RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Bernard Hopkins: Defeating Father Time: Lucian Bute, Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal & More – Boxing News

By Gina L. Caliboso

This past Saturday, I went to the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA and watched four cover bands for Ratt, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Metallica. I got my rock on and happily thanked that my cooler head prevailed, and I was by no means interested in re-living my mosh pit days. The crowd was a mix of young and old, but one idea remained. The metal music was still head-banging and I appreciated it even more now. It’s truly never too late to take something from your past, even music, and you’ll find yourself enjoying the memories even more. So, on the drive back from Downtown Disney, I head banged to Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and called it a night.

It was daylight savings time so my sleep was off and I woke up to my TV, still on, and tuned to HBO. I groggily heard the judges’ decision announcing Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 53-6, 32 KO’s as the NEW IBF Light Heavyweight champion. I see Jean Pascal congratulating B-Hop. I woke up enough to smile, laughed a little, and thought: Bernard Hopkins, 48, is truly ageless. More importantly, as he showed Tavoris Cloud, 24-1, 19 KO’s he surely has “another thing coming” just like the Judas Priest song. Serendipitous linking perhaps? Maybe. Groggy from daylight savings time? Possibly. But Bernard Hopkins, this is one boxing writer that simply says, “Kudos! You truly have a lot to teach these boxers of today.”

According to boxrec.com, Hopkins currently ranks #1 among light heavyweights. And with the exception of Lucian Bute, 31-1, 24 KO’s, ranked #3, and Tony Bellew, 19-1, 12 KO’s, ranked #4, Hopkins is truly the number one fighter in the division as he has decidedly went up against his peers. But I don’t know if peers is even the correct word. More likely, he has gone up against the youngest and brightest stars of the division and has learned and schooled these young fighters in the art of boxing – feints, in fighting, pace setting, not allowing a young fighter such as Cloud to fight his game, while surely establishing his 48 year old skills upon him.

As a reminder, Hopkins fought twice against Jean Pascal, 27-2, 16 KO’s with one draw and one win. Hopkins also went up against “Bad” Chad Dawson, 31-2, 17 KO’s twice, with one fight ending in a MMA takedown (or no contest, technically) and the other, a majority decision.

Watching a Hopkins bout usually takes me about two times to watch from start to finish. I always have to remind myself just how ageless and timeless Hopkins really is because his bouts are like chess matches. And paced rather similarly. Hopkins is clever, calculating, and he is always the underdog. But as the fight unravels, Hopkins just imposes his cleverness in a very calculating and precise way.

To recap, and upon my second viewing, the pace of the fight shifted in the 6th and 7th rounds. In the 6th round, Cloud received a cut above his left eye, ruled as an accidental head butt by the referee, but upon a second viewing by the HBO team of Lampley, Ward, and Kellerman, the cut was caused by a punch. Cloud thought the cut was caused by an elbow.

In the 7th round, Cloud felt a sense of urgency and tried to force the pace of the fight, but Hopkins didn’t let him. As the fight continued, you felt the rush for Cloud to conquer Hopkins, but the veteran stood his ground and didn’t do anything to adjust the fight to match with Cloud. Hopkins didn’t allow Cloud to set nor did he fight him in the middle of the ring. Cloud connected on a few body punches throughout the fight, but according to ringside commentator Ward, the strategy to the body should have started from round one.

The fight continued with Cloud putting in a few solid connects, but he could have only won with a knockout. In a brief encounter ringside, Hopkins acknowledged that he has no desire to fight Ward.

As for Hopkins, what’s next for the hardly aging fighter? Who will be his next opponent? Since he hasn’t fought against Bute, I think that might make for a good fight for Hopkins. Bute is definitely one of the smarter fighters out there as he has moved up from the super middleweight division. And, just because it’s worth mentioning, a matchup between Bute and Ward could also be a possibility. I had always thought that Bute should not have been left out of the Super 6 Middleweight tourney.

At 48 years old, Hopkins really showed fundamentals on the definition of the “sweet science.” It was wonderful to hear the unanimous decision in Hopkins’ favor. More importantly, Hopkins reminds me of my night of listening to classic metal – original, timeless, truly unique, and will, I’m sure, be appreciated by every boxing fan – young and old.

Leave a Reply