Pound4Pound, Boxing News

  Mike Jones Preparing To Once
Again Fight Jesus Soto Karass

By Tim Donaldson

On November 13, in front of the crowd gathered at Cowboy Stadium and all those tuning in to the HBO pay-per-view to watch Pacquiao and Margarito battle it out, Mike Jones narrowly defeated Jesus Soto Karass by majority decision. Jones had been looking for a chance to prove himself on the world stage, and it looked, for a time, that he was doing just that. He had Karass up against the ropes in the second round and unleashed a flurry of punches that most fighters would not have survived. But Karass was not most fighters. He survived the flurry, defended himself, and kept throwing punches. As for Jones, he punched himself out and found himself on the defensive for the next three to four rounds.

Jones’ trainer Vaughn Jackson had this to say about the second round. “I was really hoping the ref would stop the fight, but Karass was swinging back. I thought the ref did right by not stopping the fight. But I was hoping that he would stop the fight. I just wanted Mike to take a step back. He saw something nobody else saw and he went for it. It didn’t happen. But if it would have happened, he’d have been a hero. But it didn’t.”

So now, Jones has another fight and another chance to prove that Karass is no real opponent for him. On February 19, the two will meet once again, this time at Mandalay Bay as the co-feature to the Montiel, Donaire fight. It will be the first fight aired on HBO. Manager Doc Nowicki explained how the rematch came about. It wasn’t that either fighter had asked for it, but that HBO thought it was worth televising. “We got a call for it and I asked Vaughn and Mike. The first thing Mike said was absolutely. Actually HBO thought it was a very competitive fight, where in the beginning they thought Mike was going to blow the guy out. They [Karass and team] looked at it as now this fight is going to be twelve rounds. I’ll have two more rounds to wear Mike Jones down. That’s why they took the fight.”

Vaughn Jackson is confident about this fight. “February 19th we are going to beat Soto-Karass. He thinks that he did spectacular, but if you look at the fight, Mike beat himself. Karass didn’t do anything to put Mike on the ropes. Mike punched himself out. Karass had Mike where any fighter would want to have their opponent, vulnerable like that. Any fighter would love to have their opponent where Mike was at, and Karass couldn’t even finish Mike. So what makes him think he is going to be able to finish Mike when Mike is fresh and learned from his mistakes? I don’t think so. So Karass, he is going to have his hands full on the 19th.”

Vaughn is also confident that Mike won the first fight. “It was a close fight but once I looked at the tape, Mike clearly out punched the guy. Karass was applying a lot of pressure, but a lot of that stuff was catching Mike’s arms. Mike was scoring a lot. He threw way more punches than Karass.” Vaughn saw the turning point around rounds six and seven. This was when Jones had his legs back under him and started to get aggressive again. Until that point, Vaughn knew that Mike just had to hang on. Between rounds two and three, Vaughn told Mike “to use his jab and keep moving. And sometime tie him up. If you get a little tired tie him up.” And that’s what Mike did.

Vaughn believes that he and Mike learned a lot from the Soto-Karass fight. But mostly, they learned one thing. “Listen to the corner. That’s the main thing.” The other thing they learned from the fight, “You can’t knock everybody out. You just have to win the fight sometimes.” But don’t think that this means that it will be not be an exciting fight. Vaughn still wants to show Mike off to the world. “It seems like I still have a little unfinished business to do to show everybody that Mike doesn’t fight like this. Mike is a way better fighter than that.”

Vaughn also sees a silver lining to the first fight with Soto-Karass. “Maybe it was good that he looked like this because it opened up doors for a lot of other things. People that didn’t want to fight Mike are now stepping up. It may work out better for us because we are still willing to take them on.”

Whether or not you believe Mike Jones defeated Jesus Soto-Karass the first time around, it is clear that his team has every intention to make you believe that Mike Jones belongs on the world stage. On February 19th at Mandalay Bay and on HBO, Mike Jones will have a second opportunity to show the world who he really is.


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