Hopkins Continues To Weigh His Options

19.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: According to Bernard Hopkins’ trainer Nazim Richardson, the former middleweight champion and current light heavyweight champion should ignore super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe’s challenge and wait for a possible showdown with longtime rival Roy Jones Jr. Jones faces off against Felix Trinidad on January 19th at Madison Square Garden in New York. After a bout with Jones, Richardson hopes that Hopkins will retire..

Back in 1993 the two young fighters engaged in a twelve round bout for the vacant International Boxing Federation middle weight title at RFK Stadium in Washington. Jones won a unanimous decision. Since that loss Hopkins went on to a twelve year unbeaten streak and the undisputed middleweight title until losing a close, controversial decision to Jermain Taylor in 2005. Richardson, who replaced trainer Bouie Fisher, believes that the only bout Hopkins should really be interested in is with Jones because that rivalry remains unresolved.

“Bernard has accomplished everything in boxing,” he said. “I have been telling him for a long time now to retire. But I can see why a fight with Jones would mean so much to him. He wants to settle the score for the fight in 1993. It’s a fight between two veterans and I think fans would prefer it (over a Calzaghe fight).”

Calzaghe immediately called for a Hopkins fight after a career defining victory over Mikkel Kessler earlier this month. Frank Warren, Calzaghe’s promoter has been baiting Hopkins with sound bites in hopes of getting the fighter to the negotiating table, but that destination could prove to be a massive headache for camp Calzaghe. Hopkins is notorious for bleeding contracts dry and walking away when he doesn’t get what he thinks he deserves. Such was the case with a proposed rematch with Jones a few years ago. Jones, as hard headed and ego driven as Hopkins, refused to negotiate with the then middleweight champion and the proposed bout fell through.

In terms of a fight with Calzaghe there also remains where the fight will take place. When this fight was first talked about years ago Hopkins maintained that he would never fight in Britain and he has no intentions of doing that now. Warren has said that Calzaghe would be willing to fight in the United States for the first time in his career and venues such as New York’s Yankee Stadium have been discussed.

However Richardson feels that Calzaghe is not in Hopkins league and it should be Jones or retirement.

“Bernard is the great fighter and he has earned the right over the years to make his choice. Calzaghe is a good fighter but there is a big difference between the two. Who has Calzaghe really beat? Where are the living legends on his record? The mark of an all time great fighter is the fights he has had against other living legends. Bernard has fought Jones and Trinidad and De La Hoya. He’s a class apart.”

Whether or not this is gamesmanship on the part of Richardson and Hopkins will all mean very little should Trinidad defeat Jones when they fight. And Calzaghe, his reputation now at its highest level, has other options to consider should a fight with “The Executioner” never come to pass.

Article posted on 20.11.2007

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