By Andreas Hale at ringside
Photos: Chris Cozzone
17 years after their first fight, ring legend Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) evened the score against 41-year-old fellow legend Roy Jones Jr. (54-7, 40 KOs) winning a foul-filled twelve round unanimous decision on Saturday night in a light heavyweight bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The first five rounds were measured, tactical and sometimes dirty, but things really heated up in round six after Hopkins went down from a seemingly light rabbit punch, then furiously went after Jones, continuing to fight even after the bell and the fighters had to be restrained by security. After a Hopkins rabbit punch in round eight, Jones responded with a rabbit punch that sent Hopkins to the canvas again. Hopkins went down for a third time from a borderline low blow in round ten. Action stopped in the eleventh so the ring doctor could look at a cut Jones sustained from a headbutt, ruled unintentional. A slow twelfth round brought boos from the crowd. In the end, Hopkins prevailed 117-110, 117-110, 118-109.
“I was seeing spots in the sixth round,” said B-Hop afterward. “I felt I got hit in the back of the head and my legs went and I started seeing spots. I was mad. Weeks did a helluva job. He was doing the best he could to keep us both under control. I wanted to keep pressing. I’m a scrappy fighter. I might not be flashy. I might not be pretty, but I am a hard core Philadelphia fighter and blue collar worker like most Americans. The rematch was well worth it. It was sweet revenge for me. I want David Haye, the heavyweight champion of the world.”
Jones stated, “I kind of got behind. I was trying to knock him out because I was behind. He is a very crafty veteran. He was hitting me behind the head. I was worried the first time. I knew if I was fouled too much I would have been disqualified. I wanted to give the fans what they wanted. I tried to do that tonight.”
NABF super featherweight titleholder Jason Litzau (27-2, 21 KOs) scored a seven round technical decision over six-time world title challenger Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs). The bout was stopped due to a mouse under Litzau’s left eye and because the injury was ruled to be caused by a headbutt, the bout went to the scorecards where Litzau was ahead 68-65, 67-66, 67-66.
“This is the biggest victory of my career,” said Litzau. “Rocky is a true champion. I want to thank Square Ring and Golden Boy for this opportunity. Me and Rocky gave them a helluva show. I felt like I had another 10 rounds in me. I was so calm. I was relaxed on the inside. I was going to turn it up in the later rounds. I knew Rocky was coming. I was going to turn it up in the later rounds.”
Juarez wasn’t pleased with the result. “I felt the cut was the result of a punch, not an accidental head butt. The cut was by a short left hook. By saying it was an accidental head butt, I was disappointed. I love Jason. We know each other. I am one of the best fighters in the world. I felt that the decision was bull. I was going to stop him at the end of the night. We never collided heads. I made sure of it. Jason knew he was going to get knocked out towards the end of the fight. I do not consider this losing. I did not lose this fight. I felt that this fight was taken from me. I would like a rematch. Jason should give me that rematch because he knows it was a punch. The cut was underneath his eye. Jason just backed out.”
In his first fight since losing his WBC super welterweight world title 19 months ago, “Contender: Season One” winner Sergio Mora (22-1-1, 6 KOs) stopped Calvin Green (21-5-1, 13 KOs) in round seven of a scheduled ten round middleweight bout. Sergio was cut over the left eye in round one but punched non-stop until the bout was finally halted by referee Russell Mora at 1:50 in round seven .
“It is great to be victorious,” commented Mora “The rust was certainly there. 19 months out of the ring took its toll. That will happen. I started really slow. By the third round I felt more like the Latin snake. By the fourth and fifth round, I got it under control. He was always trying to counter. I gave him some good body shots. He can really take a punch. I mixed it up pretty good. I am back. I am with a good promoter now, Golden Boy. I am back.
In an NABF light heavyweight title clash, unbeaten Ismayl Sillakh (12-0, 11 KOs) impressively destroyed veteran Daniel Judah (23-5-3, 10 KOs). Sillakh dropped Judah twice in round two and the bout was waved off by referee Vic Drakulich. Time was :49.
Ray Narh claimed the vacant WBC USNBC lightweight title as he stopped Angel Hernandez (14-4, 11 KOs) in the second round of their scheduled ten round affair. Narh dropped Hernandez three times, with the third coming seconds before the round ended. Hernandez barely got to his feet as referee Robert Byrd stopped the bout at 2:59. With the victory, Narh improves to 24-1 and notched his 21st knockout victory.
Super middleweight James McGirt Jr (22-2-2, 11 KOs) dispatched John Mackey (11-5-2) with a crushing right hand at the end of the second round resulting in a KO victory. The stoppage came at 2:58.
In his professional debut, heralded amateur Frankie Gomez earned a 3rd round TKO stoppage over Clavonne Howard (2-4) in jr welterweight action. Gomez showcased an impressive variety of offense as he clobbered Howard with a three punch combination and followed with a barrage of punches before Joe Cortez called a halt to the bout at 2:45.
Freddie Roach trained middleweight Craig McEwan (18-0, 10 KOs) defeated Kris Andrews (15-9-2, 4 KOs) via 8th round TKO (2:11). No knockdowns early but Andrews was rocked by a right hand and McEwan followed with a barrage of punches for the finish.
Unbeaten lightweight Yaundale Evans (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Juan Baltierrez (2-2-2, 1 KO) via 2nd round TKO (2:08)