Jones Promises Hopkins KO; Hopkins Wants Haye-Ruiz Winner

BY Michael Woods ON March 23, 2010
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I'm not all that enthused about the April 3rd Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones rematch. Judging by the comments readers send us, it seems like many of you share my lack of enthusiasm.

The main reason this one doesn't light the proverbial fire is because it looks to me like Roy Jones' chin has been fatally compromised. In his last bout, a punch from Danny Green, who does have heavy hands, admittedly, to the side or behind the head put Jones on the mat. He got up, and then Green threw about 45 punches against the defenseless legend. The ref halted the bout, and with that sad, shocking stoppage it looked for the world that the world wouldn't be seeing another Hopkins-Jones scrap, 17 years after they first got it on. But then a spin campaign began...Hopkins was eager to save the promotion, which figured to be the best risk/reward proposition, so he went public with the contention that the stoppage wasn't kosher. A vet like Jones, Hopkins said, deserved time to clear his head, and fight back. I heartily disagree, seeing as how Jones simply wasn't adequately defending himself on December 2nd, and was standing on jello legs when the ref interceded.

Then, Jones started a movement to cast doubt on the stop by alleging that Green's handwrap was an illegal weapon, that it it basically functioned as a cast. Skeptics dismiss the claim as sour grapes, as a method to muddy the facts, which are that Jones has been stopped three times since 2004, by Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, and Green.

Grudging respect must go out to Jones, because he and Hopkins' lobbying sent me to YouTube, to study the tape, and I must admit, that first heavy right may well have landed behind Jones' head. But all in all, I'm not pumped to pony up dough to see the 45-year-old Hopkins (50-5, 32 KOs), and the 41-year-old Jones (54-6, 40 KOs), and would've greeted this promotion with, if not open arms, then at least semi open arms, were it shown on "free" TV.

This is not to say I'm not still interested in seeing Hopkins perform. A clash with Chad Dawson, for instance, in a legend vs young lion scrap, to see if the Philly technician can tear up another upstart, like he did Kelly Pavlik in 2008, would be salivated over here at TSS. Hopkins-Jones, not so saliva inducing...

Still, a Wednesday conference call featuring the two ultra vets did prove entertaining. Jones chatted with media first.

Jones didn't exactly blow us away with his salesmanship when he implied that a good reason to buy the event would be to reward he and Hopkins for their past performances. He did step it up, though, with a promise to stop Hopkins, who as one of the most skilled defenders of all time, pound for pound, has never been stopped. "It's a stoppage," Jones predicted. "I'm guaranteed to stop him. I guarantee you, he's going to sleep."

My eyes and gut tell me Jones' chin, his wiring, has been rendered screwy in the last six or so years. Give the man points for allowing that this is so. Could his chin be broken? "It's very possible," he said. "And if that's the case and Hopkins is not a big puncher, then it's time to hang it up."

Jones said he'd consider hanging them up, win or lose, after this tussle. But, he said, he hasn't contemplated losing.

Then Hopkins got on the line. It was basically vintage Bernard. He still stands by the stance that the Green stoppage is suspect, both because the ref stepped in early, and the hand wrap assertion. "Absolutely, the hand wrap (issue) holds water," said Hopkins, citing his own experience with the issue before his scrap with Felix Trinidad in 2001. He wouldn't bite on the proposal that a win, especially if he stops Roy, would be a Catch 22 scenario, because fight fans will dismiss Jones as a shot fighter entering the ring. Hopkins said his age would mean people would tear down a Jones win, so both fighters, he maintained, are on similar ground.

To anyone dismissive of this ultra-vet vs ultra vet beef, he offered an analogy to a Magic Johnson vs. Michael Jordan one-on-one faceoff. Fair enough..though I offer that any pay per view producer offering that for anything over $1.95 would lose his shirt...

The Golden Boy exec/age defying wizard said that after this fight, he'd like to take on the David Haye-John Ruiz winner. They clash on April 3, and though we know both Klitschkos want a piece of Haye, since Haye, Ruiz and Hopkins all are with Golden Boy, read in between the lines..."I want to fight the winner of that fight," he said.

Speaking of reading in between the lines, Hopkins railed against unnamed "Mafia" in the sport who are irking him. He wouldn't name names, and asked us to fill in the blanks. These "powerful people," he said, want to make things happen when they want them to happen, and shouldn't be confused with the bent-nosed, stogie chomping Mafiosis of the 50s and 60s. Wouldn't be prudent for me speculate their identity, but this being a free world, TSS readers can offer their guesses as to who Hopkins is referring to...

