Hopkins targets heavyweight champion Haye

PHILADELPHIA: American Bernard Hopkins returned to the ring after a near 14-month absence to score a unanimous points decision victory over Mexican Enrique Ornelas   in a non-title light-heavyweight bout on Wednesday.    Hopkins, 44, the former middleweight and light-heavyweight champion, used his experience to land sharp counters, and when Ornelas stood back, scored with lead right hands.

After a wobble in round four where Ornelas landed a succession of right hands, Hopkins took over in the fifth, pinning Ornelas into a corner and digging to the body with the Mexican visibly tiring by the tenth.

“I’d like to give Ornelas a lot of credit, he didn’t come to lay down,” said Hopkins, who improved to 50-5-1 (32 KO’s).

“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 the bout 120-109, 119-109, and 118-110 for Hopkins, who has said he plans to step up to heavyweight and fight WBA champion David Haye of Britain.

“I’m going to be the heavyweight champion of the world in 2010,” Hopkins said Hopkins had previously said he intended to fight a rematch in March with           long-time rival Roy Jones Jr, who defeated him in a middleweight title bout in 1993, followed by a challenge to Briton Haye later in the year.

That first part of that plan seemed to be in tatters after Jones was stopped in the first round by IBO cruiserweight champion Danny Green in Sydney on Wednesday but Hopkins offered hope the contest could yet go ahead. “Oh yeah, definitely,” he said when asked if the Jones fight could still happen. — Reuters

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