Monday’s Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 6, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. were on course toward finally settling their differences in a rematch 16 years after their first encounter.

Both fighters were showcased on a rare internationally televised, split-site doubleheader last Wednesday. Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs) took care of business, as he defeated Enrique Ornelas (29-6, 19 KOs) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA.

However, Jones (54-6, 40 KOs), fighting for the first time outside of the U.S., was stopped at 2:02 seconds of round number one by Australian fight figure Danny Green (28-3, 25 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round cruiserweight bout at Acer Arena in Sydney.

Jones, who spent years fighting against the ropes, had his back pressed heavily against the corner before Green pummeled him with punches. Green dropped Jones with a right to the temple.

Jones returned to his feet, but appeared hurt by Green’s continuous onslaught. Jones didn’t appear to want to exchange with Green and opted to cover up. The referee stopped the bout.

It’s the way that you lose, and (Jones) lost on his feet, not on his back,” Hopkins said. “I don’t think the ref should have stopped the fight. (Joe) Calzaghe had him hurt worse than that and they didn’t stop that fight. I think I can still fight him. He went out on his feet, not on his back.”

Green can add his name to a short list of fighters that has beaten Jones. Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, and Joe Calzaghe took advantage of Jones’ willingness to fight against the ropes.

Tarver and Johnson both KO’d Jones in consecutive fights during 2004 and 2005. Calzaghe cemented his legacy at Madison Square Garden as one of the greatest super middleweight fighters in history by beating Jones to a bloody pulp through twelve rounds.

Jones probably didn’t go out on his back, but it’s a lot easier for fighters to beat on him.

Jones’ loss was such a disappointing defeat because both Hopkins and Jones discussed fighting one another for many, many years. They actually had a written agreement for a bout during the spring of 2010.

So much has happened since Jones unanimously outpointed Hopkins to capture the then vacant IBF middleweight championship in May 1993.

Both fighters have accomplished so much since their first bout. Hopkins became the first fighter to unify the IBF/WBA/WBC and WBO middleweight championships.

Hopkins broke Carlos Monzon’s all-time middleweight title record (16) by posting 20 consecutive successful title defenses. Hopkins is the only fighter to have knocked out both Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad.

Jones, a four-division champion, became the world light-heavyweight champion before becoming the first former middleweight champion in more than 100 years to win a world heavyweight title.

He accomplished this feat by decisioning John Ruiz for the WBA crown in March 2003. Both fighters’ careers have been plagued by disappointing losses as well.

Jones suffered consecutive KO defeats to Tarver and Johnson before getting pummeled by Joe Calzaghe for twelve rounds. Hopkins shockingly lost two consecutive decisions to Jermain Taylor in 2005 and came up short against Calzaghe.

Hopkins amazed the boxing community when he pulverized an undefeated WBC/WBO middleweight champion named Kelly Pavlik during a non-title fight in October 2008. Hopkins, at age 43, made a prime 25 year-old world champion with exceptional power look like an inexperienced amateur.

Bernard Hopkins attacks Enrique Ornelas.

Bernard Hopkins attacks Enrique Ornelas.

Fighting for the first time in more than 14 months since the Pavlik fight, Hopkins selected a durable fighter in Ornelas, a natural middleweight who has only fought once as a super middleweight and weighed 173 ½ for his light-heavyweight debut against Hopkins.

Ornelas simply wasn’t in the same league as Hopkins, who at 44 continues to be at the top of his game. The judges scored the bout 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110.

Although Hopkins’ bout with Jones doesn’t appear likely at this point, “The Executioner” does have a number of options ahead of him. Hopkins could remain at 175 pounds and wait for a shot at unbeaten Chad Dawson.

The problem with awaiting for Dawson, the WBC interim light-heavy champion, is that Dawson must next face the winner of next week’s title showdown between WBC champion Jean Pascal vs. Adrian Diacanu.

Hopkins has also expressed a desire to fight former IBF cruiserweight champion-turned heavyweight Tomas Adamek. Fresh off his destruction of Andrew Golota, the 33-year-old Polish fighter has signed to fight Jason Estrada in February 2010.

Hopkins, who has a share in Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, has expressed an interest in fighting newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion and stable mate David Haye.

Amir Khan Strikes Back

It was during the fall of 2008 when Britain’s Amir Khan suffered a shocking first-round knockout defeat at the hands of Breidis Prescott summer of 2008.

One way to recover from a shock knockout loss is by coming back to put together a string of impressive victories. That’s exactly what Khan has done. Khan has won his last four bouts including a win over the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera, while becoming a world champion.

On Saturday, December 5, Khan (22-1, 16 KOs), making the first defense of his WBA lightweight championship, iced mandatory challenger Dmitriy Salita (30-1-1, 16 KOs) inside one round.

