Undisputed at middleweight and unified at light-heavyweight, Bernard Hopkins’ storied career spanned just short of three decades.
‘The Executioner’ has wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Felix Trinidad and Winky Wright, but the man he considers the best he faced beat him – at least in their first fight together.
In an interview for The Ring Magazine‘s Best I Faced feature, Hopkins named one Roy Jones Jr at the top of his list, highlighting his IQ and skills.
“He was smart enough to neutralise my best weapons and smart enough to not get hit by my big shots. Even though I got my shots in he wouldn’t get hit by more than one. Like if I got one in … and that’s the thing about fighting unique guys … if a guy lands that one shot, normally there’s another coming behind that.”
“He was an all-around thing – best boxer, best defence, offence.”
“Early career Roy Jones Jr. – speed, reflexes, unorthodox, that type of thing. No one, no one would have beat Roy Jones at that level, where he was at right there and then.”
Hopkins and Jones Jr first shared the ring in the middleweight ranks for the vacant IBF World Title, with the latter winning 116–112 on all of the scorecards.
Hopkins would get a win back 17 years later at light-heavyweight. It was a scrappy fight in which all three ringside judges had him winning clearly against the 41-year-old Jones.
He hung up the gloves two years later. As for the ‘all-rounder’ Jones, he technically still remains active having fought this year in a loss to MMA fighter Anthony Pettis.