When light heavyweight stars Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones struck an agreement late last month to meet in a rematch in the first quarter of 2010, part of the deal was that Jones be allowed to go through with an already agreed upon bout and that Hopkins could take an interim bout if he wanted.
Hopkins has decided to do just that.
The former light heavyweight and middleweight champion will face Enrique Ornelas in a scheduled 12-round light heavyweight fight in Philadelphia on Dec. 2, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com Thursday.
Versus will carry live coverage of the fight, Schaefer said.
The bout will take place on the same day that Jones meets Danny Green in a cruiserweight bout in Australia. Jones and Hopkins both need to win their bouts to preserve their planned fight next year, a rematch of Jones' unanimous decision to win a vacant middleweight title 16 years ago and long before both became legends.
"Since it's on the same day that Roy Jones is fighting in Australia, it will be an interesting Wednesday," Schaefer said. "By the time Bernard enters the ring, we will know if Roy Jones pulled it off because of the time difference."
Schaefer said he and John Wirt, CEO of Square Ring, Jones' promotional company, have talked about trying to working something out so Versus can combine a same-day tape delay of Jones' fight with the live telecast of Hopkins-Ornelas.
For Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KOs), the match with Ornelas (29-5, 19 KOs) will mark homecoming.
He will fight Ornelas at the 10,200-seat Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University in his hometown of Philadelphia. Hopkins hasn't fought in Philadelphia since defending the undisputed middleweight championship against Morrade Hakkar at the Spectrum in 2003.
"It is going to be the total opposite of the last time he fought in Philly when he fought Hakkar, who ran like he was in a track meet," Schaefer said. "Ornelas does not run at all. He comes to fight and will be right there."
Schaefer said Golden Boy is planning a news conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia to formally announce the fight.
"This is a homecoming for Bernard, something he's wanted to do," Schaefer said. "Bernard has wanted to fight in Philadelphia again before he retires. This is clearly not about the money for him. If it would have been about the money he would have waited another month and fought on HBO. He wanted to fight again in Philadelphia and this was the perfect opportunity. He also hopes everything goes well and it sharpens him for the super fight with Roy Jones.
"For both guys, Bernard and Roy, there is much at stake. If you fight guys who have nothing to lose it makes them that much more dangerous."
Hopkins, who turns 45 in January, wanted the tune up before facing Jones because he hasn't fought since last October, when he easily outpointed middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik in a nontitle bout at 170 pounds.
Ornelas, the brother of super middleweight contender Librado Andrade, has fought as a middleweight and super middleweight, so he'll be moving up in weight to face Hopkins. Ornelas, 29, is 4-3 in his last seven bouts, but he's coming off a fourth-round knockout victory against Roberto Baro on July 30 and has faced some quality opponents, including former junior middleweight titlist Bronco McKart (twice), Sam Soliman and Marco Antonio Rubio.
Should Hopkins and Jones, who turns 41 in January, both win on Dec. 2, they'll meet on HBO PPV early next year under a deal that will see them split everything 50-50 -- unless there is a knockout. In the event of a knockout, the winner will receive 60 percent of the revenue.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.