HOPKINS GETS UNANIMOUS DECISION OVER JONES
After 17 years, Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO's) avenged a decision loss to Roy Jones Jr. (54-7, 40 KO's) by capturing a 12 round unanimous decision victory in a rough and rugged battle. The official scores were 118-109 and 117-110 twice. Hopkins, 45, looked the fresher of the two, however, Jones, 41, still possessed quicker reflexes. Unlike their first encounter, Hopkins was aggressive and did not let Jones get his punches off first. This time, Hopkins used his trademark hitting and clinching style successfully.
In the first round, Hopkins was more forceful than usual and used a lot of feints to bait Jones. Toward the end of the round, Jones connected with his signature lead right hand. Hopkins continued to pressure Jones in round two, sending him into the ropes after connecting with a left hook - right hand combination. Throughout his career, Jones has had a great deal of trouble fighting off the ropes and Hopkins wanted the action to occur there. Then, Jones missed with a left and Hopkins landed a counter right. Hopkins utilized his jab to push Jones back, and they battled furiously in the corner after Hopkins landed a left hook to Jones' head. Jones sustained a cut on the side of his left eye.
Hopkins connected with an overhand right and feverishly assaulted Jones' body in the third round. During clinches, Jones managed to repeatedly land short right uppercuts. Jones hit Hopkins at the end of the round with a straight right. Still, Hopkins continued to rip a series of rights and lefts to Jones' body in the fourth round. Again, Jones connected with short shots when both fighters clinched.
In the fifth round, Jones struck Hopkins with a right uppercut that sent him back to the ropes. Yet, Hopkins countered with a left hook to the body that appeared to land below Jones' belt-line. Jones kept throwing right uppercuts in the clinches, while Hopkins repeatedly fired and landed shots to Jones' body.
Jones was deducted one point in the sixth round from referee Tony Weeks for striking Hopkins with a left hook behind the head, while Hopkins was in the corner. The punch did not appear to be devastating, but Hopkins did not take it well. As soon as an enraged Hopkins took the time awarded to briefly recover, he went after Jones violently. Both men exchanged heated punches near the end the round. As Weeks tried to separate them at the bell, Hopkins kept firing vicious shots at Jones.
Jones fouled Hopkins for a second time in round eight when he hit him with an overhand right behind the head. Jones' punch was in retaliation for a rabbit punch that Hopkins landed. Once again, Hopkins went down and needed a minute to recuperate. When the action resumed, Hopkins stepped up the pace and landed a strong right to the body followed by a hard overhand right. Jones found himself fighting off the ropes, a place where Hopkins was landing his most damaging blows.
Jones opened round nine by throwing and connecting with lead right hands. Hopkins worked diligently to force Jones back against the ropes. When Jones landed, Hopkins instantly fired in return.
Once more, Jones fouled Hopkins in the tenth round. However, this time Jones hit Hopkins with a left hook that was very low. After receiving time to heal, Hopkins reclaimed his momentum, scoring in the clinches with brutal body punches.
Hopkins charged forward in round eleven, connecting with another right to Jones body. Then, Jones was fouled by an accidental clash of heads. Jones sustained an additional cut from the headbutt just under his left eye brow. The ringside doctor ruled Jones could keep fighting. With the action heating up once again, Hopkins landed several hurtful body punches and followed them with an overhand right. Following a left jab - overhand right from Hopkins, Jones found himself on the ropes as the bell rang to end the round.
Hopkins kept on throwing and landing body shots in round twelve. Jones sent Hopkins into the ropes with sharp right. Both men ended the fight by throwing flurries at the bell.
