11:25PM EST: Roy Jones on the way to the ring, very stoic and serious to Snoop's "I Wanna Rock." Cracks a small smile as he hears it from his fans.
11:32PM: Hopkins comes to the ring in his trademark Executioner hood. Trainer Nazim Richardson is behind him looking unconcerned and relaxed popping gum. Bernard has a lounge singer performing are remixed version of Sinatra's "I Did It My Way." Complete with old school female backup singers in the ring. Next update will be round 1!
Hopkins looking for the overhand right early. Feint taunts by both men. Roy jabbing early. Hooks to the body from Bernard. Hopkins mauling inside, Roy covering up well. Hopkins now making Roy chase him. Hopkins jab to the pit of the stomach. Roy returns the favor. Roy with a quick straight right to end the round. Tactical, but I liked Bernard's body shots as the difference.
Hopkins retreating, Roy looking for the right hand. Hopkins catches Jones with a right behind the jab. Roy has to clinch against the ropes. Roy hesitate to attack, Hopkins looking to counter. Roy misses wild left hook,Hopkins with short hooks to the body. Left hook wobbles Roy. Jones covers up on the ropes and blocks some followup hooks. Jones ok, just briefly stunned. Jones cut above the left eye.
Clinching early. Jones waiting on Hopkins. Jab lands for BHop, still looking for that overhand right. Hard left hook to the body from Hopkins. Jones lands a left hook but BHop walks through and bullies him to the ropes with body shots. Roy not punching enough, Hopkins getting loose. Roy keeping his hands out front trying to catch Hopkins' jab.
Jones' cut not fight-threatening. Jones jabbing more early. Hopkins left hook drives Jones to the ropes, clinching. Left hook to teh body from BHop. Hopkins missed a left hook and Jones's reflexes were too slow to counter. Hopkins working shots to the hop and kidneys. Leaping left hook from Roy partially blocked. Roy tries to taunt with Hopkins lands again to the body to close out the round.
Same pattern early. Jones lands well with corkscrew right hand. Hopkins ups the pressure with hooks. Roy bullied into the ropes again. Both guys workign in the clinches. Lets of feints, Jones talking to Bernard in the clinches. Sneaky low blow by Bernard with the ref out of position. Hopkins gives another. Jones retaliates to the body. Close round, Roy doing better.
Right hook to the body from BHop. Crowd restless now, not much action in the first minute. Hopkins opens up with hooks on Jones, who is forced to clinch. Jones protecting his head but catching the hooks to the body. Jones still wary about letting go in ring center. Hopkins falls out from a rabbit punch. Jones smiles and feels Bernard is faking. Ringside physician comes in to check on Hopkins. BHop still down on his knees.
Hopkins finally gets up. Replay shows Jones clubbed him with a left hook behind the head. Jones loses a point for the foul. Hopkins looks to have 5 minutes to recover, and lets the ref know he will continue. Hopkins now furious.
Hopkins unloads on Roy to conclude the round. Both men keep throwing around the referee. Mini-riot breaks out!. Ordered restored by security after about 30 seconds. Hilarious.
Hopkins 10-8 with point deduction
Hopkins looking for the KO. Both guys with the taunts. Hopkins lands to hard jabs. Jones complains to the ref and Hopkins smashes him on a break. Jones can't land his jab. Glancing overhand right from Hopkins to finish out the round. Jones in a big hole and needs a KO.
Left hook lands from Jones. Hopkins with his own left hand counter to the head. Hopkins jabs drive Jones back to the ropes, more clinching. In the clinch, both guys exchange rabbit punches, and Hopkins falls out again. Roy now risking disqualification. Ref gives them both a warning for fouls. Hopkins flurries Jones against the ropes to conclude the round.
Roy lands a strong right to the head. Hopkins forcing Jones to the ropes at will. Hopkins falls asleep and eats a right to the head. BHop tries to fire back. Clinch-filled round with lots of standing around, but Jones landed the most telling shots.
Nazim urges Hopkins to press him.
Hopkins falls out again! This time froma low blow. However, Hopkins landed good shots to the body with hooks, and a straight right through Jones' guard.
Jones cut again on the left eye, this time from accidental headbutt. Hopkins continuing to land the right hand more. Hopkins with a left hook to the body. No sense of urgency from either fighter and crowd boos with dissatisfaction.
Jones moves foward and lands a lead right and left hook. More clinching. Boos rain down. Jones chases briefly and a glancing counter right from Hopkins. No big finish but Bernard is happy. Meh....
Official Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 118-109 Bernard Hopkins by Unanimous Decision
There was no beating like people expected, but the fight was abysmal. Even if you are a big Jones or Hopkins fan, it was a tough one to sit through. The sad thing is because Jones survived, he'll probably fight again. Hopkins said in the post-fight interview that he wants David Haye, who battered John Ruiz earlier today in a TKO win. Based on what I've seen today Haye knocks him out, but most wouldn't mind seeing that fight.
Sugar Ray Leonard summed up this night the best.
"They didn't do this for the fans, they did it for themselves."
If the promoters want to continue getting the fans' money, they better heed the wants of their audience. And from the low attendance, something tells me the PPV numbers for this fight will make that statement.
We are just days away from the long-awaited rematch between future Hall of Famers Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins. Earlier this week, Hopkins gave me an in-depth interview on the fight, his legacy, and future heavyweight plans. Both fighters have concluded their final preparations, and are supremely confident in their chances. But which man will have his hand raised at the end of the night?
