RingTV.com conducted a Q&A with unbeaten welterweight Mike Jones, who will look to add a 26th win to his perfect record against Argentina’s Sebastian Lujan on the undercard of the rematch between WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
In the 31-year-old Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs), Jones is facing a man whose run of 12 straight victories includes six stoppages, one of them being a ninth-round knockout of Mark Melligan in his last fight in July.
Jones is coming off a second-round knockout of Raul Munoz, which was accomplished in June before his hometown fans at the South Philly Arena.
Prior to that, Jones battled through consecutive majority, and, unanimous decisions over Jesus Soto Karass in February and June.
Jones is ranked first by the WBO, second by the WBA, third by the IBF and fourth by the WBC, whose respective titleholders are Manny Pacquiao, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Andre Berto and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Jones is no stranger to having fought on big cards, winning on the undercards of Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Margarito in November, and Nonito Donaire’s second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel in February.
Jones spoke to RingTV.com concerning Lujan, his prospects for winning a title and the influence of 46-year-old RING and WBC lightheavyweight beltholder Bernard Hopkins, a fellow Philadelphia native who still holds a middleweight record for title defenses with 20.
RingTV.com: So how does it feel to be on your third big undercard?
Mike Jones: This is a big-time opportunity, because I’m finally fighting somebody who is in the top 10, so that’s what I’ve been calling for. I want to fight the best in the world and to show my skills against them.
I want to fight the best out there. This is my chance to show people that I can handle these guys and that I can be dominating against them.
RingTV.com: What sort of feedback have you been getting from fans concerning your three most recent performances?
MJ: For the most part I’m getting pretty good feedback, like people say that they see that I have a bright future. I really feel that I’m still building on my skill and my power.
My talent is through the roof, and I feel as if I’m still trying to get my skills to catch up to my talent. I feel as if once that begins to happen, then my prospects are unlimited. I have a lot of things that I still need to work on.
I need to clean up my mistakes, capitalize on the mistakes of my opponents, and I’m working on those things day in and day out.
I’m working on getting all of the wrinkles taken care of, which is what I mean by that. I feel that I’m in a good place.
Because I need to do things like keep my hands up when I roll with a shot, staying balance and staying within my punching range. I’m trying to get all of that together.
RingTV.com: Have you heard from Hopkins as I have that you have a solid foundation, but that the best is yet to come?
MJ: It’s great to be hearing that he’s saying positive things about me. I really appreciate that coming from him. The thing is, I really look up to him. For him to say that he sees promise in me, that means a lot.
He’s been a great mentor and so anything great that he has to say about me is tremendous. That’s a tremendous benefit to me. Being that we’re both from Philadephia, you know, it helps me.
It’s just extra motivation in everything that I do. You can look at something like that as being positive or negative, but I have just taken it as positive motivation for me to move forward and to get better.
RingTV.com: Do you have any preferences for which title you pursue if you’re successful against Lujan?
MJ: My belief is simple, and that is as long as I keep on winning, and as long as I keep on impressing in my fights, then I’m going to be in line for a title shot.
I’ll continue to be mentioned along with all of the other guys out there who are being talked about for the big fights.
RingTVcom: What is your take on Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez?
MJ: That’s an interesting fight, but the way that Pacquioa’s been going, he has to be the big favorite to win the fight. But you know, styles make fights.
Marquez has had a style that has given Pacquiao trouble in the past. They’ve had close fights both times out, so I’m expecting a war.
RingTV.com: What is your assessment of Berto?
MJ: I think that he’s a great fighter, but then again, I think that I can beat him. He looked pretty good in his last fight.
My way of looking at it is that Andre Berto’s got the belt, but all that he’s doing is just holding it for me like everybody else. When I get my shot, I’m going to take it.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the welterweight tournament idea by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer?
None of those guys has ever fought as welterweights, so when did they become the right guys for a welterweight tournament without Mike Jones being in the group.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com