Boxing


Hopkins Way Too Much For Pavlik - Is B-Hop The Most Intelligent Fighter Of His Generation?

Bernard Hopkinsby James Slater - Well, Bernard Hopkins did it again last night; upset the odds and made a young and unbeaten fighter look like a virtual amateur. Quite simply, what the amazing 43-year-old did to the monstrous-punching Kelly Pavlik over 12-rounds in Atlantic City, no-one saw coming. Sure, some experts did suggest that Hopkins might frustrate Pavlik, that he might hit and hold and fiddle his way to an ugly split decision win. You know, the only way Hopkins can fight, right? Wrong!

Far from being an ugly victory, Hopkins' upset win came in an exciting fashion and in a crowd-pleasing style. Actually taking the fight to the much younger man, "The Executioner" out-fought, out-punched and out-worked "The Ghost." Be honest, who among you saw THAT coming? Many people, the knowledgeable Freddie Roach among them, had openly voiced concern for Hopkins going into this fight. Genuinely worried for his safety against a man who had stopped 30 of his 34 victims, these experts instead saw Hopkins turn the clock back more effectively than he has in years, or since his clinical dismantling of another huge banger in Felix Trinidad.

Bernard said after last night's great win that his upsetting of Pavlik ranks even higher than the win over "Tito" and higher than the wins over Antonio Tarver, Oscar De La Hoya and the 21 defences of his middleweight crown. B-Hop also said he honestly feels he could fight on for a number of years if he so chose. You know what, I don't doubt him for a second. As he said himself while being interview by Ron Borges - 24-rounds with the unbeaten duo that is Joe Calzaghe and Kelly Pavlik and he doesn't even emerge from either bout with as much as a busted lip. One of the best preserved and most defensively gifted fighters in history, why shouldn't Hopkins carry on? As he added in the interview, it's boring staying at home.

Some felt the Philly legend showed his age in the Calzaghe fight, and it did look as though Hopkins was out of gas in the late rounds back in April. But last night, against a man 17 years his junior, Hopkins finished the fresher man and was still bouncing up on his toes in the last round. Go figure! Maybe Calzaghe's sheer work rate proved the difference (for what it's worth I still think Hopkins shaded the Calzaghe fight), Pavlik, for sure, couldn't get off the way the 36-year-old did against Hopkins.

Last night, without going overboard, Hopkins put on a master class of a genuinely great fight. Being more aggressive than normal, in an effort, he later said, to show he CAN fight like a Philadelphia fighter, 'Nard looked at times as though he might actually pull off an even bigger sensation and stop Pavlik. The last round particularly, saw a busted up and very tired Pavlik wobbling badly. Showing grit the kind of which we have all grown accustomed from him, Kelly instead hung tough and heard the final bell. What he heard upon doing so, however, was conformation that his opponent had bested him by three landslide margins.

In emerging victorious by commanding scores of 119-106, 118-108 and 117-109 and improving his Hall of Fame career record to 49-5-1(32), 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins once again proved he is one of the greatest fighters of all-time!

The brave Pavlik, who fell to 34-1(30), was advised by his complementary conqueror that his future is still as promising as ever down at middleweight. Kelly agreed, and as soon as he resumes kicking ass at 160-pounds, as he surely will, the better.

For now, though, it's time to give a modern day master his props. Hopkins showed once again that he is never, ever a fighter to write off.

Article posted on 19.10.2008



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