roy Jones Jr., the biggest name to fight in Charlotte since Thomas Hearns fought here 21 years ago, has been moved.

The fight was moved from March 7 to March 6, and from The Park Expo and Conference Center to the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. The arena is about 15 miles past the UNC Charlotte on N.C. 49.

The 10-bout card will feature several highly regarded fighters. One of them is Courtney Blocker, a super lightweight who, like Jones, fights out of Pensacola, Fla. He’s 4-0 with four knockouts and has yet to go more than two rounds.

A top fight on the undercard will match welterweights Eli Addison, 11-3 with four knockouts, against Miguel Cruz, who is 6-0 with five knockouts. Addison is from Winston-Salem but fights out of Charlotte. Cruz is from Lake Mary, Fla. He recently trained in Ohio with superstar Adrien Broner.

As loaded as the undercard is, Jones’ presence is what distinguishes it.

Talking about the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time and failing to include Jones is like talking about the greatest point guards of all time and failing to include Magic Johnson. Jones advanced from weight division to weight division and title to title like a kid advancing from one grade to another.

Jones is 59-8 with 42 knockouts and has won titles in nine weight classes.

Jones turned 46 last month. He can’t deliver 12 rounds of the speed and power that set him apart. But he can offer moments. That’s why, in the local and regional boxing communities, fans and boxers talk about this fight.

The moments Jones offers are not infrequent. Jones has not lost since May 2011. He’s won his last five fights. He knocked out his most recent opponent, Hany Atiyo, in Russia. Atiyo was the bigger man and, at 31, the younger man. Jones dropped Atiyo with a devastating first-round body shot, and the younger man failed to get up.

A cruiserweight can weigh up to 200 pounds. That’s 46 more than the weight at which Jones began his boxing career. He typically fights at 193 pounds.

Gracious and interested in fighting in Charlotte, Jones told me in an interview last month that he planned to fight perhaps two more fights before attempting to win one more title.

His opponent will be Willie Williams of Baltimore. I’ve heard Williams called “For Real” and “Willie the Thrill.” A nickname enhances a boxer’s resume; the more you have, the better you are – as long as they’re not derogatory.

Consider the opportunity Williams will be presented: No matter what you do for a living, don’t you want to measure your work against one of the all-time best?

“Roy has had his time,” Williams says. “Now it’s my time to shine.”

Williams, who won his last fight by a unanimous decision, is 36 and has a record of 14-8-2 with four knockouts. Being in the ring with Jones is cool. Beating him would mean

“One night, one fight, can change my life,” Williams says.

Tickets start at $50 and range to $300, and VIP tables are available.

For more ticket information go to Carolinabrawl.com.

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