By Jim Amato

 

 

Lost in the shuffle among all the heavyweight greats of the 1960’s and 1970’s were names like Alvin “Blue” Lewis, Larry Middleton, Henry Clark and “Florida” Al Jones. Please don’’t confuse “Florida” Al with journeyman “Memphis” Al Jones. Those two settled their superiority issue in August of 1967 with “Florida” winning in three rounds.

boxinggloves002lAfter losing his pro debut Duke Johnson in June of 1964, “Florida” reeled off 24 straight victories. He beat the “Duke” in a rematch. He also scored two victories over Chip Johnson and two kayos over Levi Forte. He decisioned Jefferson Davis and Bob Stallings and halted Sonny Moore, Archie Ray and stopped James J. Beattie one round.Trained by Angelo Dundee, Jones sparred many rounds with Muhammad Ali and Jimmy Ellis.

 

The streak was ended when Al drew with veteran contender Zora Folley in May of 1968. He then won six more bouts including knockouts of Cleveland Williams and Jack O’Halloran plus a point win over Henry Clark.

By now Al was firmly entrenched in the lower tier of the Top Ten with only one loss and one draw on his record. On January 27, 1970 Luis Pires held Al to a draw. It was a fight in which Jones broke his hand for the first of four occasions.  He didn’’t step into the ring again until October 25, 1971 when he outscored Roy “Cookie” Wallace suffering hand break number two along the way.  Six months later he dropped a ten round verdict in Venezuela to Jose Luis Garcia while suffering his third break. It would be over three years before he fought again and that was a one round kayo victory.

From January of 1970 until February of 1976 when Al out fought the capable Jody Ballard, Jones had fought only five times. The inactivity and another broken hand finally caught up to him when the erratic Tom Prater stopped him in six rounds. Jones, once a bright prospect  retired with a very formidable 33-3-3 record.

Jim Amato

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