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Bernard Hopkins targets David Haye title shot

Bernard Hopkins and Enrique Ornelas
Hopkins was a comfortable victor against his Mexican opponent

Veteran Bernard Hopkins has set his sights on a heavyweight world title clash with Britain's David Haye after making a winning return to the ring.

The 44-year-old American took a unanimous points decision against Enrique Ornelas in Philadelphia.

The former world middleweight and light-heavyweight champion then declared: "I'm now going to be heavyweight champion in 2010."

Britain's Haye, a former cruiserweight, is Hopkins' most obvious target.

Haye holds the WBA version of the heavyweight crown, while the Klitschko brothers between them hold the WBC, IBF and WBO belts.


Haye, who defeated giant Russian Nikolay Valuev in November, first faces a mandatory defence against American John Ruiz.

He then plans to face one of the Klitschkos in a unification bout, and fighting Hopkins - a notoriously awkward opponent - may not be on his agenda.

Hopkins fought well against Ornelas, landing sharp counters, and when the Mexican stood off, scoring with rights.

After a wobble in round four, Hopkins took over in the fifth, pinning Ornelas into a corner and digging to the body with the Mexican visibly tiring by the 10th.

"I'd like to give Ornelas a lot of credit, he didn't come to lay down," said Hopkins, who has now won 50 of his 56 professional fights, 32 by knockout.

"He hung in there, he took some great shots. I took some great shots. I think for 44 years old, my energy level was fantastic."

The judges scored it 120-109, 119-109 and 118-110 for Hopkins, who had been planning to take on old foe Roy Jones Jr in his next fight.

I think Hopkins should retire because, he is 44 and he is going to end up getting hurt

Joe Calzaghe

However, that plan seems to be in tatters after Jones was stopped in the first round by IBO cruiserweight champion Danny Green in Sydney on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Jones said: "I guess now I go back into retirement". But when asked if a bout could still happen, Hopkins said: "Oh yeah, definitely."

Hopkins was beaten by Britain's former undisputed, undefeated two-weight world champion Joe Calzaghe in April 2008, and the Welshman believes the American should join him in retirement.

"I don't think it's a good idea for him to fight David Haye," he told BBC Radio 5 live's Victoria Derbyshire show.

"I think Hopkins should retire because he is 44 and he is going to end up getting hurt.

"If he fights a big guy like Haye, who is too fast and too strong, he will end up getting knocked out way too quickly and that would be a shame to see as he (Hopkins) is a legend of the sport. It is time to call it a day."

see also
Jones suffers first-round defeat
02 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Haye plots dual London showdowns
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye shocks Valuev to take title
07 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Calzaghe rejects Hopkins rematch
07 Mar 09 |  Boxing
US boxing faces up to change
05 Nov 08 |  Boxing

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