The pair meet in the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace on Thursday with Hawkins in very good form after a fine win over Neil Robertson in the opening round, while the Rocket looked impressive in beating Ding Junhui.
The packed crowd in north London will be hoping for a close match, but history suggests that only one man is likely to win this one.
In all competitions the two men have played 20 times, with O’Sullivan winning 17 and Hawkins just three of those matches.
Official records often do not count short-format events like the Championship League, which leaves the Rocket’s record at 16-2 over the Hawk.
Either way it has been complete dominance for O’Sullivan, although Hawkins will be buoyed by the fact he has got the better of the Rocket on the biggest stage of all.
The two men met in the last 16 of the 2016 World Championship and Hawkins edged it 13-12, so there is no doubt the underdog can triumph under pressure.
Hawkins’ other big win over O’Sullivan came in their very first meeting, scoring a 5-3 win in the 2002 Scottish Open.
The world number one has spoken about playing Hawkins before, having great respect for his ability as a ‘fantastic player’ but saying he lacks the belief and terrier-like qualities to scrap to victories.
Talking to Orla Chennaoui and Greg Rutherford on Eurosport podcast series, The Breakdown in 2022, O’Sullivan said: ‘There are certain players that you just think are not up for the fight.
‘They are great players or very good players, but you just know that they don’t believe that they can beat you, and you kind of have an easier time against those guys.
‘It is not their fault, it is just their personalities. They are just nice guys. It is like Barry Hawkins, he is such a nice guy and a fantastic player, but because he is so nice he doesn’t bring the fight enough.
‘There are other players who are nowhere near as good as Barry Hawkins, but they are like Jack Russell-type people.
‘You just think, “This geezer is never going to give in” so you have to just batter them and batter them and put them away.
‘But you think, “Mate, if this was a boxing match they would have stopped it ages ago”. But this geezer is still believing and you think ,”Wow, man!”’
Hawkins will have the chance to prove the Rocket wrong at 1pm on Thursday in the quarter-finals.
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