VEGAS (Nevada) (AFP) Bernard Hopkins is talking about fighting heavyweight world champion David Haye of Britain while Roy Jones is talking about giving Hopkins his first knockout loss in their April 3 showdown.
The boxing legends spoke Wednesday in conference calls ahead of their fight at Las Vegas, which 41-year-old Jones said could be the capper to his career and 45-year-old Hopkins said could launch him into a bout with Haye.
Start pumping that now. Youre thinking like me, Hopkins said. That scenario sounds good to me but I have got to do my thing on April 3.
Haye, the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion who is 23-1 with 21 knockouts, fights American John Ruiz on April 3 in England but hopes to next fight a Ukranian rival champion, either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko.
Hopkins has been counted out in ring deals before, if never in the ring, but wears his age like a badge of pride as he plans for Haye and perhaps beyond. As I keep being reminded that Im 45 like its a death sentence, have I been fighting like Im 45? Hopkins said.
Im saying this fight is for my future career. I have to not only win this fight but win impressively. Im setting up the next big thing to Bernard Hopkins.
Jones 54-6 with 40 knockouts, is a former heavyweight champion himself thanks to a victory over Ruiz. He won a unanimous decision over Hopkins, 50-5 with one drawn and 32 knockouts, in their first fight in 1993 at Washington.
He was more of a young fighter trying to win by any means necessary, Jones said. This time hes a little smarter. He doesnt take as many risks. Hes more of an opportunist than he was back then.
Jones said no matter how the fight goes, it might be his last.
It could be a way to end my career, Jones said. I will have to see. If everything turns out well, then maybe. And if Bernard Hopkins can hurt me, its time to hang it up.
Both fighters have something to prove. Jones suffered a first round knockout in his last fight last December to Danny Green and is 5-5 in the past six years while Hopkins has lost three of his past seven fights and beat Mexicos Enrique Ornelas last December in his only start for the past 18 months.
He feels like Im done. Im washed up. Im old goods. Thats the only reason hes taking the fight now, Jones said.
Im going to give him my secret punch, guaranteed to stop him. Hes going to sleep by knockout. Theres nothing he can do to win.
Hopkins, naturally, disagrees.
Roy aint going to knock Bernard Hopkins out, Hopkins said. Hes one up on me. Its a personal vendetta. Ive got something legitimate to me personally in this fight. Thats how much animosity is there. Thats how deep this thing is.
Every punch is going to mean something for over 17 years so Ive got to land a lot of combinations.
Hopkins called his first fight with Jones a night that changed both of our lives. That fight there helped sculpture my psyche and character.
Jones sees no tarnishing of his legacy by continuing to fight beyond his prime.
Aint many of them who can do it as well as I still can so why should I not be doing it, Jones said. I was smarter and slicker than him 17 years ago and Im smarter and slicker than him now.
I want to show him hes still not better than me. He has been hating me for 17 years because I beat him and he can go on hating me for another 17 years after I beat him again.