Bernard Hopkins: Heavyweight Ambitions By Jamie Hooper (Dec 7, 2009) DoghouseBoxing
Hopkins obviously has something driving him to box well into his forties. His achievements in the middleweight division in the 90's have not been enough for him. He has developed a "how to box at world class level in your mid forties" style, and it's definitely a very effective one. Younger boxers are finding their youthful energy and enthusiasm are easily deflected by Hopkins' wily ring craft. Just ask Kelly Pavlik.
I have heard him say during the Calzhage build up, “ if I am an old man then why can't any of these younger boxers
retire me?” He lost to Calzhage, but by a very small margin. Knowing he could still handle a boxer of Calzhage's work rate, probably gave him a further boost.
Recently Hopkins has announced that he wants to retire as heavy weight champion, by beating the newly crowned David Haye. At least now Hopkins has revealed a real goal, making it easier to understand why he still wants to box into his 46th year.
The immediate thoughts are that Haye has too much speed and power. Its one thing containing Kelly Pavlk at middle weight, but Haye at heavy weight is a different kettle. Maybe when Hopkins watched David Haye box he saw enough flaws to exploit, that the idea of challenging him for the heavyweight title wasn't as mad as people initially thought. And lets face it David Haye has his fair share of defensive flaws. He relies on his power too much, and looks defensively disorganized after he throws power shots. Leaving him vulnerable to a skilful counter puncher.
If you look at the key points for Haye: speed, power, weight and after the Valuev fight, the Haye camp proved they could devise a winning strategy, and Haye could stick with the plan. The questions a fight like this will ask of Haye are: can he stop the frustration building if he finds it hard to land a shot, and will he organize his defense better?
For Hopkins on the other hand this fight will ask more of him. