Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Carson Jones plans to walk Antonio Margarito down, ‘make him fold’

Carson Jones lands a right-hand bomb to the head of Kell Brook during their grueling first bout.

When Carson Jones got the call to fight Antonio Margarito, he admits his first reaction was disbelief. Jones, aside from being a tough competitor inside the ring, is also smart to the sport’s business side, having come up the hard way with early losses he’s worked to put behind him, but which have taught him of the risk/reward balance that go into the sport’s behind-the-scenes decision-making.

“I was kind of skeptical because they’re looking for a good comeback for him. In my eyes if I was playing matchmaker, Carson Jones is probably one of the last people I’d put him in with,” said Jones (40-11-3, 30 knockouts) of Oklahoma City.

“Just because I am a straight forward, pressure type of fighter and he’s a little older now. I definitely wouldn’t have put him in with me but that’s their mistake and I’m thankful for it.”

Jones is hoping to make the best laid plans of matchmakers go awry this Saturday when he faces the former two-time welterweight titleholder in a 10-round junior middleweight fight at Gimnasio Manuel Bernardo Aguirre in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Many may be surprised to find that Margarito (40-8, 27 KOs) is still boxing in the year 2017. It’s been nearly a decade since his last win of note, and this decade has been marked by punishing defeats, extended layoffs and concerns about whether he should still be fighting.

Those notions didn’t occupy much of Jones’ time in the heights of Big Bear, California, where he prepared for his fight with the Mexican fan favorite.

For Jones, it’s a rare fight of significance in North America, and he’s hoping it will be his ticket to the opportunities that have so far eluded the tough road warrior who has refused to be just another opponent.

“I’m preparing for the best Antonio Margarito that’s gonna be in there that night. We’re not taking no shortcuts, I’m preparing for a monster in there come Saturday night,” said Jones.

Jones, a 13-year pro who is still just 31 years of age, is eight years younger than Margarito, a former RING-rated welterweight once known as the Tijuana Tornado who has looked more like a dust devil in his two fights since ending a five-year layoff last year. Margarito has not been in the ring in over a year.

“Not only do I want it more; I have to have it. Because at this point it’s either I win or maybe I just fall by the wayside and I don’t get any more opportunities,” says Jones.

“I can’t lose so that kind of drives me. I want to get a world title shot. He’s been there, he’s had his opportunities. It’s my turn.”

If Jones’ name is one which American fans hadn’t heard in a while, it’s because he’s done his best work in the United Kingdom.

In recent years he has served as a sort of measuring stick for British upstarts in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions, beginning with his tough stand against Kell Brook in a 2012 majority decision loss. Jones lost the rematch by an eighth-round technical knockout, but scored a first round stoppage of Brian Rose in 2015 (which was avenged by decision later that year) and in his most recent fight last November, when he walked down a previously unbeaten prospect named Ben Hall and pummeled him until the corner threw in the towel in the sixth round at Wembley Arena.

Jones, who was scheduled to fight in May before the card fell through, is planning to bring a similar approach to his fight with Margarito, whose ring philosophy is in no way dissimilar.

“What I believe is gonna happen is, I’m gonna go in there and stay on him, stay on him, keep beating on him and I’m pretty sure he’ll fold. I’m prepared to go the 10 rounds and I’m prepared for a tip-top, young, hungry Antonio Margarito,” said Jones, who trained alongside middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, as he has for several years.

Their shared trainer Abel Sanchez won’t be in Jones’ corner as he fine-tunes Golovkin for his fight with Canelo Alvarez next month, and assistant Ben Lira will be the chief second in Chihuahua.

Jones is optimistic that a win can generate some buzz for his career, and perhaps raise his stock so that a few more matchmakers see him as a risk worth taking.

“I’m kind of overlooked, it could be because of my early losses that I had, the type of career that I’ve had. I’m a big risk, low reward type of fight to other guys,” says Jones.

“I could only hope that this would put me in a position to make some money and hopefully down the line get a world title shot.”