Both Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins have tune-up fights scheduled for December 2nd. If both of the fighters win their respective matches, they will be headed towards a rematch nearly two decades in the making. Here’s a look at the two fighters, then and now, and what you might expect from the potential rematch. And yes, contracts are signed and sealed should the fighters win.
Roy Jones Jr.
Record – Overall: 54-5, 40 KO
Record Last Ten: 6-4, 1 KO
Record Last Five: 4-1, 1 KO
When Roy Jones Jr. finally decides to hand up the gloves, he will go down in boxing history as one of the best fighters of all-time. Jones has captured world titles in four different weight classes, ranging from middleweight to the heavyweight division. After successfully wining two consecutive “mega fights” against Bernard Hopkins and James Toney, Jones was named “Fighter of the Decade” for the 1990s by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Until his loss against Antonio Tarver in 2004, Jones had tremendous success as a boxer with an unorthodox fighting style. Jones had very little technical skill and relied on the god-given gift of world-class speed and quickness. Many boxing experts and fighters, including Roy Jones, describe his opponents as fighting in slow motion when compared to Jones. For a decade, not only did Jones go undefeated but lost only a handful of rounds.
In 2004, the shot that was heard around the world exposed an aging fighter and forced Jones to change his fighting style. Antonio Tarver shocked the world when he knocked out Roy Jones; however, the punch was a text book left hook and if Jones had been using a proper defensive technique the punch would have never landed. At 34, Jones was relying on his speed and quickness that had been eroding over the years and subsequently left him open for a big punch. Even after three consecutive defeats, Jones went back to the gym and used a combination of what speed he had left and newly found boxing skills to push his career into his 40’s.
Record – Overall: 49-5, 32 KO
Record Last Ten: 7-3, 1 KO
Record Last Five: 3-2, 1 KO
Notable Wins: Glen Johnson, Antwun Echols, Felix Trinidad, William Joppy, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Ronald Wright, Kelly Pavlik
Like Jones, when Hopkins decides to stop fighting he will take his rightful place in the boxing hall of fame. Hopkins is known for his incredible 10 year reign as the middleweight champion and in contrast to Jones, Hopkins’ boxing style has not significantly changed over the years. Hopkins is known as a pure technical fighter and being arguably one of the top defensive fighters in the history of boxing. Hopkins began to show his age when he entered the ring against a younger, more athletic Jermain Taylor.
Roy Jones vs. Bernard Hopkins II
In the first matchup, Jones was able to consistently beat Hopkins to the punch with superior quickness. Even though Hopkins was the better technical and defensive fighter, Jones’ speed proved too much to overcome.
If Jones and Hopkins fight in 2011, the fight will be much different than the first. Hopkins is essentially the same fighter; except his natural ability has eroded due to his age. Jones, however, is a much different fighter and will not be able to win the fight on pure atheism. The deciding factor in the second fight will be 1) can Jones outbox Hopkins and 2) will Hopkins have his way with Jones now that he can hit him.