Boxing


Hopkins Testing His Immortality

21.09.06 - By Jeffrey Cabauatan: Walking away from boxing could be the most difficult fight a boxer must face. It makes it even harder when you are just that damn good. Legends like Ali and Tyson are prime example. Both guys have a God like mythical image. Maybe, that was what made them to believe that they could overcome age and diminished skills to come back to the ring way beyond their prime. Then, there are others who showed the proper way to end a hall of famer career by staying on top.. The latest was Lennox Lewis who ended his dominant stay at Heavyweight with a TKO victory over Vitali Klitschko.

Bernard Hopkins had a perfect ending to his illustrious career when he won a landslide victory over linear light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver this past June. It was like the last second shot of Michael Jordan when he decided to retired back in 1999. Those final moments of Hopkins holding the Ring Belt and his demonstration of pure class as he reached over to Emmanuel Steward to wish his former conqueror Jermain Taylor should cement his final moment in the ring. But now, Bernard Hopkins is having an itch about returning to the ring.

He shocked us when he announced his fight with Antonio Tarver. How could this guy be thinking of moving up to light heavyweight when he had troubled with a bigger Taylor? I wondered to myself whether this guy was just doing it for a final pay day. Then, I remember that Hopkins is like a boxing historian who values the history of boxing.

Days ago, a news broke that Hopkins plans to come out of retirement to face WBC Heavyweight Champ Oleg Maskaev if he is still the champion in June 2006. Is Hopkins serious? Maybe, this is the same guy who came on a radio show (am 570 in Los Angeles) and said that he was bored. Is he really that bored to lay his legacy and health on the line? Oleg Maskaev can really hurt you. He does not possess speed and movement but he packs a punch. If he can knockout real heavyweights like Rahman, it is more than likely that he could do the same to a former middleweight.

On the other hand, Oleg Maskaev is the perfect opponent for Hopkins out of all of the Heavyweight champs. However, it does not mean that he would beat him. I believe that this would be a much harder fight than who his rival Roy Jones fought to conquer a heavyweight belt. Maskaev will actually throw punches whether he misses or get counters and walk you down the rope unlike huggy bear Ruiz. Hopkins would probably come in to the fight as a 4:1 underdog. But a lively 4:1 underdog that is.

One factor that you can never discount Hopkins on is his boxing ability. He does not have superhuman speed or superhuman power. However, he has mastered the basics of boxing like rolling over your opponent, dodging punches, and moving side to side. Even on his two losses with Jermain Taylor, you could see his unmark face which a testament to his great defense. With the help of fitness Guru Mackie Shilstone, he should come into the fight the faster and quicker man.

With all that said, I still think Hopkins should stay where he is right now which is retired. If this fight materializes, there is only one way he can walk out of the ring which is a fallen boxer who bit off more than he can chew. He cannot walk out as a legend because he is one already. He cannot walk out as a champion because he will always be a champion. He cannot come out as one of the all time great because he is already one of them.

For Question: Contact jeffcabauatan@yahoo.com

Article posted on 21.09.2006



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