By Rick Reeno
After 17-years of hype and drama, Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins will finally meet in the ring for a rematch on April 3rd at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Way back then, Jones won a twelve round decision over Hopkins to win the vacant IBF middleweight title.
Jones is a heavy underdog in the rematch. At one time he was regarded as the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Over the last few years, Jones' career has been sliding up and down. Jones has only won 50% of last 10 fights since 2004. He was stopped in three of those five defeats and took a beating during his 2008 decision loss to Joe Calzaghe. On the other end, Hopkins has been as good as ever. He only lost three fights in his last ten, and two of the losses were very close decisions that could have gone either way.
Jones is not letting the bad breaks bring him down. He plans to raise his game. Hopkins has been his career rival. Because of the revenge factor, Jones promises to raise his game to a level that we haven't seen in years.
"I'm going to teach him that he still can't beat me. It's like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Boston has the most championships but Magic has the most championships out of the two [players], so no matter how good of a team [Byrd] surrounds himself with, Magic can say 'you still can't beat me.' This is the same thing where he always wants to prove that he's better than me and he's not," Jones told BoxingScene.com.
Last December, Jones traveled overseas for the first time in his professional career. He took on IBO cruiserweight champion Danny Green in a very big event in Australia. Green stopped Jones in the first round. The former four division champion told BoxingScene the fight was stopped too soon, and Green had illegally wrapped his hands.
"He wrapped his hands with five layers of wrap; you are only supposed to use two layers. They let him use and adhesive gauze that you are not supposed to use and they let him wrap two hours early. Then when my folks declined the wrap, they said Roy Jones has to either come out and fight or he's disqualified. I was knocked down. It was a good knockdown but when I got up, my [mind] came back very quickly. That's why I asked the ref 'why are you stopping the fight now.' He knocked me down with that hard brick but now he's dead tired and he [the ref] knew he was dead tired. So in two more rounds, [Green] was a dead man," Jones said.
During his career, Jones, more so than any other fighter, was very outspoken about the dangers of fighting for too long. After being stopped three times, Jones has refused to hang up the gloves. Jones has a much different view on the setbacks.
"Let's understand this. Even with the brick, had I got knocked out three times and stayed out, then I would have been concerned. But I got two knockdowns and knocked out. The first Tarver knockdown I got up and they stopped the fight. In the Danny Green fight I got up and I was [mentally] well, and they stopped the fight. The only time that I've been knocked out was against Glen Johnson and my body was totally dehydrated then so that's to be accepted. If I was getting knocked out every time, or if I was getting hurt every time that I was getting hit, or every time I get hit in the gym I was hurt - then I wouldn't even waste my time fighting," Jones said.