In a battle of aging ring legends, Bernard Hopkins sought to avenge a 17-year-old loss versus arch-nemesis Roy Jones Jr. Both men are certain first ballot Hall-of-Famers, yet this late-stage fight in their respective careers stands to forge a final legacy.
Roy came out to a Snoop Dogg tune, while Bernard preferred an amended version of the Frank Sinatra classic, “My Way” (What else could it be?). The crowd was decidedly in Roy's favor; Bernard probably preferred it like that.
Michael Buffer laid out the perennially festive and signature announcements, and the old-school crowd livened up. Referee Tony Weeks was the official in the ring, and the combatants set out to decide, once and for all, who the greater of the greats was.
The first round was mostly filled with feints and faces as both men looked to feel out the other. Bernard said he'd look for the knockout and it would have to be an out-of-character ending, but the beginning looked to be much of the same.
After some success from Bernard early in the second, the mean mugging contest resumed.
With 30 seconds left, Bernard mugged Roy in the corner, causing him to cover up, using his savvy veteran tactics to take another round.
The third round saw more of the same, as Bernard attacked, held, and continued to win. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective. Trapping Roy on the ropes is turning out to be the successful strategy that “’Nard” envisioned.
In the fourth, Bernard kept digging to Jones' body, as Roy continued to look to potshot and move, despite his lack of success. Hopkins continued to pitch a shut-out.
The fifth round saw Roy begin to have some success on the inside, as he resolved to following Bernard's lead of, what shall we call it, cagey tactics.
With ten seconds left in the sixth, Roy threw a shot that landed behind Bernard's head as he turned into the ropes, and Hopkins appeared to be very hurt by the shot, despite the crowd's displeasure. Upon replay, the shot looked dirty.
As Bernard recovered, Weeks took a point away from Roy for the rabbit punch. Hopkins shook it off and the fight resumed. Bernard immediately attacked Roy, and the action went beyond the bell. A commotion erupted in the ring, and security worked to restore order.
Round seven began, and Weeks knew his hands were full as the round started just as the last ended, yet subsided quickly. Roy looked to be in full defense mode, yet fired back at the end of the round.
In round eight, Roy went behind the head again with ten seconds to go. Once again, after the rest period, Hopkins attacked; no point deduction would be had this time.
Round nine saw Hopkins lead right hand flowing- typically followed by a mugging- and is proving effective time and time again. Roy did manage to land a few clean shots that may have won the round for him.
In round ten, a shot seemed to stray low early in the round, and Bernard once again laid on the canvas in agony. Roy finished strong and looked to have won the round based in activity.
Round 11 saw Roy playing the same “buying time” card with a headbutt from “’Nard” early on; Nard controlled the rest of the stanza.
The 12th was a matter of formality, as neither guy went for the stoppage win. One had hoped the promise of a 60-40 split in the event of a KO would motivate the two veterans but, nonetheless, the fight ended without such a dramatic conclusion.
The official scores read 117-110 twice, and 118-109, all for Hopkins.