Hopkins hopes to set up July rematch with Jones

Updated: January 7, 2007, 1:29 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- World light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, in attendance at Saturday night's Samuel Peter-James Toney rematch at the Hard Rock resort, told ESPN.com he is in negotiations to face rival Roy Jones Jr. in a July 21 HBO PPV rematch.

Hopkins won the light heavyweight title in a virtual shutout of Antonio Tarver -- who is 2-1 against Jones -- in June, then retired.

Restless in retirement, Hopkins announced recently that he planned to return. He named Jones as one of the fighters he most wanted to face.

Jones, a former four-division champion, beat Hopkins on a decision for a vacant middleweight title in 1993, and there has been talk for several years that they eventually would meet again. However, even though they were close to a deal several times, it was never consummated.

Now, however, Hopkins thinks it will get done.

One reason a rematch might be made this time around: Jones, who turns 38 next week, doesn't have any other options for a significant fight.

"We're talking to Roy. We'd both like the fight," said Hopkins, adding that the financial split would be 60-40 in Hopkins' favor.

Hopkins said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, in which Hopkins is a partner, will meet with Jones next week in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla., to hammer out a deal.

Jones lost three in a row, including on brutal knockouts to Tarver and Glen Johnson, but won his comeback fight last summer when he outpointed Badi Ajamu.

If the Hopkins-Jones rematch is made, it would mark Jones' return to HBO, which fired him as an announcer in late 2005.

Hopkins said he intends to reunite with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone, who served as his conditioning coach when he moved up 15 pounds from middleweight to light heavyweight. Shilstone, of course, would have a difficult decision to make because he also worked in the same capacity with Jones when Jones made the historic jump from light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 2003.

"I'm about 185 or 190 right now, but I will be back at 175 and be in great shape," Hopkins said.

Hopkins, who turns 42 next week, said he isn't coming back for just one fight.

"Three more," Hopkins said.

Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) said after fighting Jones (50-4, 38 KOs) he hopes super middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe will come up to light heavyweight to challenge him.

Hopkins' original HBO PPV date was July 14, but he said HBO moved it to July 21.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.