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Jones vs. Hopkins II – 16 Years and Done Waiting?

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The Potential Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones Jr. Rematch Finally Looms in 2010

It was over 16 years ago when Bernard Hopkins got his first title shot.  It came on May 22, 1993 in Washington D.C. and it was against Roy Jones Jr..  It was a highly strategic fight eventually resulting in a unanimous decision for the undefeated champion RJJ.  At the time it was seen as little more than a small step toward the coronation of the next great American superstar.  Sixteen years later, with a rematch finally on the horizon it means a whole lot more than that.

In the decade and a half since Jones/Hopkins, Jones went on to rule the sport of boxing, being seen by most as the P4P King for almost a decade, winning titles in 4 weight divisions on the way.  Hopkins cemented his own legacy by winning the middleweight title, unifying it and making a record 20 consecutive successful defenses before losing a highly controversial decision to Jermain Taylor.

Hopkins, who many believed to be winding down his career at that point surprised many by moving up in weight and winning the light-heavyweight championship in very impressive fashion.  Through the years, talks from both Hopkins and Jones about a potential rematch came and went more times than I’d like to remember.  Negotiations seemed to always fall apart for one reason or another, mostly from an inability for the two to agree on who would get the lion’s share of the purse.

Hopkins vs. Jones – Road to the Rematch

February 2002: Jones told the television cameras: “And still the undisputed, 60-40 and pound-for-pound champion….Bernard Hopkins, get up here, you’ll be sorry.” The reference to 60-40 was what he was demanding as the purse split for a rematch with Hopkins (“60-40 and I beat yo ass!”), whom he beat in 1993 for a vacant middleweight title. Hopkins is arguing 50-50, because the victory over the previously unbeaten Trinidad makes him the “hot” fighter”. “Roy Jones has been eating dog food, with all the pit bulls he has,” said Hopkins. “It’s gone to his brain.”

June 2005: ”A Roy Jones Jr.-Bernard Hopkins fight for the grand finale,” Hopkins said. ”It’s the 12-year anniversary since 1993 that we’ve been in the ring together. ”Let Roy rest up,” Hopkins said. ”We’ll do it at 175 pounds. Roy doesn’t have to kill himself to come down. ”It’s the only fight out there that makes sense,” Hopkins said of a rematch with Jones. ”I think it makes more sense than me and Winky Wright.”

October 2008:  “I don’t care what people say, I’m not fighting him,” Jones said. “They can ask all they want. I’m through with him. “After that I told him we were through,” Jones said. “I told him that I wasn’t going to ever fight him. I don’t see how it’s ever going to work out.”

Both men have now left their 40th birthdays in the rear view mirror and they have finally come to a compromise.  Under the terms of the agreement, Jones (54-5, 40 KOs) and Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KOs) will split the revenue 50-50.  However, if there is a knockout or a TKO, the winner of the fight will get 60 percent and the loser 40 percent.

This deal is contingent on both fighters winning their “tune up” fights as well. Roy Jones will face off against Australian cruiserweight Danny Green on December 2nd and Hopkins will take a hometown fight against Enrique Ornelas on that same night.  Jones had this to say about the rematch finally coming to fruition: “I don’t like that at all.  I love it. I absolutely love it. Love it. That is all I can say. I’m definitely looking forward to this fight. The fans have wanted to see it for a long time. For the longest time, he wouldn’t take it. Now he’s taking it. I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait.”

Hopkins vs. Jones Rematch – What Does it Mean?

While Hopkins was a big dog in their first fight in 1993, “The Executioner will no doubt come into this fight as a solid favorite.  He has fought the far tougher competition in recent years (Tarver, Calzaghe, Pavlik vs. Trinidad, Sheika, Lacy) and looked better doing so.  Joe Calzaghe fought both men back to back in 2008 and while Hopkins lost a controversial split decision, Jones was outclassed and embarrassed by the “Pride of Wales”.   After that fight many believed RJJ to be a shot fighter but he has revived his career with an early TKO over Omar Shieka and an impressive schooling of former champion Jeff Lacy.

Many detractors openly state that this fight should have happened over 10 years ago and that at this stage of the two men’s careers it’s essentially an “old geezer” match between two fading HOF’ers looking for one last payday. It’s true that Hopkins – Jones II will not mean as much as if it had happened in the early part of this decade.  But the public has been clamoring for a rematch since 1993 and I can honestly say, I’m still highly interested in this fight. You know what they say; “better late than never”.

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