Boxing


Will ‘Bad Intentions’ be enough to finish Hopkins?

25.03.05 - By Ronny Soto: After months of speculation of whether or not Hopkins vs. Taylor was ever going to happen we finally have a confirmation from both camps that they have come to terms. After Hopkins having earlier imposed a 24 hr deadline for Taylor to accept the original terms, which were: $1.5M and options on Taylor's next 3 fights; It is reported that HBO added some money to the pot increasing Taylor’s purse to $1.8M and Hopkins to $3M, and that's without options on Taylor's future fights. The possible date for the match-up is July 16 in either in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

This leads us to one question: Can Taylor do what no one has been able to do for the past 12 years and that's beat Hopkins. Coming into the ring he is a bronze medalist having an undefeated record and the title of "heir apparent"; that is when Hopkins retires at the end of this year most expect him to be the dominant force in the middleweight division.

Hopkins has not lost a fight since he met Roy Jones Jr. in 1993. He holds titles in 3 of boxing's most recognized boxing organizations: Four, if you count the IBF belt he's relinquishing in order to fight Taylor instead of his mandatory Sam Soliman..

When there's talk of Hopkins there is always heated debate about his opposition in the past 12 years. Many say that he being undefeated for so long is mostly due to his careful selection of opponents rather than his dominance in the ring.

The fact that he never fought Toney, Nunn or even rematched RJJ or other opponents that could have really posed a threat to him add fuel to the fire.

Hopkins' big name fights against Tito Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya are questionable by some due to the fact that these two fighters, as great as they are, started their careers at much lower weight classes and had less than five fights at middleweight combined.

Hopkins is also criticized for dominating what has been considered a weak division in recent history, and he never moved up in weight class in search of greater opposition; that he's willing to accept the challenges of smaller guys, but he won’t challenge the bigger guys himself, although his professional debut was as a light-heavyweight.

Taylor on the other hand is still just a prospect. Therefore, many feel he is to green for Hopkins. Some of the fans believed that he is to flawed, inexperienced and incomplete a fighter to hand Hopkins his first loss in 12 years.

So, if Hopkins beats Taylor everyone is going to say that this was the only possible outcome. However, if Taylor beats Hopkins it's going to be because Hopkins got old over night.

Taylor has to take the fight to Hopkins and dictate the pace. Hopkins is a smart fighter and knows how to control the pace well. Hopkins likes to pace himself in the early rounds and come on strong in the later rounds after he has had a chance to gauge his opponent.

If Taylor can force the pace in the early rounds and go to that 40 year old body of Hopkins then he has a better chance to have his hand raised at the end of the night. If he chooses to be the aggressor hopefully he'll be able to cut the ring off better than Eastman. Eastman followed Hopkins all night; unable to properly cut off the ring, got peppered with counters throughout much of the fight.

Although watching some of Hopkins fight is much like watching paint dry, hopefully the young tiger will force Hopkins into a fight.

Right now the smart money is on Hopkins, but Taylor does pose a threat to the middleweight king. Win, lose or draw Jermain's stock will rise if he puts on a great performance against the man most boxing pundits believe to be the #1 p4p boxer today.

Article posted on 25.03.2005



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