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Jones’ Challenge Is Accepted _ Maybe

October 5, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Lonnie Bradley appears ready to go where Roy Jones says other fighters fear to tread.

Bradley, the WBO middleweight champion, attended the postfight news conference after Jones defended the IBF super middleweight title with a second-round knockout of Bryant Brannon on Friday night.

Jones issued a challenge to Bradley, who said, ``I’m willing to go against him.″

``He’s a brave young man,″ said Jones, who boosted his record to 33-0 with his 29th knockout against the overmatched Brannon, who went into the bout with a 16-0 record, with 10 knockouts, and the IBF’s No. 1 ranking.

The 27-year-old Jones is considered by many people to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, but he is cursed by the lack of quality opponents. Another top fighter, Ike Quartey of Ghana, retained the WBA welterweight title with a decision over Oba Carr in the first half of the HBO-televised doubleheader in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

``Unfortunately, I’ve never faced adversity,″ said Jones, who contends that he is not ducking opponents who might provide a test.

Lou DiBella, vice president of Time Warner Sports, operator of HBO, said offers to fight Jones were rejected by super middleweight champions Frank Liles (WBA), Vincenzo Nardiello (WBC) and Steve Collins (WBO).

It appeared that IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins would take a rematch with Jones, but Jones said Friday night that Hopkins ``turned it down, not enough money.″ Jones outpointed Hopkins for the vacant IBF middleweight title in 1993, defended it once and then moved up to super middleweight.

Jones knocked Brannon down in the first round and then twice more in the second.

``I had him the first round, but my Momma didn’t come in (from Pensacola, Fla.) to see one round,″ Jones said.

Jones, however, asked referee Ron Lipton to stop the fight after the first knockdown in the second round. The final knockdown came seconds later, and Lipton didn’t even bother to count.

Quartey, 33-0 with 29 knockouts, was in charge of his match against the top-ranked Carr from the outset by judge Gonzalo Rivera of Venezuela scored it 112-112. Quartey was penalized one point for hitting behind the head and Carr was penalized two points for low blows.

Luis Rivera of the United States scored it 116-109 and Jose Laurino of Uruguay scored it 117-109 for Quartey.

``I will fight any other welterweight champion,″ Quartey said. ``I want to unify the title, not waste time on contenders.″

A match between Quartey and WBC champion Pernell Whitaker is more likely than one between Quartey and IBF champion Felix Trinidad. Quartey and Whitaker both are promoted by Dino Duva. Trinidad is promoted by Don King.

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