ROY Jones Jnr, the much-praised IBF super middleweight champion, put on a phenomenal show of pugilistic fireworks in PRIME's live boxing bout yesterday morning. It was a much-needed fillip for the sport which has taken a battering in the past 12 months what with the 'High Noon in Hong Kong' fiasco and Wharf Cineplex's two forays into live pay-per-view events - George Foreman's daylight robbery of Axel Schulz and Mike Tyson's farcical comeback which will forever be subtitled 'my 89 seconds wrapped in Peter McNeeley's 'cocoon of horrors' ' or, more accurately, the biggest rip-off in history. Jones went a long way to rehabilitating the sweet science with yesterday's stoppage of Tony Thornton inside three rounds. Jones' hand speed lived up to its lightning-fast billing. He forced the ref to intervene after peppering Thornton with a barrage of 20-plus undefended shots. The commentators were so impressed by Jones' ring artistry they resorted to this wonderful imagery: 'Jones is a Picasso and the still life he's painting is Tony Thornton.' Get the picture? JONES may have outclassed Thornton, but it wasn't half the mismatch that occurred live on Australian TV the previous day where Carlton annihilated Geelong in the Australian Rules grand final 21.15 (141) 11.14 (80). Crushed on the scoreboard at least Geelong got their licks in at half-time when a brawl broke out. All part of the game, of course, but there wasn't much there to frighten Roy Jones. ESPN's live Monday night English soccer has produced plenty of talking points already this season - Tony Yeboah's goal-of-the-season contender versus Liverpool; Manchester United's youngsters giving Blackburn the runaround; Julian Dicks' 'romper stomper' act on John Spencer's head; and Teddy Sheringham's match-turning penalty tumble against QPR. That ought to mean no incentives are needed to tune in, but ESPN are taking no chances. They are promoting tonight's Southampton versus West Ham clash as a 'desperate relegation battle'. Lest you've forgotten the 38-match schedule is only eight games old.