Ain't gonna be no rematch. (Or is there?)
Pretty much everybody already knew what happened in Australia earlier today, but if you somehow missed it all, Roy Jones Jr. was knocked out in the first round by heavy-handed Aussie Danny Green, who scored what may have been the most thrilling and maybe globally important victory in Australian boxing history.
With Jones (54-6, 40 KO) trying to use his speed and feel out Green early, Roy found himself trapped in the corner. It was then that Green (28-3, 25 KO) unleashed a big right hand, which thudded off of Jones' temple and put him on the mat. He was clearly on bad legs when he got up, but the fight continued. Jones covered himself up as Green pounced for the finish, and eventually, referee Howard John Foster had no choice but to stop the fight. Jones was hurt, not fighting back, and was finished.
So before Bernard Hopkins ever climbed into the ring in Philadelphia tonight, the 2010 rematch between the two living legends was off.
But Hopkins showed no signs of being let down, as he came out and routed Enrique Ornelas live on Versus from a frankly dead Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Hopkins won on scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. Bad Left Hook scored it 119-109. It was a typical Hopkins performance, and dominant as expected.
After the fight, Hopkins shared his thoughts on the Jones loss in Australia, remarking, "You know what happens when you go over to Europe, that's why I would never go there." He argued that the fight was stopped too early, but Roy Jones himself had no problems with it. All Jones said after his fight was that he had no excuses. He lost. And that's the prevailing feeling. He lost. A 40-year old fighter of Jones' stature knows you can't just cover up like that and have referees let the fight go too long.
There was another interesting non-fight happening tonight, as Hopkins received the most overblown, ridiculous introduction in the history of boxing. That's neither here nor there, really, but it was truly absurd and must be heard.
So is the rematch off for sure?
Actually, it sounded to me like Hopkins was doing his best to hype Roy Jones Jr. as a still legitimate opponent, and like he still wants that fight to happen. Hopkins was attempting to "excuse" Roy's loss as something shady that happened in "Europe."
If they go ahead with Hopkins-Jones II as a pay-per-view event at this point, they're going to both be embarrassed by the buys the fight receives. Neither of them have drawn at all in recent years, and the last time both had major PPV fights, they went back-to-back with rotten buyrate performances, Hopkins against Kelly Pavlik in October 2008, and Jones against Joe Calzaghe the next month. I get the feeling that this rematch -- especially now -- is only for the biggest fans of both men, and I don't think there's a ton of those folks left. Hopkins has never really been any sort of major star, as great as he is, and Jones' most popular days are well in the past.
Either way, all congratulations to Danny Green for a win that probably won't get enough attention as a win for him. God knows I just spent the whole time talking mostly about Jones losing more than Green winning, and about a rematch that may or may not even happen now. And hats off to Bernard Hopkins for another dominant performance, a month and a half shy of his 45th birthday.
We'll have more on Roy Jones Jr. especially shortly.
On the Philly undercard:
- Junior welterweight prospect Danny Garcia shellacked veteran Enrique Colin, knocking him out in the second round. Garcia improved to 15-0 with his 10th stoppage.
- Featherweight prospect Derrick Wilson was upset in a four-rounder by professional opponent Guadalupe de Leon. Pretty decent little fight, but Wilson, 20, was less than impressive for certain. But with his youth, he has plenty of time to improve and bounce back.