LOS ANGELES-Roy Jones Jr. says the last fight that saw him lose by first round knockout was “not what it seems” because it was stopped much too quick. Bernard Hopkins promises him no such exit when they fight.
“It’s going to be painful till he quits or gets knocked out,” said Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs).
The two iconic middleweight fighters of the last 20 years Hopkins and Jones (54-6, 40 KOs) finally meet on April 3, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. But first, they met for the second time in two days on Wednesday. This time the meeting took place in the shadows of Golden Boy Promotions building in downtown L.A.
The fight will be shown on HBO pay-per-view only. Don’t wait for it to be televised the following week. It might take 17 years.
The “Payback” will finally take place. It looked like it would never be signed after years and years of near misses or fake misses. Jones blames Hopkins and Hopkins blames Jones. But here they are.
"The man's so jealous of me that he doesn't even want to see my kids watch the fight. He doesn't want to see any resemblance of me near a boxing ring because it reminds him of that 17-year nightmare he's had to face," said Jones.
The once nearly unbeatable Jones will surely have his vast legion of followers from the South while Hopkins seems to draw from the East and some of the Southwest. If you truly like to watch a pair of boxing masters then this fight is a can’t miss.
“If you do the math it’s been five times that we talked about fighting,” says Hopkins, 45, who promises to end the career of the Florida speedster. “It’s signed. It’s done.”
During the debate held in the Grammy Award’s Museum at L.A. Live, both fighters displayed their personality differences that are as starkly different as their boxing styles. The once untouchable Jones relies more on his still quick hands to offset the slowing of his legs. Hopkins, a defensive master, relies more on counter-punching but can still deliver a knockdown as seen against Antonio Tarver and Joe Calzaghe.
In this fight a knockout grabs the winner of the fight 60 percent of the purse. A winner by decision only gets each fighter 50/50.
“I got more fundamentals than he ever dreamed of,” says Jones adding that he’s the real knockout puncher not Hopkins. “He got a big block head.”
The back and forth banter by the two was funny at times, especially on Jones part. But contrast that by Hopkins serious tones it’s easy to see that the Philadelphia warrior truly takes this personal.
“I know I’m going to take a battering but I’ll tuck in my chin, and go in Joe Frazier style,” says Hopkins who admits that the sole intent is a knockout win. Not just a win. “I’m going for the 60 percent.”
Both Jones and Hopkins will be training in Florida. Interestingly, Nazim Richardson is also going to be training Sugar Shane Mosley for his welterweight clash against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May. Hopkins goes first.
“I asked Shane if it was alright and I asked Nazim too,” said Hopkins. “He and Shane assured me that everything was OK.”
Hopkins even offered to train in Big Bear Lake if necessary. It wasn’t.
“I’m already training,” Hopkins said. “You know me.”
The equally venerable Alton Merkerson will train Jones.
Jones sat amused at the predictions and statements from his next opponent.
“It’s going to be a knockout,” said Jones. “When was the last time you saw Hopkins knockout somebody…Oscar De La Hoya was a body shot. Not a knockout.”
De La Hoya sat next to Hopkins with a serious face but had a Mona Lisa smile during some of the proceedings.
“The animosity toward each other has not boiled down one bit,” said De La Hoya.