Clearly, Hopkins won the fight and acquired more than just a victory; He got Jones' respect. Following the loss to Jones in 1993, Hopkins stayed undefeated for the next twelve years before losing a split decision to Jermain Taylor that ended a record 20 successful defenses of the middleweight title. Hopkins has never been knocked out, and it can be argued that besides Jones defeating him in 1993, Hopkins has never lost convincingly. All of Hopkins' losses have been razor thin defeats. He lost by split decision twice; once to Jermain Taylor and once to Joe Calazaghe. The other decision loss Hopkins suffered was a unanimous decision to Taylor in their second fight by scores of 115-113 from all three judges. The loss to Jones was a close fight as well with Hopkins losing by scores of 116-112 on all scorecards. The only other defeat on Hopkins' record came in his first professional bout, a four round majority loss to Clinton Mitchell by scores of 39-38, 39-37 and 38-38.
Where do Hopkins and Jones go from here? For Hopkins, he has called out David Haye and wants to challenge for Haye's WBA heavyweight title, which he retained against John Ruiz (TKO 9) earlier today. As for Jones, he may look to retire after a great career. Then again, it may be extremely difficult for Jones to call it quits and retire after a defeat. Nevertheless, it may be the best thing for Jones to hang up his gloves because his record is 5-6 in his last eleven fights.
LITZAU DEFEATS JUAREZ
Jason Litzau (21-2, 21 KO's) defeated a tough Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KO's) by a seventh round technical decision. The bout went to the scorecards after ringside physicians stopped the contest because of a deep cut on Litzau's left cheek. The official scores were 68-65 and 67-66 twice.
In the first round, referee Jay Nady warned Juarez for hitting low. Then, Litzau picked up the pace in round two, doubling his left jab and landing rights behind it. Litzau's punches were effective and scoring, while Juarez was reluctant to throw throughout the first three rounds.
In round four, Litzau continued to fight his most disciplined fight to date by controlling range and not getting reckless with his punches. Juarez stepped up his work-rate in the fifth round, but Litzau kept outworking him.
Both men landed clean shots in the sixth round, as Litzau ripped left hooks to Juarez's head and snapped his head back with a left uppercut. Juarez countered by hammering Litzau with overhand rights.
In round seven, Litzau sustained a cut on his left cheek, which referee Jay Nady ruled was the result of an accidental headbutt. However, the cut may have been caused by a punch. If the cut occurred from a punch by Juarez and the fight was stopped because of the cut, the ruling would have been a TKO victory for Juarez.
SILLAKH STOPS JUDAH
In light heavyweight action, Ismayl Sillakh (12-0, 11 KO's) stopped Daniel Judah (23-5-3, 10 KO's) in two rounds. Sillakh, 25, opened the first round by dishing out right hands and left hooks to Judah's head, and followed it with crisp, perfectly placed left hooks to the body. Toward the end of the round, Sillakh suffered a minor cut above his right eye resulting from an accidental clash of heads. In round two, Sillakh sent Judah down and into the ropes with a sharp left hook to the body. Then, Judah got back up, but Sillakh connected with a well-timed left hook to the body and dropped him with a left hook to the head, which prompted referee Vic Drakulich to stop the bout at :49 seconds of round two.
Ismayl Sillakh is a native of the Ukraine, but currently resides in Simi Valley, California, U.S.A. Sillakh possesses a stellar amateur record of 302-16, and is quickly climbing the light heavyweight rankings. On the other hand, Daniel Judah's career is now in a tailspin after losing 3 of his last 4 bouts.
GOMEZ WINS DEBUT
In a junior welterweight bout, East Los Angeles native Frankie "Pitbull" Gomez won his professional debut by stopping Clayvonne Howard (2-4, 1 KO) in the third round. The official time of stoppage was 2:45.
Gomez was aggressive throughout the entire bout, scoring mostly with thunderous body shots. In round three, Gomez landed a rock-solid left uppercut followed by a devastating overhand right, which impelled referee Joe Cortez to end the fight.
NARH TKO'S HERNANDEZ IN 3RD ROUND
In another junior welterweight match-up, Ray Narh (24-1, 21 KO's) stopped Angel Hernandez (14-5, 11 KO's) at 2:59 of round two. Narh dropped Hernandez three times, and wore Hernandez down with hard, accurate body punches en route to victory.