Calzaghe gets nod; Hopkins get stiffed
By David Douse (April 22, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
Despite dropping Joe Calzaghe with a short right hand in the first round, consistently landing the harder cleaner punches throughout the fight, and in this writer’s opinion clearly dominating the style in which the battle would be fought, Bernard Hopkins came away from this much anticipated battle on the short end of a split decision.

How did this come to be? Obviously enough, two out of the three judges were sufficiently impressed by Calzaghe throwing leather at every opportunity but I have to wonder whether they were taken in by
the massive pre-fight hype pertaining to the Welshman's alleged ability to throw a thousand punches a round and thus became a confused over what actually constitutes proper scoring shots. It is certainly true that Calzaghe let his hands go rather more than B-Hop, but I would strongly question the quality of Calzaghe's efforts and seriously dispute that he should be credited with landing point scoring punches when the bulk of his efforts were so often nothing but ineffectual slaps.

Even the judge who scored in favour of Hopkins also had it wrong in my view and personally I felt that Hopkins came away with what should have been scored as a three round margin in his favour, especially when his first round knockdown of Calzaghe is taken into account. On no occasion did Calzaghe manage to land any strong punches which had any discernible effect on the older man, whereas Hopkins’ own thudding shots clearly gave the Pride of Wales something to think about on several occasions other than the knockdown.

I have seen criticism online of Hopkins for taking the permitted breather when he was struck low and, although the first low blow from Calzaghe was not of the worst kind (it was also clearly unintentional), it was clearly well south of the border. Hopkins was well within his rights to avail himself of the recovery period and criticising him for this makes no sense and is just plain wrong. I am convinced that those who would sneer at B-Hop for taking time to draw breath would have been absolutely screaming in outrage had it been Hopkins who had committed the foul.

Perhaps mention should also be made here of Calzaghe's crass follow-up whilst standing behind the bent over Hopkins with his jiggling hip thrusting movements clearly simulating a sex act in the most disrespectful and ugly manner and which was, to say the least, hardly what one would expect from a man who has touted himself as a ' Mr Clean’. I cannot feel that Calzaghe has in any way enhanced his reputation by this ugly display and it may be that he does not realise that it was actually himself he was demeaning by his actions.

So what now for Bernard Hopkins? I would think it highly unlikely that Calzaghe would want any part of a rematch and Hopkins probably has little to prove to himself, so I should not be at all surprised if he chose this moment to finally hang up the gloves. Regardless of his decision his legacy is assured and while he might prefer to exit on a winning note, being stiffed on a decision like this won't be the end of the world to him. He has been around far too long to not understand that wrong decisions do come to pass, and that hype in favour of one particular fighter can give a clear perceptual advantage to the recipient when it comes to decisions.

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