MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Bernard Hopkins says he knows that Roy Jones Jr. is looking to resurrect his career by beating him again.
Nearly 17 years after their first fight, Hopkins and Jones will finally have their rematch April 3 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Jones won the first bout and his first world title with a unanimous decision over Hopkins for the International Boxing Federation middleweight belt in May 1993.
"His career took off, he earned it," Hopkins said of Jones during a media session and before a workout Tuesday. "He deserved it. Now 17 years fast forward, he needs his career resurrected over Bernard Hopkins' blessings."
While Hopkins, who turned 45 in January, appears to still have some fight left in him, Jones is 5-5 in his last 10 fights. Jones suffered a first-round knockout loss against Danny Green on Dec. 2 in Australia — the same date Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs) won a lopsided decision over Enrique Ornelas in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Although Green dropped Jones in the opening seconds of the fight, Jones (54-6, 40 KOs) got up, but spent most of the round laying on the ropes before referee John Foster stopped the bout with 58 seconds remaining in the round.
Hopkins believes that Jones' recent performance will not hurt their bout's marketability.
"When I heard he got knocked out in the first round, I said, 'OK, he got knocked down, didn't get up,'" Hopkins said. "But I looked at the tape and said, 'wait a minute. They stopped the fight on this? Based on this?'
"Even if it wasn't stopped prematurely, a wounded animal is a dangerous animal. That he has to redeem himself and that one fight can change everybody's minds and the way they perceive him to be when it's over, then that last episode of Roy Jones' career would be my biggest motivation to win."
It didn't appear as if Hopkins and Jones would meet again considering the different paths both fighters took after their first bout.
Jones vacated the middleweight title in 1994, Hopkins succeeded him as champion and dominated the division until 2005. The highlight of Hopkins' reign was his 12th-round technical knockout of Felix Trinidad in Sept. 2001 in New York.
Meanwhile, Jones won world titles as a super-middleweight and light-heavyweight and moved up to challenge then heavyweight champion John Ruiz in 2003. Jones won a lopsided decision and became the first middleweight to eventually win a heavyweight belt in more than 100 years.
"Every time that a media conversation started or an article was written that Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones were going to fight, it became a reality that it wasn't going to happen once it got into negotiations," Hopkins said.
The possibility of Hopkins and Jones meeting again picked up steam last year. After losing his title against Jermain Taylor and again in a direct rematch, Hopkins left the heavyweights and moved to the light-heavyweight class.
"He can lay his hat on that he beat me before and he is right about that," Hopkins said. "But that was then.
"Now he has the opportunity to resurrect his career off of me. That tells you how things change over the years."