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Keeping up with Jones is not easy

Roy Jones Jr. seems mad at the world, and unsure of what he plans to do next.

His answers are abrupt. The best pound-for-pound fighter in the world appears reluctant to talk about his uncertain future, with brash responses to simple questions about his next move and sometimes different answers to similar questions.

The only certainty about Jones is that, after fighting less than 10 rounds the past year, he returns to the ring tonight against former WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Virgil Hill.

A matchup that would have had championship implications in years past is a made-for-HBO bout primarily to get Jones back in the ring. There will be no titles on the line in the scheduled 12-rounder at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Hill is just five years older than Jones, but the difference in mind-set is drastic.

"I'm enjoying boxing even more so now than when I was his age," said Hill, 34. "I can look back and know I was a loose cannon. Things were coming so easily and so quickly. Then I got my bubble busted when I lost.

"Then it was hard work to get back and keep it. You go through a different transition and you learn," he said after a news conference.

Asked if Jones (35-1, 30 KOs) needs a similar transition, Hill said, "I think he needs to go through one."

Hill (43-2, 20 KOs) made 20 title defenses. He relinquished the IBF light heavyweight title and then, fighting with an injured heel, lost his WBA belt in a 12-round decision to Dariusz Michalczewski in Germany in June.

"He is still as good as his best days," Jones said. "If anything, he's gotten smarter and better."

Like Hill, Jones has been inactive since a title fight last year.

Jones regained his WBC light heavyweight title in August with a first-round knockout of Montell Griffin. Five months earlier, Jones was disqualified for hitting Griffin twice while his opponent was on one knee in the ninth round.

Jones, under contract with HBO, will make about $3-million tonight. Hill will get $1-million, the third-largest payday in his career.