Ageless Hopkins Takes on Aged Jones Saturday Night
It’s a fight for the ages, but only because it actually took ages to formulate. This Saturday night Roy Jones Jr. gets back in the ring with Bernard Hopkins, 17 years after their first go-round in which Jones scored a unanimous decision. The 116-112 scorecard all three judges had was an indication that while Hopkins was a good fighter, Jones was a few steps ahead of him.Flash forward to the present day and Jones is a has-been and shell of his formerly great self. In his last 10 fights, he has a mediocre record of 5-5, and his wins have come against elite talents such as Anthony Hanshaw, Omar Sheika and another over the hill and completely out of shape former great in Felix Trinidad.Bernard on the other hand has seemingly gotten better with age.
Yes he lost a split decision to Joe Calzaghe in but Calzaghe has cemented himself as one of the greatest middleweights of our time. Hopkins proved age is just a number by destroying Kelly Pavlik later in , this after beating Winky Wright decisively a year earlier.Hopkins relies heavily on his defense, which doesn’t require the hand speed and quick reflexes that Jones built his now diminished career around. The defensive, grind it out style fighters always age better, and Bernard is living proof of that. It might be foolish to count Jones out, but with so many of his fights ending prematurely lately, the smart money is on the referee doing just that before the 12th and final bell sounds.Bernard Hopkins joined Mayhem in the AM on 790 the Zone in Atlanta to throw a few verbal jabs before he steps into the ring with Jones this weekend.
On if he thought he was going to have to wait 17 years for a rematch with Jones:
“No, I couldn’t have bet anything that it would have lasted this long and that’s how long it’s been. I’m excited but I’m controlled, waiting through the days and the hours that tick down to the fight in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. It’s been a rival for 17 years. He went on and did his career being the heavyweight champion of the world, as a middleweight and I went on and defended mine 27 times as you know, most times in the history. Now we end up back in the same radar of each other. This is going to be good. I don’t have time to see if I can fight him for the third time.”
Bernard was asked why people would want to see this fight knowing that both fighters are aging:
“Yeah I’ve been past my prime over 10 years ago and I’m still beating guys like Kelly Pavlik, who you know about, and Jermain Taylor. Those are two fights that people still talk about that deservingly went my way and I’m in everybody’s top four. Not top 20. Top four pound-for-pound at 45 years old. If there’s a Brett Favre of boxing, that’s me. You’ve got 80-plus years of experience, and I know for a fact that when I was in Dallas a few months ago to watch the All-Star game, to see Magic Johnson and to see Michael Jordan just messing around I thought ‘woah what if these guys took it that they were going to play one-on-one to 21?’ We’re that in boxing.”
On who he was when he was a teenager:
“I wasn’t Bernard Hopkins obviously. I came up in the streets of Philadelphia. I did five years in the penitentiary. I came home at 24, 25, walked off 9 years parole without a parking ticket. Became not only a businessman, promoter and manager of 80-percent of my whole career. Philadelphia magazine has me as not only one of the smartest investors in boxing but in this market of corporate America where people have lost a lot of whatever in this last three years, I have gained. I’m not bigger than boxing, but I’m bigger than just being a champion. At the end of the day with almost 60 fights under my belt, I haven’t stuttered once, and to be able to articulate and come across and still do this game at 45 years old and still be in demand and have millions of dollars, it’s a testimony to good health, good speed, and a lot of friends.”
Listen to the audio here.