Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins met in the squared circle for the first time in May of 1993 at the RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Twelve round contest for the vacant IBF middleweight title, first championship bout for either fighter, was dominated by Roy Jones Jr. More talented and athletically gifted Jones Jr. went on to have a hall of fame career that included him being on top of a mystical pound for pound list for some time and moving up in weight to win a part of the heavyweight crown.
Astute student of the game Hopkins had to take the road less traveled; he wowed to not ever be dominated like that again and perfected his craft fighting in virtual obscurity for the most part of his career. Using a huge chip on his shoulder as a primary motivator Bernard Hopkins had to rely on fundamentals, defense and ring smarts to advance his career. Despite winning a middleweight title in 1995 and holding on to it for ten years and twenty defenses, Hopkins did not get the recognition and the credit he deserved till he fought Felix Trinidad. Huge underdog according to Las Vegas bookmakers, Hopkins dominated Tito and forced his father to throw in a white towel. Hopkins lost his middleweight crown to Jermain Taylor in 2005 via a controversial split decision. What was supposed to be twilight of his stellar career turned into a renaissance of sorts for an ageless wonder that is Bernard Hopkins. In 2006 Hopkins moved up two weight divisions to completely dominate a light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. In 2008 B-Hop, heavy betting underdog, once again, schooled previously unbeaten and seemingly unstoppable Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City. Today, at the age of forty five Hopkins (50-5-1,32KO) seems to be on top of his game which is underscored by him being number four on a mystical Ring’s magazine pound for pound list. What is there left to prove for Hopkins? Apparently he has been dreaming about settling the score with Roy Jones Jr. for years. And on April third, almost seventeen years later, Hopkins gets to try to avenge his loss against his bitter rival at the Mandalay Bay Events center in Las Vegas.
“Title of the fight is rivalry, “said Bernard Hopkins: “But to me this is personal. It’s important to me that before my career winds down that I get this man back in the ring, come April 3rd, to send him on his way to the hall of fame with the last person on his mind that he could remember in his whole career, is the Executioner.”
On the other hand the career of Roy Jones Jr. has been on the downslide for the last six years. After winning a heavyweight crown in 2003, Jones moved back down in weight and suffered two consecutive knock out losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004. But the 41 year old Jones is not yet ready to hang up the gloves and at times displayed flashes of brilliance of old Roy Jones. Such was his last year domination of former super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy. The long anticipated match up with Hopkins was in jeopardy when Jones went to Australia last December and promptly got knocked out by a little known Danny Green in the very first round. In fact, Jones feels that the only reason that Hopkins took this fight now is because he feels that Jones is way beyond his prime.
“Quite naturally, if you can’t beat somebody, you want to wait to see them at their weakest point before you try them again. I ain’t got nothing to prove to nobody, “said Jones: “I am still me. The one thing I do know is the day the Executioner will leave the boxing ring is going to be April 3rd. You got to remember that I am multi-dimensional, I bring a whole lot to the ring every time and whatever I am going to need to pull out of the bag that night, that’s what I’ll do.”
“I started out beating him, “said Jones Junior about his Hall of Fame career: “And I am going to end it beating him. I hate to say it by he is my rival and I must defeat my rival. It’s a perfect opportunity, perfect timing. It is something fans have been asking for, for the last twelve years.”
Despite Jones being prone to getting knocked out, he has a superior hand speed and could present match up problems to Hopkins, who is not known as a knock out puncher. Even at this advanced stage of their careers this promises to be an intriguing match up. Tune in April third or make a trip to Las Vegas to see two living legends in the ring. The tickets are still available at a Ticketmaster or you could order it on Pay Per View.