Originally Posted by crold1
I remember 80-20 from USA Today at the time; here's an actual report at 70-30. Equally silly.
Jones Is Hopkins' Preferred Target
BY T.J. QUINN DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Wednesday, February 21, 2001
THE DIRECTOR at the Milbank Center of Children's Aid Society in Harlem was incredulous when she stopped Bernard Hopkins at the front desk yesterday. She wanted to know who he was. He told her that he was the middleweight champion.
"Middleweight champion of what?" she asked.
Such is the life of one of the longest reigning world champions in a division that hasn't been sweet since Sugar Ray Robinson left and hasn't been prominent since Marvin Hagler hung them up 15 years ago.
But all that could change now that promoter Don King has put together a three-bout middleweight unification tournament that, barring any last minute snags, will unfold at Madison Square Garden. Hopkins, the IBF champ, will meet WBC champ Keith Holmes on April 14 on HBO.
"This is an important fight for me," Hopkins said during lunch at Gallagher's Steakhouse yesterday. "It's going to put pressure on Roy Jones Jr. I know if I hold up my end, Roy will have no excuse to bail out of a fight with me by early 2002. The boxing world will say to him put up or shut up."
Jones, who won a decision against Hopkins as a middleweight in 1993, already has bailed on Hopkins and the boxing public. King tried to bring Jones into the middleweight tournament mix by signing him to meet the undisputed middleweight champ when the dust cleared. He didn't want any part of that. Hopkins tried to make a fight with Jones, but the deal broke down because Jones insisted on not only a rematch, but a third fight with a 70-30 split his way.
Now, Jones is defending his undisputed light heavyweight title against a lightly regarded opponent named Derrick Harmon Saturday while Hopkins is marching toward Felix Trinidad. And Jones called Hopkins a coward last week.
When Hopkins was negotiating to meet Jones, Lou DiBella, the former HBO boxing czar who is advising Hopkins, had his doubts as to whether Hopkins could defeat Jones.
"You know what changed my mind? Bernard asked me who I would pick in a street fight, him or Roy," DiBella said. "I gotta tell you, I'd take Bernard."
Hopkins (38-2-1, 28 KOs) doesn't need Jones. Jones will be just fine, because as he said last week, he's not starving. HBO's version of boxing welfare has made Jones a very rich man. What boxer wouldn't want to pick his own opponents and still collect $3 million a fight?
Nothing ever has come easy for Hopkins, who spent nine years in prison for robbery and then nine years on probation. He has never earned $1 million in a fight. He has spent most of his pro career trying to maintain his independence from boxing's parasites - managers and promoters. He has successfully sued two promoters to break contracts that he believed were damaging his career.
And now at 36, near the end of his career, things are looking up for Hopkins. Thanks to King, the last person on earth he thought he'd ever fight for, Hopkins has a chance to make more money in two fights (around $4 million) than he has made in his entire career.
Yesterday, Hopkins took an early morning train from Philadelphia to make two speaking engagements in Manhattan as part of African-American History Month. He spent the morning downtown at The New York League speaking to a group of mentally retarded adults. In the afternoon, he talked to a group of restless kids at the Buster Bryant Gym about the importance of sacrifice and dedication. Tomorrow morning he will drive his mother, Shirley Hopkins, who has breast cancer, to chemotherapy.
"In boxing people always say you get what you deserve and it's a negative," DiBella said. "But with Bernard, he's finally getting what he deserves and it's a positive."