Anthony Pettis managed to pull off a majority decision win over Roy Jones Jr. in his professional boxing debut in the main event of Gamebred Boxing 4.
Fighting in front of his hometown Milwaukee crowd — and giving up size, power, and a lot of experience to his 54-year-old foe — Pettis looked confident trading hands with one of the most accomplished boxers of the past half-century. While Jones appeared to land the cleaner punches, Pettis had the higher output and was constantly marching forward, throwing his combinations in succession.
When it was over, two judges gave Pettis the fight with scores of 77-75 and 78-74, with the third official handing down a 76-76 score, which resulted in the majority decision. Pettis was understandably elated with the victory, but he remained non-committal about what comes next after making a successful debut in boxing on Saturday.
“He’s a legend of the sport,” Pettis said of Jones. “I’m going to take it one fight at a time. I’m 1-0 as a pro so I’m excited to see what the future holds. I had a great team behind me and I wanted this.”
Despite a lot of disadvantages in the fight, Pettis was more than happy to exchange punches with the boxing legend, showcasing fast hands with every combination starting behind his lead jab. Pettis also targeted the body as he began really digging in with straight punches and uppercuts that got Jones’ attention.
Pettis had to be wary when Jones finally uncorked his best shots, which included some well-timed leaping left hooks as well as a slick jab, with Jones trying to take full advantage of his reach. Jones rarely threw more than two punches in succession, although he still had a power advantage as a former heavyweight taking on an opponent in Pettis who previously competed as low as 145 pounds.
While Pettis looked to control the center of the ring, Jones just sat back and waited to throw his best punches, which included a powerful left hook that caught the former UFC champion flush on the chin. But Pettis remained the busier fighter by continuously going after Jones, with many of his best punches connecting to the body. He even managed a big overhand right that cracked his aging foe on the jaw.
In return, Jones seemed content to set up one punch at a time, but he was still accurate with his delivery, including a nasty step-in uppercut late in the final round that caught Pettis clean. Jones also still snapped off a lead jab that paid of,f but he wasn’t very busy compared to Pettis, who was always moving and throwing two- and three-punch combinations.
Over eight rounds, Jones appeared to land the better and harder overall punches, but he was so inactive at times that Pettis was able to chip away at him, which ultimately made a difference with the judges scoring at ringside. The activity from Pettis carried him to victory, even as Jones seemed to block many of his best punches. In the end, the legend just didn’t do enough in return to sway the decision in his favor.
Heading into the fight, Jones stated that he was setting foot in the ring for the final time, but the majority decision loss had him rethinking that decision.
“I like to come in and entertain the fans,” Jones said. “I think it was a good fight. He did a great job. I think it would be a really good rematch. I don’t do exhibitions, I fight real fights. At 54 years old, that’s a beautiful thing.”
Pettis was open to the idea as well, so perhaps promoter Jorge Masvidal will have another headlining fight for a future Gamebred Boxing card after this latest event in Milwaukee.