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Hopkins Vs Jones Revisited
By Tom Gray (May 13, 2004) 
Bernard Hopkins
The fight took place eleven years ago! How long ago is that? Well Riddick Bowe was considered the best heavyweight in the world and Julio Cesar Chavez was still undefeated, so I guess that sums it up.

The bout was held in Washington’s Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and was the chief support to Riddick Bowe’s heavyweight title fight against Jesse Ferguson. Jones had compiled a record of twenty one wins with twenty knockouts and had just signed a lucrative deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. Hopkins didn’t have Jones’ star power, but was known in the trade as a very efficient fighter and had only lost once (his pro debut) in twenty three starts.

The vacant IBF middleweight title was at stake, as James Toney had relinquished the belt in order to compete at 168lbs. Jones was the favourite, due to his perfect record and trail of destruction in the middleweight ranks, with only the hard headed Jorge Castro having lasted the distance.

Hopkins entered the ring accompanied by the familiar Bouie Fisher and a few body builders, who were dressed in “Executioner” like garbs. Jones followed with his usual confidence and was welcomed by the screams of substantial female support.

It is a common misconception that the fight was close, but I’m afraid that is just wishful thinking on behalf of a few die hard Hopkins fans. Jones controlled the full fight and the only rounds that he lost, were given away. Hopkins would jab and Jones would release perfect right hands that sizzled against the Philadelphian’s head. It is the only time that I have ever seen Hopkins wary of what was coming back. Jones took the title on a unanimous decision, with scores of 116-112 across the board. My scorecard read 117-111.

It must be said that Hopkins has went on to become a far superior fighter than he was on that particular night and this defeat probably contributed a lot to his future success. Jones looked good, but didn’t get too fancy as it was apparent that Hopkins was by far the toughest opponent he had ever faced.

Both guys would go on to become enormously successful and are locks for the Hall of Fame. There have been countless negotiations for a rematch that have always seemed to stall, due to ego or finance. To be honest, considering Jones is now a far bigger man, it wouldn’t be a good choice for Hopkins. The undisputed middleweight champion is a natural 160lb fighter and to ask him to fight above that isn’t very fair.

The paths for both fighters are now clear and retirement beckons for both, within a year or two. If Jones gets past Tarver at the weekend, which isn’t a formality, then he wants to go out with a bang, against either Tyson or Klitschko. Hopkins wants to reach twenty defences of his middleweight title and is set to face Robert Allen and fellow superstar, Oscar De La Hoya this year. If he wins both fights then he needs one more defence, to reach his goal.

We’ll likely never see both of these great champions in the same ring again, but their legacies are secure and the sport will have a hole to fill when they leave.

Not too bad for two fighters who fought each other on an under card eleven years ago.
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