First off, I'd like to wish Bernard Hopkins a very happy 45th birthday. And I mean that.
Now then, to the matter at hand. The Hall of Fame-bound "Executioner" put up a message on Facebook last night defending his idea to go through with a rematch against Roy Jones Jr., which has been met with a good deal of skepticism and outright fan anger. Some are accusing Hopkins of flat-out ducking Chad Dawson (among other fighters), Danny Green says Bernard turned down a ton of money to come to Australia, and a lot of people just don't want to see Hopkins-Jones II, especially on pay-per-view.
Hopkins' reason -- as one would expect -- is that a fight with Roy "is personal." You know, like all those times on "24/7" or an HBO "Countdown" show where Oscar de la Hoya would tell you that this time -- against Mayweather, Pacquiao, Mayorga, me, you -- it was personal. And he'd look right at the camera and say things like, "You want to fight with ME? You want to insult ME?"
"I feel Roy was the last fighter to beat me."
So what? It was 17 years ago and Roy Jones can't take a punch anymore. There's nobody on earth that thinks Jones can win this fight. If Jones wins this fight, it means they're both shot. Hopkins claims to be the best light heavyweight in the world, but he's fighting a guy not in the division's top ten, after a tune-up fight against a super middleweight on the fringes of that division's top 20.
If you still have Jones ranked in your top ten, you've got rocks in your head. Roy Jones is 5-5 in his last 10 fights and has been knocked out three times. If Hopkins thinks that beating a dead in the water, 41-year-old version of Roy Jones that could only last two minutes and one decent punch against Danny Green means the same as Jones beating him in 1993, he's delusional. And he's far too concerned with making sure he has a W over Roy to match Roy's W over him. It's obsessive.
"Chad Dawson fight [doesn't] do anything for me."
How doesn't it? HBO would have put down very good money for this, it would have shown Hopkins as a 45-year-old fighter still willing to take on the best in the division. It does nothing but help his legacy, win or lose, and makes him good money, too.
Now if he's saying he doesn't want to fight Chad Dawson, fine. That's fine. I don't care if he wants to fight Chad Dawson or not. When it comes right down to it, I'm perfectly OK with Dawson fighting Jean Pascal in June while Bernard and Roy perform Grumpiest Old Men in April. And anyway, Hopkins-Dawson would do an awful live gate no matter where you put it, probably even worse than Hopkins-Jones will do in Las Vegas. (For the record, this fight really should have been on the east coast.)
Still, trying to insult Dawson by calling him "another Kelly Pavlik" is a bit odd. If Bernard is saying Pavlik isn't/wasn't good, OK, whatever. He fought him and routed him, so he can say what he wants there. But is he implying that Pavlik "didn't do anything for him"? Because the domination of unbeaten, middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik is a big reason why we're even here with Hopkins' career. It allowed him to take all of 2009 off except a semi-cupcake fight with Ornelas (tough guy, nice guy, not on Nard's level) and still be regarded as a pound-for-pound contender despite being 44 years of age.
Beating Pavlik did a LOT for Hopkins. Beating Dawson would arguably do even more.
"Bute said he don't want to fight me because I would beat him."
I highly doubt this. Hopkins fights a division higher than Bute, won't fight in Quebec (or anywhere else in Europe for that matter...), and frankly Bernard cannot draw a house. He has never been a draw. Bute is one of the biggest live draws in boxing, and he does it every single fight.
"Same goes for Paul."
I assume he's talking about Paul Williams. You know, Bernard fights at 175 pounds. Paul Williams has never fought over 160 and looked in his last fight like 160 is really going to be his limit for the time being, no matter what promoter BS Dan Goossen comes up with about him fighting at 168 pounds. If Bernard is trying to imply that Williams not wanting to stupidly come up two (or more, depending on how you look at it) divisions to fight him is a legitimate act of cowardice or whatever, then that's just silly.
"I'm going to fight the winner of Haye-Ruiz in July."
Quick turnaround for B-Hop, but hey, time waits for no man, especially not at 45 in boxing. I'd be down with this. I'm guessing Haye gets out with his title (but I'm not certain about it). Hopkins going for a heavyweight belt at 45 would be significant, ballsy and even a bit reckless. He is a small light heavyweight.
But overall here, this is Bernard in a hyper defensive mode. To play idiot armchair psychologist, I think it really does indicate how badly he DID want the Jones fight, and how much he wanted it to be a big deal. It's not a big deal anymore, and he's clearly aware of that. He's trying to dismiss everyone from Chad Dawson to Paul Williams in order to make Jones sound good, but he can't offer any reason that Roy Jones is a legitimate opponent.
They (Hopkins, Jones, Golden Boy) have been trying to save this fight from the EXACT SECOND that Jones was starched by Green in Australia. I think Roy might've been on his feet after the knockdown and before the referee stopped it, thinking about Hopkins, thinking of ways to save their rematch.
Have they saved it? In the sense that it's going to happen, yes. In the sense that it matters? No. There was never any saving this. For probably 90% of the people that cared about a Hopkins-Jones rematch, Jones was one-punched by a nobody in December. They didn't know Danny Green from Adam.
But it's a good thing this fight is not about money according to Bernard, because past the guarantees, there's not much there.