Hopkins vs Jones Why Now?
By Frank Costarelli Jr (December 28, 2005) 
Photo © Lamr Standish/ HoganPhotos.com
Bernard Hopkins vs Roy Jones Jr.: this fight makes absolutely no sense except for dollars and cents. The expiration date on this fight has long passed and this fight should've been taken off the shelf. There's a distinct stench to this one. So, are these two warriors just fighting for the money? I believe in Bernard Hopkins' case the answer is yes and in Roy Jones' case a resounding no.

Bernard is 41 years old. Bernard has lost his last two fights. I think at this point in his career it’s safe to say revenge is not a motive and he is not looking to campaign for any length of time as a light heavyweight. I don't even know if he really believes he can defeat Jones. I think he's playing out the string, rolling the dice and hoping not to roll snake eyes. What the heck even if he loses, he takes in a nice haul and the fight does nothing to tarnish his legacy.

A win over Jones, however, will most likely guarantee him another lucrative payday against Tarver. A fight Tarver will jump at, after all he seems more than willing to feed on faded or half-dead fighters such as Tyson so, why not beat up on what's left of Hopkins for some spare change. A win over Jones and Tarver of course enhances Bernard's legacy but I don't believe that weighs heavily on his mind or decision making.

Bernard Hopkins is a great opportunist, huckster and businessman. Bernard is well aware after the Taylor defeats that his best days are behind him. He has little left to sell but his name and he is more than willing to sell it. He should humble himself and send Don King a thank you note for bringing him face to face with Felix Trinidad. Before King and Trinidad no one was buying much of what Hopkins was selling. Pre-Trinidad a Hopkins fight was akin to being locked in a room and forced to watch the paint dry on the walls. As talented as Bernard is, he’s just as boring to watch fight. Hopkins has been riding a wave called Trinidad and he’s going to ride the crest all the way to shore and beyond if possible, especially if it brings him to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Roy Jones Jr. is a different case altogether. Roy was once being proclaimed the greatest fighter pound for pound of all time. The way Tarver and Johnson knocked him out has given the so- called experts reason to reflect and I think this weighs heavily on his mind.

Roy has lost his last three fights, some would argue his last four. He lost two of the three fights in ugly fashion; he hit the canvas hard and did not recover. The same fate would've befallen him in his last fight with Tarver, if not for Tarver’s mediocrity and ineptness.

Roy was never a risk taker and after getting annihilated by Tarver and Johnson, he sure as heck is not going to start taking risks now. The only reason he fought Tarver a third time was he had no choice. I firmly believe Roy feels there is no risk here. Similar to what he felt fighting Johnson after getting knocked out by Tarver. Hopkins can't match his speed and Hopkins does not have the power to concern or frighten Roy.

It doesn't matter to Roy that he has already beaten Hopkins. Matter of fact, it comforts Roy; it makes him feel safe. He doesn't care that Hopkins is not a light heavyweight and 41 years old. Roy likes those kinds of odds. He likes the deck stacked in his favor. As talented as Roy was in the ring, he was equally talented outside it with his matchmaking.

Roy apologists will be up in arms reading my previous statements. A few of the fighters they like to point out when defending Roy's valor are Virgil Hill, Mike McCallum and John Ruiz. My answer to them is, before Roy, a faded Tommy Hearns had been there and done that with Hill, Mike McCallum was closing in on 41 years old and John Ruiz was a modern day Chuck Wepner with a title belt. For those who don’t remember Chuck, he was a fighter with limited talent and a big heart who fought in the heavyweight division when the talent in the division was plentiful and belts were not.

So why bring this up and disparage Roy? It supports my hypothesis of why he signed for this fight. Why do I think these fighters signed to fight each other? Well, I already showed my hand in the opening paragraph regarding Hopkins. His motivation in this fight is purely money and possibly more money, any accolades on top of that is gravy for him.

Unlike Hopkins, money is not Roy’s major motivator. Roy strikes me as an egomaniac. I watch him and listen to him and I cannot believe how little humility there is in this man, especially after the Tarver and Johnson debacles. I believe he is misguided enough to believe a win over Hopkins will make people forget the way in which he was knocked out by those two men and will restore his tarnished legacy. I believe that is what motivates him.

This rematch is too late in the making and sorry to say unnecessary and not worth all the attention and hype it will receive. It will prove nothing and only serve to make the two fighters richer, which in itself is not a bad thing, in the case of these two men, whether I agree or disagree.
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