"I think it's a beautiful thing for him to try the sweet science. I'd have to see what he's weighing if he wants me to come in there and give him a try at it, but if he want it that bad, I might give it to Kimbo. It's a great opportunity for him. It's a great fight for Florida. Boxing needs all it can get right now, so if the fans get interested in wanting to see that, we can do that," stated future Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. when informed of the news that former UFC heavyweight and YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice declared his intent to try his hand at professional boxing. Say what? Jones vs. Slice for bragging rights in Florida? It didn't take long for Slice to grab the attention of the boxing community, but exactly how long would it take before he's actually ready to step into the ring against a current or former world champion? Obviously his promoter, Gary Shaw, doesn't think it will take long, but find out what Jones had to say about Kimbo's potential, the possibility of a future clash and much more, including his prediction for Saturday's showdown between James Toney and Randy Couture at UFC 118.
BT: What's up Champ? I don't want to keep you long, but being from Florida, I just wanted to get your quick thoughts on your fellow Floridian, Kimbo Slice, announcing that he'll be making his pro boxing debut later this year.
RJ: I think it's a beautiful thing for him to try the sweet science. I'd have to see what he's weighing if he wants me to come in there and give him a try at it, but if he want it that bad, I might give it to Kimbo. It's a great opportunity for him. It's a great fight for Florida. Boxing needs all it can get right now, so if the fans get interested in wanting to see that, we can do that.
BT: How successful do you think he'll be, coming from MMA over to boxing? It's two totally different worlds.
RJ: Yeah, but Kimbo's got a lot of heart, he's got a lot talent, and it took a lot for him to get where he got in MMA. I think his main skill is boxing anyway. I think he'll be fine with it.
BT: How many fights do you think it will take before he's ready to step into the ring with someone as legendary as Roy Jones Jr.
RJ: I don't know, with Kimbo, probably about 3 or 4. Because, you know, he's been in the ring a lot before, so it ain't going to take him as long it would take a normal guy. He has a fighting background, so he's been fighting a long time now, so it won't take him long. He just needs a quick 2 or 3, maybe 4 fights, and we'll be ready to throw.
BT: Honestly, when I first saw Kimbo fighting in those backyard YouTube videos, I was actually shocked that he went to MMA. I mean, if he was going to try to capitalize on his popularity, I figured he'd be better suited to try and fine tune his boxing skills as opposed to trying to learn wrestling, jiu jitsu and all the other aspects of MMA.
RJ: And I think he's better suited for boxing too. That's why I said it would only take him 3 or 4 fights if he really loved boxing, because I saw from the very beginning that he was better suited for the sport of boxing.
BT: Yeah, but isn't it a little hard to believe that someone could step into boxing this late in the game and in the matter of a few fights, be stepping in the ring with some of the biggest names in the sport? Would that be a sign of how bad the heavyweight division has gotten if he could do something like that?
RJ: You can't take nothing away from Kimbo. Like you said in the beginning, when you first saw Kimbo, he started showing very good boxing promise. He showed a lot of boxing promise when you first saw him on YouTube. You know, you can't really just put it on the heavyweight division. Even if the heavyweight division was good right now, he'd still be the guy, because look at what Mike Tyson did. He's a guy that's capable of doing that. I mean, Mike Tyson was a powerful puncher, just like Kimbo is.
BT: Well, I do have to agree, I don't think it's going to take him too long; maybe test the waters against a Cliff Couser, maybe a couple quick knockouts and I think some fans will start a little buzz simply because the division is lacking that kind of excitement, that kind of mystique, that kind of aura that Tyson would bring. I'm sure that's probably what Gary Shaw is thinking too.
RJ: Yep! Yep! I think it won't take him long at all.
BT: So I take it Roy Jones Jr. would definitely welcome an opportunity to show Kimbo Slice some of the finer points of the sweet science.
RJ: Oh, most definitely!
BT: (Laughing) Well, I won't keep you Champ, but real quick, before I let you go, you know your boy James is stepping into the Octagon with Randy Couture. How do you think that's going to play out?
RJ: Well, I think it's a wonderful fight. I think it's a great thing for MMA and for boxing because it gives us a chance to cross over again and meet in the middle and I can't wait.
RJ: I gotta go with my boy James.
[ Follow Ben Thompson on Twitter @fighthype ]