Roy Jones Keys for Success
Camp with Roy is going very well. He's training just as hard for this fight as he did any other fight that he's had in the past. He's mentally and physically focused for the fight. He knows Bernard is going to be ready for the fighting, and know Bernard is really working hard for it.
-Roy Jones trainer Alton Merkerson
Anyone whos even taken a casual interest in boxing the last 15 years knows who Roy Jones, Jr is. The Pensacola native ruled for years as the top pound for pound fighter in the sport. But after experiencing a 1st round TKO in his last fight, the fighter viewed as Superman in his prime is now clearly in the twilight of his career.
Joness recent wins against lesser opponents like Jeff Lacy and Omar Sheika have shown flashes of the pugilists former glory. Roys hands are still blazing fast, and he mixed up his combinations well to the head and boxing, alternating between hard and pity pat shots to confuse his foes. Because his stamina has waned, Jones has taken to the ropes much more, but against someone limited like Lacy, Roy was able to roll with the punches and control the pacing with well-timed clinches.
Hopkins lives to abuse opponents on the inside (with legal and illegal tactics). Jones must attempt to keep the fight in the center of the ring for as long as possible, preferably at least 1:45-2:00 minutes every round. In the first fight in 1993, a 28-year old Hopkins was befuddled with Jones hand speed and repeatedly fell victim to potshots from the outside. By the time the Executioner was in position to retaliate, Jones was already out of range. Roy must seek to replicate that. Remain active and keep Bernard focused on defense. When Roy lets his hands go like that with power, Hopkins likely will not trade with him, giving the latter the chance to rack up crucial points.
Hopkins at 45 has a considerably slower first step, and usually barrels in head first to drive opponents into clinches where he can wear them down with short hooks. Jones must be cognizant of that at all times; whenever his back touches the ropes, he needs to spin off and take the fight back to ring center.
If Jones can keep this up for at least 9 out of 12 rounds (barring any knockdowns), he has a strong chance to take a decision win.
Bernard Hopkins Keys to Success
We take nothing for granted with Roy Jones because, in my opinion, and this is my personal opinion, I feel as though the man has gone desperate now, and the desperate man is dangerous, and he's an exceptional talent, and we look forward to this match up, as many have over the years. I was teasing Bernard. I said, some of these young guys on the under card weren't old enough to spell boxing the last time these two guys fought. But it should be a great match up, and we feel confident going into this fight.
-Hopkins trainer Nazim Richardson
At 45 years old, Bernard Hopkins still manages to be a force in the boxing world. The self-proclaimed modern Archie Moore of boxing fought a pedestrian outing against Enrique Ornelas in December 2009, but was too cagey for the younger opponent.
Against Jones, Hopkins will contend with a speed fighter. The last two fighters hes faced with fast hands were Jermain Taylor and Joe Calzaghe, losing all three bouts by disputed decisions. With the former, Bernard struggled to find a rhythm and came on too late for the judges. Against the latter, Hopkins mostly nullified Calzaghes speed but couldnt neutralize the Welshman coming forward and his activity, no matter how sloppy it was.
Jones fights like neither man, but Hopkins must prevent Roy from getting comfortable in there and showing off with the potshots and shoeshine combinations. Like always, Hopkins will want to make it a rough, inside fight by getting Roy in a lot a clinches and working him over. Hopkins has never cared if hes made a fight ugly to watch, as witnessed with Winky Wright in 2007, but you also see how effective he was in that bout at sapping all of Wright energy by the latter rounds with all that clinching and roughhousing. Hopkins is great at timing right hand counters over jabs, but that would still be difficult to do at times because of Roys speed. So to lower Jones opportunities, Hopkins should remain close to him as much as possible.
Jones cant fight full 3 minutes rounds anymore, so inevitably he will go to the ropes to take breathers. This is where the Executioner should do his best work. Prime Roy Jones defense was mostly centered in his legs, so with those gone he has to rely on parrying, and punch rolling techniques against the ropes (see Ali-Foreman for a good example). Hopkins is clearly the better inside fighter, and should relish the opportunities hell get there to beat Jones up.
For most experts and hardcore fans Roy Jones career as an elite fighter came to end in 2004 when Glen Johnson knocked him cold for over 10 minutes. But here we are astonishingly 6 years later.
Bernard Hopkins may be 45 years old, but he has considerably less wear and tear and has not suffered bad KO losses like Jones had last December against Danny Green, or prolonged beatings like Roy received in 2008 in the Calzaghe fight. In fact, every time Jones has faced an elite fighter (no, a blown up light-heavyweight version of Felix Trinidad is not elite) since 2004, hes been thoroughly dominated. On the other hand, Hopkins has either beaten elites hes faced, or suffered highly disputable losses, all against fighters much younger than him.
If this was a 4 or 5 round fight, Roy Jones could possibly win. I see Bernard struggling with his speed early, and Jones looking good catching him with outside and mid-range potshots.
But after that, Jones will slow down and not be able to avoid Hopkins rushes and get pushed consistently to ropes. Hopkins isnt a big puncher, so Jones takes prolonged punishment that becomes uncomfortable to watch going into the later rounds. Because of their history Jones wont quit, and unfortunately takes a sustained beating like he did against Joe Calzaghe.
The prediction is Bernard Hopkins via 11th round TKO, likely from a corner stoppage.
Workout Photos Credit: Omar Vega
Note: This article will be updated on fight night (April 3) with Knockout Nation columnist Ismael AbduSalaam providing round by round coverage of the main event.