Crimea: Boxing legend deemed a threat to Ukrainian security?Written by Leroy Cleveland
It seems no one is exempt from the ongoing dispute over Crimea.
According to BoxingScene's Alexey Sukachev, American fight legend Roy Jones, Jr has been alerted he's no longer welcome in Ukraine and has been added to a list of foreigners deemed a threat to national security and Ukrainian interests.
The 46 year old Jones, still an icon in Russia despite being years past his prime, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week and expressed his intention to become a Russian citizen, a move that was presumably received favorably by the Russian leader.
And tomorrow, Jones will be honored at a fight card to held in Crimea, a territory which belonged to Ukraine before being annexed by the Russian Federation as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Sovereignty over the peninsula remains disputed as Ukraine insists the land belongs to it and considers the Russians unlawful occupiers. So it's no surprise Jones' involvement in pro Russian, Crimean activities hasn't sit well with the Ukrainian government who recently added him to a hit list of sorts entitled 'The Peacemaker' which contains the names of "separatists, terrorists, insurgents, mercenaries and war criminals and traitors” who are believed to pose a threat to Ukrainian security.
Another boxing legend, Vitali Klitschko, is mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kiev.
"The people in the Crimea, in Donetsk or Kharkiv, are only superficially concerned about language, history and national identity," the former WBC heavyweight champion told Der Spiegel in March 2014.
"I've advocated for a peaceful resolution to the conflict ever since Russia invaded Crimea, because I don't want Ukrainian and Russian soldiers to have to shoot at each other."
Will the time come when Klitschko will need to intercede on Jones' behalf?
Despite showing flashes of brilliance the last ten years, Jones, performance-wise, is still a far cry from the phenomenon who battered opponents from ring post to ring post during most of the 1990s and early 2000s.
The consensus Fighter of the 1990s and an exceptional multi-talented fighter with incredible speed, explosiveness and technical prowess during his prime, Jones has won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight and is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters ever.