The case for the Roy Jones vs Hopkins Rematch
Now Hopkins Vs Jones II has finally been signed & sealed after years of speculation, hype, argument & counter-argument between the two respective camps we can now look ahead to the fight & try to determine the winner.
Scheduled for the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, on 3rd April, the rematch arrives some 17 years after the original bout where a youthful, flashy & brilliant Roy Jones outpointed a rather ‘green’ Bernard Hopkins back in '93 in a clash for the vacant IBF middleweight title.
Since that bout both fighters have gone on to establish themselves as future hall-of-famers. Jones has been up & down the weights classes winning world titles in divisions up to heavyweight, with it, earning himself the reputation as undoubtedly the most talented fighter of the 1990's.
Meanwhile, Hopkins stayed & rebuilt his career as a middleweight, honed & learnt his trade 'on-the-job' eventually emerging as the dominant force in the division after winning the IBF title & defending the title a record 20 times, unifying the division in the process.
While the mid-to-late 2000's heralded the demise of the once formidable Roy Jones, it saw something of a renaissance for Bernard Hopkins.
Jones suffered a pair of defeats at the hands of Antonio Tarver, a brutal KO loss to Glen Johnson followed, before a 12 round beat-down at the fists of Joe Calzaghe & most recently a 1st round KO from hard hitting Australian cruiserweight slugger Danny Green.
There have been flashes of the 'old Roy' with wins over names such as 'Tito' Trinidad & Jeff Lacy but both these opponents were considered 'shot' by many before setting foot in the ring with Roy.
In the same time period we also witnessed the rebirth of Hopkins after many thought was 'done' when he suffered back to back defeats to Jermaine Taylor. Since those controversial losses, Hopkins has rebuilt his career with victories over Antonio Tarver, Ronald 'Winky' Wright & Kelly Pavlik. It’s also worth noting Hopkins was the perceived underdog going into all three of these bouts, with his sole reverse coming via a narrow point's decision to unbeaten Joe Calzaghe.
With the contracts now finally signed & the 50/50 purse agreed upon (with the extra incentive of the victor receiving a 60% cut if he is to win the fight by TKO/KO) you can bet your bottom dollar there is some unfinished business between the two rivals who have often traded verbal insults over the years.
"A rematch with Roy has been in the back of my mind for a long time and it's finally going to happen, I have accomplished a lot in my career since that night in Washington, DC in 1993, and I am going to end this thing between me and Roy once and for all." said Hopkins.
Jones remarked "We're giving the fans what they want to see. They deserve this fight and why not supply the fans with what they demand? Now I can finally terminate 'The Executioner' once and for all. My new nickname for this fight will be 'The Terminator'."
Many ‘experts’ agree with Hopkins viewpoint & come to the conclusion Hopkins will either KO or outpoint Jones with relative ease & the odds makers seem to concur, installing Hopkins as a 'hot' favorite.
Most feel that Jones is now nothing more than a spent force & a shell of his former self, looking for one last payday for his retirement fund, while many still view Hopkins as a legitimate threat to the best light-heavyweights on the planet, despite his advanced years, he is still regarded as a genuine top ten P4P fighter.
Whilst I don't think for one second that Jones will 'terminate' "The Executioner" by KO, I do believe he can win the fight. Throughout the ages the sport of boxing is littered with fighters who just have another fighter’s number…. think Forest Vs Mosley or Pryor Vs Arguello or even Ali (Clay) Vs Liston - could 'Superman' Jones hold Hopkins’ kryptonite?
If you take a closer look at Hopkins' recent ring-record you will notice that for his bravado he hasn’t managed a stoppage win over any opponent since Oscar De La Hoya was felled by a cute body shot back in September ’04, & in all reality De La Hoya had no business fighting at middleweight in the first place. Hopkins was also recently forced to go 12 rounds against journeyman Enrique Ornelas, hardly the type of form that inspires confidence in staking your hard-earned money on the Hopkins KO does it?
There is no doubt that Hopkins has aged the better of the two fighters, has suffered less punishment & possesses the sterner chin & more solid peak-a-boo defence, yet there still remains a niggling doubt.
Jones is the younger man by 5 years, is still quicker in both hand & foot, possesses the higher work-rate of the two & has a point to prove with his back being firmly against the wall for this bout. Jones knows that his career has nowhere to go if he was to suffer another "L" to his nemesis "The Executioner".
Anyway, it should make for some interesting viewing & I certainly don't think that it's inconceivable that Jones can pull off the upset & will be having his hand raised at the end of the night as a comfortable point’s winner - stranger things have happened.