Jones - Hopkins and Haye - Ruiz: Back to the Future?

By Rik Hine - April Fool’s Day is officially over but nobody seems to have told Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins; or should that be the fans who pay to see this farce? A full generation after their first encounter, they’re set to do it again at a time when they’d both best be served playing a few rounds of dominoes instead.

There was a time when Jones could fight as well as he talked, but that time is long gone. Late last year Danny Green looked like he’d finally stopped Jones from talking too: trust Bernard Hopkins to want the last word..

Hopkins has always looked best standing in the pocket against straight-ahead, predictable boxers, and in their first fight, Jones was anything but. Nowadays, Roy needs the ropes to hold him up approximately sixty seconds into every round, so Hopkins will know just where to find him.

Although an extra pot has been put aside for a knockout, expect a slow start. Hopkins has time on his side here, in every sense. He’ll wait until Jones needs the ropes to remain upright before unleashing an assault that will leave Jones requiring the referee’s aid too. Apparently, revenge is a dish best served cold: an apt title for this fight if ever there was one.

A few hours earlier, on the other side of the Atlantic, David Haye, a man only slightly less talkative than Roy Jones Jr., will attempt the first defence of his WBA crown against long-time fan favourite John Ruiz. If that last claim isn’t strictly true, then no one appears to have told the WBA. Still, Ruiz is nothing if not durable and on paper, at least, appears to be a good test for the Hayemaker.

Still, if Roy Jones Jr. could command the respect of Ruiz, then Haye should scare him half to death. He may not be as fast as Jones, or quite as hard to hit, but at Heavyweight, he has fight-ending hands. Much has been made of Ruiz’ plans to pressure Haye, rather than employing his usual smash-and-grab tactics, but once he gets hit he’ll revert to type. Nonetheless, I expect this fight to follow the pattern of Haye’s destruction of Enzo Maccarinelli. The opening few rounds will be slow and steady but once Haye has the chance to open up, Ruiz will wish he were fighting Jones again.

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Article posted on 01.04.2010

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