Boxing


Kelly Pavlik-Bernard Hopkins - Will "The Ghost" Become The First Man To KO "The Executioner?"

asikainen20.07.08 - by James Slater: You've got to hand it to Bernard Hopkins. At age 43, the Philly tough guy is showing no signs of avoiding the hard opponents. Okay, you may not like B-Hop's style of boxing, but to take on the unbeaten, pound-for-pound duo of Joe Calzaghe and Kelly Pavlik in successive bouts sure takes some guts. The kind only old-school fighters possess.

Hopkins, 48-5-1(32), has been criticised by many for his spoiling tactics, but surely no-one would dare sniff, even slightly, at the choice of top level competition "The Executioner" has chosen to tangle with just lately. Not only did B-Hop decide to face the unbeaten Jermain Taylor twice in 2005 - losing a contentious split decision in fight one - and then light-heavyweight and pound-for-pound standouts Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright, respectively, after that (beating both), but the veteran then got it on with Joe Calzaghe this year. Despite how aggressively you thought Hopkins boxed against the Welshman, it has to be conceded that the former prison inmate accounted himself well against yet another all-time great..

Now, this October 18th in Atlantic City, Hopkins faces the also unbeaten and extremely dangerous Kelly Pavlik in a catch-weight fight taking place at 170-pounds. What other active fighter can match this quality of opposition in consecutive fights? Make no mistake, win or lose, B-Hop is always willing to take risks and fight the best. But the question is, is the veteran great biting off more than he can chew by agreeing to fight the undefeated, 26-year-old reigning middleweight king?

The talented Jim Amato has already written a fine piece about this scheduled fight, but I could not resist putting forth my opinion of this one also. As hard a puncher as Pavlik is genuinely is, I will be astonished if he succeeds where no other fighter has and stops Hopkins. Not only does the Philly great have a supremely solid set of whiskers, he also has the uncanny ability of shutting down his opponent's best weapons. Sure, this can lead to ugly fights at times, but the same fans who choose to get on Hopkins' case are the very same people who admire the antics of heavyweight boss Wladimir Klitschko. Who is the more boring fighter? I say "Dr. Steel Hammer" gets the distinction by far.

Yet the likeable big man from The Ukraine is just that, likeable. Hopkins, however, despite taking the kind of risks Klitschko would never throw a jab at, is an unpopular fighter. But never mind how many plaudits Hopkins deserves for taking on future great after future great - what are his chances against the murderous-punching Pavlik?

Once again in a fight involving Hopkins, it would be unwise to look for an all-action type of bout, but at the same time 'Nard figures to both test and frustrate "The Ghost" for all twelve rounds. The bout may not be a classic, but you can also rule out a one-sided affair. Indeed, though he will likely lose a decision, B-Hop will also ask Pavlik the kind of awkward questions not too many other fighters currently inhabiting the 160-175 pound ranks are capable of.

A tough fight for both men, Kelly Pavlik will gain praise from the keener observers of the sweet science aspect of the sport they choose to pay to view. Pavlik will win on points in a win that fails to earn him the full admiration it should.

Article posted on 21.07.2008



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