Bernard Hopkins settled an old score by winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Roy Jones Jr in a long-awaited rematch between two aging warriors.
Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) won on all three judges scorecards 117-110, 117-110, 118-109 in a light heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino that turned nasty at times.
“It was definitely worth it, and it was sweet revenge,” Hopkins said.
“It was really rough in there. He’s a good fighter, and he tried to rough me up. I tried to tough it out, but I was seeing spots from the sixth round on.”
The 45-year-old Hopkins dominated almost every round but also dropped to a knee three times in the fight, including once in round 10 from a seemingly low blow.
The testy fight had to be stopped briefly in the 11th so the ring doctor could inspect a cut on Jones’ head that came from an unintentional head butt.
The fighters had to be separated by security at the end of the sixth round after they refused to stop throwing punches.
Referee Tony Weeks dived in between them to break it up after a long exchange of punches on the ropes.
A member of Jones’ camp leaped into the ring before Weeks and security guards restored order.
After the fight, Hopkins left the ring under his own power but ended up collapsing in the dressing room. Both fighters were taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The 41-year-old Jones has now lost six of his last 11 bouts.
“He’s a defensive fighter, and he fought a smart fight,” Jones said.
“I had to chase him the whole time. The referee didn’t warn him about (head butts), but every time I did something, I got a warning.”
The two fought on May 22, 1993, in Washington’s RFK Stadium for the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight championship.
Jones, who said he fought then with an injured right hand, won a unanimous decision that gave little indication of the superb careers each fighter would go on to have.
Hopkins’ Saturday win was his fifth in six fights since 2005.
He won the world middleweight championship in 1995 and defended it a record 20 times before becoming one of the world’s most versatile fighters in his 40s.