The bout was stopped at 1:16 of Round 1 after Salita tasted the canvas three times.

Khan, under the guidance of trainer Freddie Roach, has reconstructed his career. Khan is finally on the verge of becoming the fighter his longtime promoter Frank Warren hoped he would become.

Khan is fast, explosive, and is prepared to turn most challengers away.

Next, Khan will become one of the chief sparring partners for newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao when he prepares for his March 13, mega fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

On the undercard, Prescott (21-2, 18 KOs), the fighter that defeated Khan last year, suffered his second consecutive loss – a 12-round unanimous decision unbeaten lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (30-0, 22 KOs).

Ward’s win over Kessler was…NO UPSET!

In boxing, expect the unexpected. But at the same time some fighters are destined to become a world champion regardless as to who is holding the belt. Unfortunately for the highly-skilled and technical Mikkel Kessler the now former defending WBA super middleweight champion, he was simply in Andre Ward’s path of becoming a world champion.

Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) stunned many in the boxing community by outclassing Kessler (42-2, 32 KOs), the overall favorite to win the Super Six: World Boxing Classic, via unanimous technical decision in the eleventh round.

Ward’s victory was such a surprise for so many to bear because the 25 year-old from Oakland, CA, had fewer victories as a professional than Kessler had knockouts.

Also, a lot of people picked Kessler to win based on how competitive he was against a retired, unbeaten Welshman named Joe Calzaghe. People were impressed with the way Kessler shutout a granite-chinned Librado Andrede through 12 rounds.

Clips of Kessler besting Marcus Beyer to unify the WBC/WBA 168-pound titles in 2006 were impressive as well. However, the same way Ward has never seen anything like Kessler, the Viking-Warrior has never seen anything like Andre Ward.

Plus, Andre Ward, a former U.S. Olympian, won a gold medal at the 204 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Ward was considered too small for the 178-pound class and relied heavily on is speed and timing to upset an applecart of fighters.

During an interview with Ward and his trainer Godfather Virgil Hunter, the two spoke very confident in their ability to simultaneously learn and teach one another. The two shared their well-crafted strategy that led Ward toward a gold medal in 2004.

When Ward turned professional in 2005, the same strategy of keeping Ward under the radar in the amateurs worked in the pros. It was five years before Ward stepped-up the level of his opposition.

Ward pounded a unanimous 12-roundecision against Edison Miranda. A lot of people were unimpressed because Ward beat a strong, but limited guy that was KO’d by Kelly Pavlik and thrashed by Arthur Abraham twice.

Ward didn’t give any indication that he was going to defeat Kessler based on is in-ring performances. That was because Ward had never fought anyone that could bring out his best.

Ward never fought anyone that could test his skills in the professional ranks. However, Ward, often tight-lipped about his sparring, works with professional fighters that challenge his skills frequently.

In fact, Ward has sparred with professional fighters ever since he was a teenager. Ward has traveled the country working with the best amateur boxers and top-notch professional fighters.

Ward probably hasn’t fought anyone with Kessler’s technical skills, but he has fought plenty of fighters that were much faster and had lots of power.

In the amateurs, it’s all about speed and timing. Kessler has never fought anyone with the quickness in reflexes and defensive skills as Ward. That is why in the early rounds, Kessler paused in his attack. Kessler simply couldn’t figure Ward out.

He looked baffled as if he’d never been in the ring with someone like that before. Ward was patient, timed Kessler well before hitting him flush with one punch at a time – amazing!

The bout was stopped in the eleventh and went to the judges’ scorecards since an accidental clash of heads lacerated Kessler. At the time of the stoppage Kessler trailed Ward 92-98 (twice) and 93-97.

World Boxing Classic Standings

Boxer W L D KO Total

Arthur Abraham 1 0 0 1 3

Carl Froch 1 0 0 0 2

Andre Ward 1 0 0 0 2

Andre Dirrell 0 1 0 0 0

Mikkel Kessler 0 1 0 0 0

Jermain Taylor 0 1 0 0 0

A boxer is awarded 1 point for a victory and an extra point for a knockout win. Since Abraham KO’d Taylor, Abraham was given a bonus point which put in the lead. A draw is a single point. A loss is zero points. The four fighters with the highest point total after Group Stage 1, 2, & 3 will advance to the semifinal round. The bottom two will be eliminated from the tournament.

Super Six: Boxing Classic – Group 2 Bouts

While Ward is scheduled to make his first defense of his WBA super middleweight championship against Taylor in April 2010, Kessler will challenge WBC 168-pound champion Carl Froch (26-0, 20 KOs) also in April 2010.

Plus, Dirrell (18-1, 13 KOs) will be ready to battle former unbeaten IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs) in March 2010.