I asked Hopkins if he wouldn't like to try his hand at another young gun, in WBC light heavyweight champion Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs), and he couldn't have sounded less amped. An added level of respect attached to his name, he said, doesn't appeal to him. Unless a fight bolsters his legacy and his bank account mightily, it doesn't make sense to book it. Since Dawson isn't a draw, and "hasn't sold out any arena," a fight with the Connecticut up 'n comer doesn't float his boat. "He's beaten no one of significance," Hopkins said.

So...as we draw closer to April 3rd, I'm curious. Are you getting any more interested in purchasing this fight? Could it exceed expectations? Do you see yourself giving in at the last minute, and buying the card? If you do, are you afraid that the rumble will in fact be a cautious do-over of their first clash, that their styles are not compatible with a fan-friendly fight? Weigh in!

RELEASE: “The Rivals: Hopkins vs. Jones II,” set for Saturday, April 3 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev., is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Square Ring Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and AT&T.  The event will be broadcast live on pay-per-view, for $49.95, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.  Tickets priced at $750, $500, $300, $200 and $100 are on sale now at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith's Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino).  Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

--- LOS ANGELES (March 24, 2010) – Three exciting televised fights will warm fans up for the long-awaited rematch between future Hall of Famers Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. “The Rivals: Hopkins vs. Jones II” is scheduled for Saturday, April 3 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and live on pay-per-view.

Heading up this stacked pay-per-view undercard will be a 10-round showdown between talented up and comer Jason Litzau and perennial contender Rocky Juarez for Litzau’s NABF super featherweight title.  Also featured is the return of former Junior Middleweight World Champion Sergio Mora against veteran Calvin Green and unbeaten Ukrainian prospect Ismayl Sillakh steps up to the big time to face 175-pound standout Daniel Judah in another NABF title bout, this time in the light heavyweight division

“The Rivals: Hopkins vs. Jones II,” set for Saturday, April 3 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev., is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Square Ring Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Southwest Airlines.  The event will be broadcast live on pay-per-view beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. 

Tickets priced at $750, $500, $300, $200 and $100 are on sale now at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith's Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino).  Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

26-year old Jason Litzau (26-2, 21 KO’s) first arrived on the world scene  a few years ago with a series of exciting televised performances that captivated fight fans.  These victories led him to a world featherweight title shot against Robert Guerrero in 2008 and though “The American Boy” fell short of victory, he refused to get discouraged.  He has since won three in a row at 130 pounds, leading him to this pivotal April 3 showdown against Rocky Juarez.

One of the top contenders of recent years, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist Rocky Juarez (28-5-1, 20 KO’s) is returning to the 130-pound weight class after a 2009 return to featherweight and two hard-fought battles with WBA 126-pound champ Chris John.  In Juarez’ last bout at super featherweight, he stopped Jorge Rodrigo Barrios in 11 rounds in September of 2008 and the Houston native plans on picking up where he left off at 130 pounds when he takes on Jason Litzau.

Known to fight fans as “The Latin Snake”, Sergio Mora (21-1-1, 5 KO's) became a household name to millions of fans when he won the first season of the reality series “The Contender” in 2005.  Following the series, he went unbeaten in his next five fights, leading to a shot at the junior middleweight world title which he capitalized on as he won a hard-fought 12-round decision over the late Vernon Forrest.  Three months later, Forrest would win his belt back in an exciting rematch, but the 29-year-old Mora has been eagerly awaiting his return since then, as he’s ready to make his move towards winning a title again in 2010.  Mora will face Baytown, Texas’ Calvin Green (21-4-1, 13 KO’s) who has won three out of his last four bouts and is looking to derail the world title track on which Mora is heading with an upset on April 3.

A gifted amateur standout who is now making huge strides towards professional gold, 25-year-old Ukraine native Ismayl Sillakh (11-0, 10 KO’s) is on the fast track to the top.  Unbeaten as a professional, Sillakh is currently on a seven-fight knockout streak.  One fighter who won’t be intimidated by this impressive record, is Brooklyn southpaw Daniel Judah (23-4-3, 10 KO’s).  Judah has been in with some of the best fighters in the world over the course of his career, including Glen Johnson, Yusaf Mack and Eric Harding, and he will be looking to show the young Sillakh that he has some more tricks up his sleeve on fight night. The Hopkins vs. Jones II pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and has a suggested retail price of $49.95.  The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD.  The main event will begin live immediately following the college basketball semi-finals. For Hopkins vs. Jones II fight week updates, log on to www.goldenboypromotions.com.

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