Monday, April 8, 2024

Roney Hines: Movement and Time

Undefeated heavyweight prospect Roney Hines (13-0-1, 8 KOs) isn't impressed by the current top heavyweights. For Hines, a 6'6" southpaw from Cleveland who can really move, he doesn't see many with his attributes in the division. Eventually, he acknowledges Oleksandr Usyk's skills, his ability to move and not take big punches, but Hines is much more interested in studying smaller fighters. 

"I like to implement Lomachenko's style, how to move, hit and not get hit, that matrix thing," Hines said. "I like watching Gervonta Davis. Back in the day I loved watching Floyd [Mayweather]. Now there's Usyk at heavyweight who can move, but I don't enjoy watching bigger fighters at all." 

Photo Courtesy of DiBella Entertainment

Hines controls the ring, taking advantage of his foot speed and athleticism, knowing that other heavyweights don't possess the gas tank or desire to engage in that type of fight. Even before boxing he was immersed in karate, which he credits with his versatility in the ring, especially the ability to switch stances with ease. He can punch, but his power is more a result of accuracy, hand speed and the element of surprise over sheer one-punch force.

At 28, Hines is still relatively young for the heavyweight division, but even so, his career has moved in fits-and-starts. He's had a gap in his career of almost 16 months and another of almost a year. 

Hines is now aligned with promoter Lou DiBella and next appears in the ring on April 18th in Philadelphia against 11-year veteran Robert Hall (14-2, 11 KOs). Hines believes that he now has momentum on his side and if he wins this month, his goals are to stay active and keep moving up the ladder, hoping to face a top-15 or top-20-rated fighter by the end of the year. 

Although Hines was a decorated amateur, winning the 2018 Golden Gloves by beating Sonny Conto in the finals, he didn't find instant stardom as a professional. Due to financial considerations, he wanted to get moving with his pro career. He admits that he didn't take the best deal out there when he turned pro, but he needed to get started. 

Hines served two years in prison for robbery and assault when he was still an amateur. In prison he had a lot of time to reflect on what he wanted his life to be upon being released. And his attention turned toward boxing. 

"When you are locked up," he said, "you have a lot of time to think. I was sitting in my cell and I said what am I going to do with my life when I get out. Am I going to get a job? What am I best at? It came to my reality that boxing was the path for me...Why not get your life together, work out and get paid? Boxing gave me that drive to move forward."

So from being off the scene for a couple of years to quickly winning the Golden Gloves, Hines took his shot. His talent attracted noted trainer Buddy McGirt and he now works with L.A.-based trainer Eric Brown, who once was one of the house coaches at the Wildcard Gym. Hines admits that while he himself might not be the easiest guy to work with, his relationship with Brown is as smooth as "butter on bread." Another key member of Hines' team is coach Marlon "Butch" Davis, who has been with him since his amateur days in Cleveland. 

Although Hines has progressed in the ring, he is still fighting eight-rounders. Two fights ago, he had a majority draw against rugged club fighter Helaman Olguin. Hines laughs off his performance in the fight, with the most valuable lesson learned for him is don't fight when you're sick. 

Despite having a resume that lacks notable names, Hines is not short on confidence. He believes that he already is one of the best heavyweights out there, but he just hasn't had the opportunity to show it yet. He knows that his style will be a handful for others to face. But he does understand that at this point the best course of action is one step at a time. He's tried it other ways and he believes in DiBella's plan for him. 

April 18th will be a crucial step for him. A past slip up can be dismissed as an off night, but if he wants to have a real path to the top, he has to perform. If he continues to win, the opportunities will come. He has the trainer he likes; he believes in his promoter. There is a plan. And now it's all about him. Can he manifest his potential into reality? 

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of
He's a contributing writer for Ring Magazine, a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
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