Bernard Hopkins vs Roy Jones This Saturday

By Dave Cacciatore - I will admit…I am going to watch Jones-Hopkins II! Like most boxing fans when this fight was announced I cried foul. I was saying the same things that most people are saying, ‘why now?’ ‘This fight is 8 years late.’ ‘Roy is a shell of himself.’ All these things are true and the answer to the why now question is probably because there is no other game in town on the senior circuit for these two great fighters.

When the dust settled though from my initial reaction I realized I am probably going to watch this fight if for no other reason than to see Hopkins and Jones in the same ring again.. For me it has less to do with how talented these fighters once were, how many fighters they have each defeated, and who can they defeat now. It has more to do with who they are and what they represent stylistically. Speed versus classic boxing…with speed having lost some steam and classic boxing fading to ancient.

Hopkins represents the textbook of how to box. His movements are deliberate and purposeful. His defense is high and tight. His punches are straight and his chin is perfectly tucked. It is why he has never been stopped in his in a career that has lasted over 20 years. Hopkins represents everything your boxing coach tried to impart to you about the fundamentals. Double the jab, stay in shape, never go far beyond your fighting weight, and be ready to fight at anytime. It is what has made Hopkins one of the smartest men in boxing and one of the all-time great middleweights.

Jones Jr was and still is a freak. This guy could do things in the ring that your boxing coach said could never be done. He fought with his hands low, he hardly jabbed, he stuck his chin out and dared opponents to take a swing at it. He was so fast and so elusive he was almost untouched for roughly 12 years, minus one right hand from Lou Del Valle. The combinations he would land were perplexing, 8 left hooks in a row, multiple uppercuts and followed by a right hand. The destruction he left in his wake was legendary. There was a book for boxing and there was a book for Roy Jones Jr.

There first fight though obviously was not an immortal confrontation in the ring. At the time it was like so many meaningless under card fights we sit through. A chance for TV to showcase some up and coming prospect winning his fist world title, in a fight which is essentially a commercial for things to come. Youth, money, and speed won that night. Jones controlled the fight through out and won by a comfortable margin. Hopkins was not without some moments but the outcome really was not in doubt, as it usually isn’t when the powers that be match a hot, fast, Olympic prospect against an ex-con who lost his pro-debut.

Fast-forward 17 years and now the roles are reversed. Age has not been kind to the greasy fast fighter from Pensacola; most odds makers make him a prohibitive underdog coming into this latest battle with Hopkins. Especially after being blitzed out of the ring in one round in his last fight by Danny Green (hand wrap controversy aside). Though the boxing public constantly wonders when Bernard is going to show up to the ring old one night, he is now the fighter with the greater money and backing. Most experts expect him to win.

The truly legendary thing about these fighters is the war of words that has developed between them over the years. “60-40 gets your ass kicked!” Bernard following Roy to his fights asking for a rematch. The trash talk, the entourages, the rap songs, the HBO cut-away to the other fighter when the other was in the ring. It is all going to come to a head on April 3.

It is a last chance for both men. There really is not many intriguing fights out there for either man after this, the old guard of their generation is giving way fast to a new group of champions. It will be the last chance for the greatest artists of two competing boxing styles to demonstrate their superiority. Lets hope they go for broke and surprise us all with a very entertaining fight.

Article posted on 30.03.2010

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