Roy Jones Jr. ( Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight, Cruiserweight)
Record: 55-8-0, 40 Knockouts
Titles: IBF Middleweight, 3X WBC Light Heavyweight, 4X WBA Light Heavyweight, IBF Super Middleweight, IBF Light Heavyweight, The Ring Light Heavyweight, and Lineal/Undisputed Light Heavyweight World Champion
Notable Win: (James Toney, UD)
"Ya'll musta forgot". Roy Jones had everything one could ever imagine a highly skilled, highly athletic, and highly marketable dominant world champion would need in order to reign and rule over a sport for an entire decade. He was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s by Sports Illustrated, he was the most dominant light heavyweight of the last twenty five years, in his prime Roy Jones was the most physically gifted fighter to ever walk the face of the earth, and that's no dramatic appeal; it's fact. Roy Jones was so good he knocked out Glen Kelly with one hand behind his back. As his song expressed, he threw four hooks at one time, he was ever bit a once in a lifetime fighter as there ever will be. He stopped cold a very good fighter in Virgil Hill with a body shot equal in force and sound only to the shot heard round the world.
Roy Jones in his prime would still be the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world today. Had it not been for wear and tear, diminished skills and the constant draining of weight Roy Jones would have beaten Joe Calzaghe. I take nothing from The Italian Dragon, he was a great fighter but one has to put an asterisk by his victory over an expiring Jones Jr. who was never really the same after coming back down to light heavyweight after beating John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight crown.
It's funny to hear people talk up Joe's win over Roy as though it were some profound achievement. Keep in mind Roy was shot five years before November 8th, 2008 when he fought Calzaghe for the Ring's 175 title. I would have loved to see these two great fighters meet when it mattered the most: At super middleweight or at least when Roy was at the height of his reign at 175 pounds (late 90s-early 2000s).
With the exception of Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, and Chad Dawson, I don't think there's a fighter between 168 and 175 pounds today that would give a prime RJJ serious trouble.
Bernard Hopkins (Middleweight, Light Heavyweight)
Record: 52-6-2, 2 NC, 32 Knockouts
Titles: USBA Middleweight, Undisputed IBF, WBA, WBC, and The Ring Middleweight, Undisputed and The Ring Light Heavyweight Champion
Notable Win: (Felix Trinidad, KO) (Oscar De La Hoya, KO), (Jean Pascal, UD)
"The Executioner". Bernard Hopkins once said he was the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, and the least they can pay him is ten million dollars. His entrance music said it perfectly: He did it his way. Depending on who you ask that was either a stroke of street wise brilliance in a brutal sport like boxing or a selfish and bull headed business strategy that burned more bridges than William Tecumseh Sherman during the Civil War.
Bernard Hopkins never was near the physical talent Roy Jones was. He had to wait until his release from prison before he made his mark on the sport, whereas Roy was groomed for super stardom the minute he was robbed in the Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Bernard Hopkins was that young boy in the back of the classroom who had a chip on his shoulder and a switch blade in his back pocket. He didn't like his teachers, he didn't like math, but he loved gym, and only went to school so he could have gym, go to lunch, talk to girls, and fight after school in the parking lot. He is every bit the rough neck street soldier as he is the master of defense; a savant of fisticuffs.
Bernard Hopkins made 160 his home, as he laid his hat there for a decade, making his mark as one of the best middleweights of all time. It wasn't until he ran across Jermaine Taylor that his reign came to an end. After that he moved up to 175 and basically picked up where he left off. Some of B-Hop's most impressive wins came later on in his career when he fought at 175 pounds.
He was defeated by Joe Calzaghe in what many feel was a fight Hopkins won. I scored the fight as a majority decision for Hopkins but there were rounds, especially in the middle where Bernard was a lot less active than he was in the early stages of the fight.
Last year he became the oldest world champion in boxing history after he notched a UD win over the younger Jean Pascal in a highly anticipated rematch for the Ring and WBC light heavyweight titles in Montreal, Quebec. Hopkins broke the record previously held by George Foreman who knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994 to capture the IBF, WBA, and Lineal heavyweight crown at the age of 45.
So, who do you guys think had the better career? My view is this: Hopkins had the better career in terms of his longevity and how long he lasted as an elite fighter who was able to win major world titles against much younger opposition. Keep in mind, while Roy Jones had more natural ability, Roy started to fade around 2004, it's not known whether or not Bernard is starting to fade. I mean sure he's fading age wise but unlike Roy Jones we have yet to see Hopkins in a position where he's being sparked out on a nightly basis by opponents who would otherwise be dominated in a different set of circumstances. That's what we saw with Roy Jones when he was getting knocked out silly by Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver. How much of him fading early had to do with those losses.
So yes, in my view when you compare their ring dominance and how long they were able to dominate or sustain a record of success, Bernard Hopkins has the upper hand.
However when it comes to overall influence, impact, and pop culture, coupled with in ring supremacy then no question Roy Jones had the better overall career than Bernard Hopkins. Roy Jones was much more than a great fighter, he was what Floyd Mayweather is today, minus the outside legal problems and polarizing view of the boxing public. Roy was a superstar who transcended the sport of boxing as a brand. He was great at selling his dominance through music and other ventures.
Hate to quote another line from that God awful song but when he says "The heart and soul of boxing on HBO" he's exactly right. Roy Jones was HBO boxing, more so than any other fighter at the time; including Oscar De La Hoya.
Both Jones and Hopkins are all time greats and nothing can be taken away from what they gave the sport of boxing. My only problem is that I wish Bernard Hopkins would have fought James Toney at either middleweight or super middleweight and that Roy Jones would have fought Michael Moorer at light heavyweight or Joe Calzaghe when both fighters were in their prime as oppose to the twilight of their careers.
What do you guys think?