Calzaghe/Hopkins – Thoughts on the aftermath
By Jim Dorney, photo by HoganPhotos.com/GBP: Having watched the fight a few times now & read the varying reports, I’m struck by a number of things about this fight:
Article posted on 23.04.2008
Hopkins is most certainly NOT past it – He fought a strategically great fight, but was still ultimately beaten by a fighter able to adapt more in the ring on the fly – A rare thing indeed.
Calzaghe WAS made to look average – Hopkins had bragged that he would do this, and he was right. What he couldn’t do, however was win the fight. In losing he made Calzaghe put in what was apparently the least inspired performance of his career in terms of ring artistry, but perhaps most impressive in terms of ring smarts & strategy..
Hopkins certainly WAS the man to beat at 175lbs – Having watched both Dawson vs. Johnson & Woods vs. Tarver, I’d wager Hopkins would have beaten the lot of them
Either Calzaghe didn’t sit down on his punches or he doesn’t have as much power at 175lbs as he did at 168lbs – I suspect a bit of both might be true, as Hopkins was dipping his head so if Calzaghe did throw full force then he risked damaging his famously frail left. That said, at no point did any of the shots that Calzaghe landed appear to both Hopkins
The American fans surprised me with their humility – With it doubtless being a close fight, I was expecting more outrage from American fans unwilling to accept that an American fighter had lost a close decision – The reaction has been moreso that they’ve accepted that Calzaghe won on the whole
I’ll make no bones that I’m a big Calzaghe fan. I always have been. That said, I have to admit that in Hopkins he certainly had as much as he could handle. It was the first time I’ve feared that he would get beaten, especially after the first round, and even after coming on strong later on in the fight, I was still concerned that Calzaghe would have the decision go against him, given he was on foreign soil with all-American judges – Credit to the judges for recognising that even though Hopkins succeeded in taking away Calzaghe’s rhythm, he still got hit more by Calzaghe than by any other fighter in his entire career.
Calzaghe showed humilty in victory, acknowledging Hopkins’ great strategy & execution (pardon the pun on the alias) thereof, and it was a shame to see that Hopkins refused to show any in return. For me, he had the opportunity of winning many more new fans by showing more respect.
I noted with interest that Joe Cortez once again came in for some maligning. Some of you may recall an article I wrote after the Hatton-Mayweather fight where I criticised the way Cortez handled the bout. This time I actually felt Cortez was more balanced. I still feel he ultimately allowed Hopkins to fight his kind of fight, and should have warned Hopkins for his constant holding (particularly in light of how he gave Hatton a number of telling-offs for holding vs. Mayweather wheb the blane was not his), but I can’t fault him in not taking points from Calzaghe for occasional low blows (a warning was appropriate, and was given) and in not allowing Hopkins undue time to recover after his oscar-winning attempt at claiming he was struck low when he wasn’t even hit later on in the fight. In short, I feel most benefit Hopkins got from the referee was by his craftiness & not by Cortez’s design.
In terms of what Calzaghe does now, I await his decision with interest. Moreso after this fight, I feel he has confirmed he has nothing left to prove. It’s expected that he’ll fight Roy Jones then retire. If he does, he’ll almost certainly retire undefeated. Jones CANNOT beat Calzaghe at this stage of his career – I’d be doubtful that he ever could, but his best chance would have been around 10 years hence.
Tarver has also challenged Calzaghe, which I think would make a better fight, but I still see the Welshman coming out on top.
What WOULD maybe be interesting would be if Hopkins could get a rematch with Tarver now Tarver has the belts – I’d certainly fancy Hopkins in that one…
In conclusion – well done, Joe Calzaghe – Finally your critics have apparently been silenced this time – Hopefully for good!
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