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Guillermo Jones-The Big Cat


BoztheMadman
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Nicknamed "El Felino", meaning "cat", Guillermo Jones was a very imposing guy at 6'4 and with a powerful build, especially while fighting at 154. Early on, he was a tall skinny guy and therefore could make such low weights such as 147 (which he started at) and 154. Then he suddenly had a big weight spurt which made him fight as a cruiserweight, where he achieved his biggest success. Jones was a very capable fighter, one of the most capable and talented ones of his time really. Despite his big size, he was a fluid boxer who could hit well and had good accuracy and a wide arsenal of punches, while his height made it hard for many of his opponents to land much on him. He also had a very good chin and was only stopped once early, at 154, a loss which he avenged. Unfortunately, he got robbed several times by judges and therefore ended his career with more losses than he deserved. 

Guillermo Agustin Jones Innis was born 5 May 1972 in Colon, Panama-which is also the birthplace of Ismael Laguna. Jones grew up there as well and boxed as amateur first, finishing with a record of 22-2. He made his pro debut in July 1993, fighting as a welterweight as mentioned above. He won the WBC Fecarbox and WBA Fedelatin titles there, both by knockouts. In 1996, he moved up to 154 or super welterweight and won the WBA Fedelatin title there as well, by KO1 against Gilberto Barreto. On 27 September 1997, he lost his title in an upset against David Noel of Trinidad and Tobago, fighting in Venezuela-he was stopped by a KO2. Only 2 months later, they had a rematch and this time El Felino won by TKO1. He then vacated the WBA Fedelatin title to fight for the main WBA title against champion Laurent Boudouani, who at 5'9 was 7 inches shorter, but very fast and a good technical boxer with power. Jones had signed for Don King before that and the fight was promoted by King, taking place in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 13 February 1998. Despite looking like the better man, he was denied of his victory and the world title in a draw. Only one judge had him ahead and by a point. 

A rematch was issued because of the controversy and happened on 30 May at Las Vegas Hilton. Once again, the verdict was highly controversial and this time Boudouani got a split decision nod. Jones then decided his days at 154 were over and moved up to 168 first. After 4 fights there and 1 at 175, he finally moved up to cruiser division, where he would make his mark. He was given a fight for the WBO title against Johnny Nelson, who was another tall cruiser yet still slightly shorter at 6'2. The fight happened 23 November 2002 in Derby, England and Jones experienced yet another controversial draw and was denied of another world title. After winning the WBA Fedelatin title there as well by TKO1 against Luciano Torres, he had another important match against Steve Cunningham, who was 16-0, 2 April 2005 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Cunningham was only an inch shorter and magnificently muscled and a good technician and the fight was very close. In the end, the home favourite Cunningham was given a split decision nod after 10 rounds. I personally scored it for Jones by a point.

Jones then stopped Kelvin Davis and Wayne Braithwaite, both by TKO4, later that same year, but was inactive throughout 2006. Despite the Braithwaite fight having been a WBA-eliminator, he had to wait until 27 September 2008 (ironically the same date as his first loss) to fight for the WBA title against the champion Firat Arslan of Germany. He had to come to Altona, Germany to fight but produced a very good performance and landed consistently to bust up the considerably shorter Arslan before he stopped him by TKO10. Thus finally, after 15 years as a pro, Guillermo Jones was the world champion! He was now 36 and proved to be a lazy champion, actually not defending until 2 years had gone. Despite that, he still wasn't stripped by the WBA since they are based in Panama. He finally made his first defence on 2 October 2010 in Panama City and won by TKO11 after his opponent Valery Brudov had to retire with an injury. It went another year before he made his second defence, against Michael Marrone, 5 November 2011, in Hollywood. Jones easily dominated and stopped the overmatched American in round 6 by TKO, after flooring him once. 

His next fight and third defence would become remembered, both for good and negative reasons. He took on the other best cruiser at the time, Denis Lebedev, who had only 1 disputed loss to Marco Huck before that and 25 wins. Despite standing only 5'11, Lebedev was a strong and tough man who could punch. El Felino went to Krasnogorsk in Russia to fight him and the two slugged it out for 11 rounds in a classic toe to toe war, until Lebedev was forced to give up, due to a badly damaged right eye. Actually, Lebedev was considered the main champion coming into this fight, because Jones had been downgraded to "champion in recess" in October 2012. Jones' incredible chin just soaked up all of Lebedev's punches and slowly but surely wore Lebedev out. However, despite winning the fight and handing Lebedev his first true loss (and by stoppage), Jones would not get to enjoy being back to main champion very long before he tested positive for a banned substance before the scheduled rematch against Lebedev in April 2014, 5 days before the fight and the fight was cancelled. 

This was effectively the end of his career and after this, Jones moved up to heavyweight-the final frontier. He first won 3 fights there, all on points, winning that WBA Fedelatin at his fourth weight class against Ytalo Perea (in an 11-round fight!) by SD. For his presumably final fight, he weighed in at a record high 241 1/2, fighting in Moscow against 4-0 Vitaly Kudukhov and losing by a rather uneven UD8. That was  on 13 August 2021 and that is his final fight. His record is 41(30)-4-2. Many believe that it should be 45-2 in reality. Because of his extraordinary jumping thru the weight classes, he became known as "The Ever-Expanding Man" or even "The Incredible Expanding Man". What is very likely is that he was probably the tallest guy to fight at welterweight and until the arrival of Sebastian Fundora, also the tallest super welterweight.

Jones' career was unfortunate because just as he had reached his goal of winning that world title, inactivity and then banned substance controversies put a dent in his championship reign. Of course, there was also all the decisions he did not get but should have. He was beloved by fight fans because of his relentless, all-out fighting style and his tirelessness, which for his size was pretty impressive. You did not want to be in there against this guy if you weren't a beast yourself. He was also known under the nickname "El Jefe", the boss. And for a while, he was just that-the boss and the terror of the cruiserweights!

GuillermoJones.jpg

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