CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
A Significant Weekend of Bouts
In a fight that no one really clamored for, Jones faced Hopkins in a fight that should have happen a decade ago or even five years ago, hell, even one year ago after Jones beat up on Jeff Lacey.
Last December, Jones got clocked in one by Danny Green in Australia, the land down under and now question remained what does this fight really mean? For Jones, he has not beaten an elite fighter since he defeated Tarver in their first fight.
Since then, he has cleaned up against top 20 fighters or other former great fighters or contenders like Trinidad or Lacey but when he moved up in elite status, he lost and sometimes badly.
Two losses to Antonio Tarver, a knockout loss to Glen Johnson and Jones went from being Superman in the ring to a mere mortal.
Bernard Hopkins proved to like a fine wine, a fighter who kept his skills level to a high level late into mid 40′s. Past victories against Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and light heavyweight champion Tarver showed a fighter who still had the skills to go with ring guile to win an occasional big fight.
There was a time that Jones would simply play matador to Hopkins bull but those days have long since been gone. Jones’ desperation showed when he twice hit Hopkins back of the head and one low blow whereas he used his height and strength to win the fight as he easily won a unanimous decision.
From the first round, Hopkins’ activity came to the forefront. In their first fight, Jones could easily escape Hopkins’ attacks, but now he merely got caught on the rope.
In the opening seconds of the second round, Hopkins’ right hand drove Jones back to the rope and most of the round saw Hopkins swarm over Jones. The fourth round showed Jones’ weakness today as a fighter.
While he avoided many of Hopkins’ right hand, he did not counter. The Jones of the 90′s would have made Hopkins pay, but now he’s just satisfied not to get hit.
The sixth round saw a mini brawl after the round after a Jones punch to the back of Hopkins’ head that delayed the fight for five minutes. This cost Jones a one-point deduction.
Jones’ best showing came in the ninth and 10th rounds as he landed a right hand near the end of the round for his best punch of the night at that point. In the 10th, a Jones uppercut and straight right gave his fans something to cheer about.
But in the 11th round, Hopkins bullied Jones and landed solid rights that open a count over his left eye. The 11th was a reminder of much of the first eight rounds.
The fight ended with Hopkins punishing Jones on the ropes to win the decision rather easily. So what did this prove? It proved that Jones’ days as an elite fighter have long been over but Hopkins is still one of the better light heavyweights in the world.
The natural fight for Hopkins will be to fight the best light heavyweight in Chad Dawson but there is no real demand from the public for the bout and Hopkins is not interested in any fight that won’t attract a big PPV.
Especially against a dangerous opponent like Dawson, who could beat Hopkins.
STILL THE CHAMP
Meanwhile across the pond, David Haye dominated John Ruiz in London to maintain his share of the heavyweight title. He floored Ruiz within the first 30 seconds with a huge right but Ruiz survived the round and began the second round doing what Ruiz does; move forward.
In the third round, both fighters have cuts above their eyes but Haye connected on the stronger blow and this continued through the fourth round. Throughout Ruiz’s career, he moved forward and despite being floored in the both fifth and sixth round, he continued on his suicide mission into Haye’s buzzsaw offense.
By this time, it was obvious that Ruiz could not deal with Haye’s speed and his own corner warned him that they were ready to throw in the towel if they could not see any chance of Ruiz turning the fight around.
Ruiz had a good seventh round, but the eighth saw him get staggered. In the ninth round, Haye threw a big right that staggered Ruiz and at that point, Ruiz’s corner threw in the towel.
He wasn’t go to win nor was Haye in danger of being knocked out, so Ruiz’s corner realize the obvious; their guy was finished for the night. Haye is still the WBA title holder and he wants a big fight with the Klitschkos.
But the WBA may force a rematch with its top contender, Nicolay Valuev. Haye is not that anxious to fight the seven foot Russian when there are bigger fights out there.
And the biggest name is Klitschko.
As for Ruiz, the 38-year-old American is no longer an elite heavyweight and this was probably his last change for a title. His choice and options are less appealing for to continue as fighter will simply mean that he will drift into the status of being an opponent.
He has to decide if fighting with no chance of a title shot is worth the pain of the sport.