Miami Herald boxing article by Santos Perez on Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins looks like his old self in win against Pavlik
Posted on Mon, Oct. 20, 2008
BY SANTOS A. PEREZ
As New Jersey boxing officials counted the scorecards of Bernard Hopkins’ inevitable victory, Hopkins found the appropriate occasion to stand near those who predict outcomes of fights.
Hopkins stared without saying a word. His silent yet forceful glare at media members sitting at press row spoke volumes.
“Never underestimate Bernard Hopkins.”
Given minimal opportunity to win, Hopkins taught Kelly Pavlik a boxing lesson in their light-heavyweight fight late Saturday in Atlantic City. The 43-year-old Hopkins controlled the pace in a convincing unanimous decision.
”I wanted to stop him because [media] have been saying I’ve been playing it safe because of my age,” Hopkins said. “So [Saturday] I wanted to pick it up.”
Hopkins didn’t knock out Pavlik but inflicted enough damage on the previously unbeaten middleweight champion. Hopkins’ effective and quick combinations left Pavlik bruised, bloodied and bewildered.
All three judges verified Hopkins’ near-flawless performance, scoring the bout 119-106, 118-108 and 117-109.
”Styles make fights,” Hopkins said. “He is a great fighter but I knew my style and quickness was being underrated.”
And so was Hopkins’ future in the sport.
A loss against Joe Calzaghe on April 19 seemingly had Hopkins headed for extinction. Uncertainty about his career further escalated when Hopkins agreed to fight the 26-year-old Pavlik, who had stopped 30 of his first 34 opponents.
But Hopkins was intent on disproving the doubters. With co-trainers Nazim Richardson and John David Jackson, Hopkins prepared for the fight at Normandy Gym in Miami Beach, devising strategy and undergoing an arduous physical regimen for a bout many of the so-called experts expected him to lose.
Hopkins (49-5-1) was far from a finished fighter Saturday. From the opening round, Hopkins set the tone with quick shots to the head. Pavlik (34-1) pursued and sought to initiate action but Hopkins adeptly slipped his combinations or clinched in limiting Pavlik’s punch volume.
”I just couldn’t get off, I don’t know why,” Pavlik said. “It wasn’t because of Bernard’s slickness. There was something wrong with me [Saturday].”
Considered a rising star, Pavlik moved up 10 pounds to face Hopkins. After the fight, Pavlik confirmed a return to the 160-pound middleweight class, where he currently holds the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titles.
Instead of retirement, Hopkins feels energized and expects to prolong his Hall of Fame-bound career. Hopkins now has appealing fight options, including rematches with Calzaghe or Roy Jones Jr. Calzaghe and Jones will fight Nov. 8 in New York.
Before his 10-year run as middleweight champion, Hopkins lost a decision against Jones in 1993.
”I would fight Roy but I’d also go to England to fight Calzaghe,” Hopkins said. “I’d fight either one of those guys, but fighting Roy would be huge and that’s the one that people would want to see.”
ANDRADE BOUT SET
Demetrius Andrade will be the first member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team to fight professionally Thursday night in Spokane, Wash.
Andrade will make his debut against Patrick Cape in a scheduled four-round junior-middleweight fight.