ESPN: Jones-Hopkins II A Done Deal For March

23.12.05 - By Kevin Dinkins: Well, I never thought I would see it again, but Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins have agreed to fight on March 11th, according to ESPN. This is a long in coming rematch of their 1993 bout, that saw Roy Jones Jr. winning the fight by 116-112, 116-112 and 116-112 on the judgeís cards. Although, I personally, had Hopkins (46-4-1, 32 KOs) winning this fight, and I never really did understand how Jones (49-4, 38 KOs) could have been awarded the decision, based on his inaction during the 2nd half of the fight. I personally count that fight as a loss for Jones, who was for the most part, running from Hopkins continously and avoiding any real exchanges from rounds 6-12.

At this point in their careers, this fight seems pointless, as it should have occurred back in 1994, not in 2006, with both of them slowed with age and no longer at the very top of the sport.

Although, to be fair, Hopkins, 40, still remains competitive as a middleweight, but as his last two fights show, both losses, by the way, heís turned into cautious, seldom initiating counter puncher. Not only that, he is beginning to drastically slide down hill, in my opinion, and from what I see of him, I donít think he could beat the other top middleweights, such as Winky Wright, Felix Sturm, Arthur Abrham, or even Sam Soliman, all of which are much busier fighters with their hands, and would likely beat him by decision if they were ever to fight. Itís too bad that heís electing not to go after one of them, as this fight seems pointless to me and only seems as if it were being done for money purposes rather than a fight to prove something.

As for Jones, he's lost his last thress fights, and for many, they consider him losing the fight before that, as well, when he squeaked by Antonio Tarver on November 8, 2003, winning by majority decision 114-114, 117-111, and 116-112, in a fight that appeared to me to be the opposite of the scores. Since then, Jones has been viciously knocked out badly by Tarver in their rematch and Glen Johnson, before losing another decision to Tarver in Jones' last bout on October 2005. In that bout, Jones appeared reluctant to mix it up with Tarver, perhaps trying to keep from being knocked out, yet again. Still, even with his cautious approach, Jones came close to being stopped in the 11th round when Tarver finally caught up to him, despite all the running he had been doing up to that point. If it hadnít been for Tarverís poor stamina, he would have likely have stopped Jones, once again, from my perspective.

Now, sadly, gone is Jonesí once great hand speed, including his ring movement, which enabled him to succeed with his unorthodox style, that always seemed to be lacking in the ring fundamentals. Back then, when he was young and fast, it didn't matter, because he had so much blinding speed. However, what remains now is a shell of a fighter, one who rarely mixes it up, and who appears to have a serious problem taking hard punches to the head, perhaps due to his previous terrifying knockout losses that he recently experienced in the past two years. Iím donít think Jones' is officially shot as a fighter, but considering how gun shy he is towards mixing it up, combined with his tender chin, puts him on the brink of being finished, as far as Iím concerned. Hopefully, nothing serious happens to him in this bout, as it would be sad for me to see him suffer any kind of permanent damage to his brain.

I donít know but it seems kind of wretched to see both of these guys, who were at the top of the game for a decade, yet who are no longer there, deciding to fight at this late date. I mean, it is an interesting fight, in the kind of a sick way that someone may enjoy staring at the aftermath of a car wreck, but as far as seeing something that is worth paying your hard earned money for, I wouldnít want to waste my money on it, not now. Obviously, this fight will be on PPV, so itís going to be up to the fans whether or not this idea succeeds.

Article posted on 23.12.2005

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