Jones, Hopkins to face off April 3
Two weeks after the Roy Jones-Bernard Hopkins rematch was resurrected, it was formally announced Monday.
The former light heavyweight champions and longtime rivals will meet in a pay-per-view rematch April 3 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, co-promoters Golden Boy and Square Ring announced.
"A rematch with Roy has been in the back of my mind for a long time and it's finally going to happen," Hopkins said in a statement. "I have accomplished a lot in my career since that night in Washington, D.C., in 1993, and I am going to end this thing between me and Roy once and for all."
Hopkins, of course, was talking about their first bout, which Jones won via unanimous decision to win a vacant middleweight title 17 years ago.
Both men would go on to greater glory. Jones, 41, became a four division champion, winning titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, and ruled the pound-for-pound list for a decade. After Jones left the middleweight division, Hopkins, 45, claimed a vacant title and made a division-record 20 defenses, including becoming undisputed champion, before moving up to light heavyweight and winning the lineal title. While Jones' career has been in a downward spiral since three consecutive losses in 2004 and 2005 -- he was viciously knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson and then lost a lopsided decision to Tarver in their third encounter -- Hopkins has remained one of the top fighters in the world.
A rematch had been talked about for many years but was always thrown off course because Jones (54-6, 40 KOs) and Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs) would not compromise on how to split the money. But in September, after several attempts, they finally came to an agreement to split the money 50-50 with a twist. In the event of a knockout, the winning fighter would receive 60 percent of the money.
Although both fighters signed the contract for the fight, it was contingent upon them each making it safely through Dec. 2 interim bouts. Hopkins manhandled Enrique Ornelas for a lopsided 12-round decision. However, hours earlier in Australia, Jones got knocked out in the first round by Danny Green.
It appeared as though the long awaited rematch had fallen by the wayside again. However, neither fighter had any significant alternative, and neither planned to retire, so they reworked the contract and came to a new agreement two weeks ago.
"We're giving the fans what they want to see," Jones said in a statement. "They deserve this fight and why not supply the fans with what they demand? Now I can finally terminate the 'Executioner' once and for all. My new nickname for this fight will be 'The Terminator.' "
The new deal still contains "a substantial financial benefit to the guy who wins by knockout," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com when the new deal was finalized in mid-January.
The fighters will go on a two-city media tour to promote the fight, heading to New York for a news conference on Feb. 9 and to Los Angeles on Feb. 10.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.
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