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Roy Jones Jr: Hopkins bores young fighters into not performing

Roy Jones Jr talks Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev, the U.S. Olympic team, and more.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

A guy you fought twice, Bernard Hopkins is fighting this weekend. What makes it so tricky to fight someone like Bernard? And why do you feel he's had success against a lot younger, and physically stronger opponents?

"There's nothing tricky about fighting Bernard Hopkins. Bernard Hopkins is just a solid guy. They're not teaching solid fundamentals in this country anymore. To show you the proof of that, we go to the Olympics and we don't win a single medal. When you got the 1984 team that won 11 medals out of 12 fighters. 11 medals! You understand me? My team, we won about nine, eight or nine. We had, like, four gold, I think, couple silver, couple bronze, so we got close to nine out of 12. That's saying a lot. Now we go and we don't get a single medal. That tells you, everyone else has passed us in the skill level.

"Because of that, Bernard is making it because these guys aren't as skillfully inclined as he is. Now, pro boxing what makes him so good is, he was boring when he was in his prime, and he's still boring now. But he can bore you enough to where there's not no excitement for these young guys. If they don't have stimulation, they don't perform. Or once they realize they can't have their way, he got 'em. So if Kovalev don't come out and get his way right away, he's gonna be in trouble. Because once Bernard gets you to where you can't get your way, he's got you! That's his game. That's always been his game.

"I just beat him because I was so much busier than he was. I was a busy guy who needed to perform for my people. I wasn't trying to be out there and make people bored. He don't care if you're bored, it don't mean nothing to him. As long as he gets the win, which is smart on his part. That's who he is. It's not who I am, but that's who he is, and I can't take nothing away from him for that. Because he's very smart at doing it. You've got a 50 year old man beating 29 and 30 year old guys because he's smart. You gotta love that."

Do you think Kovalev takes it, though?

"I don't know if Kovalev takes it or not. That'll be determined in the first three rounds. If Kovalev can hurt him early and can keep the pressure on him early. He's young enough, he has skills enough. It ain't always about skills. Bernard Hopkins is a mastermind. If you don't beat him mentally, you're not gonna beat him."

Do you still want to box Anderson Silva?

"I'm not that guy. I'm not the guy to want to chase someone around. I know he wanted to do it. I know it was more of an event than it was an actual fight. What I feel bad about is that there are fans that would like to see the two of us in a ring with a pair of boxing gloves for real, and they'll never get to see it. Just like there are fans who want to see Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao together, they really wanted to see them in their primes, but they'll take it now if they can get it. So they still might see it, but you hate when -- I hate being a part of it, and I'm not the reason that they can't see it. I'm used to delivering to the fans what they want to see.

"Now I get to work a corner, I'm still thinking about before I retire, what if I fight, work a corner, and commentate all in one night? Who else can pull that off? It's hard to get network support. I like to do things that'll leave a mark in boxing. People still talk about when I played the basketball game and I fought the same night, and the guy I fought went on to become WBC super middleweight champ for about three years, Eric Lucas. When I do things, I'm not doing meaningless things, I'm doing things that are gonna be around. I'm setting a bar for kids to come along and follow. If you don't give 'em something to reach at, they ain't got nothing to reach at. So you have to set a bar to give 'em something to reach at to make them go harder. If you don't, they got no reason to go hard.

"Right now, our Olympic team is not meeting the standards that we set. It's bad. I almost want to become an Olympic coach or an amateur coach because I feel like we're not being represented to the fullest. And a part of it is we're broken, and other countries are together. They have one basis, one regimen, one way that they all work. So when they bring a fighter, all their fighters are solid, because they're all running the San Antonio Spurs offense. Can't go wrong with that."

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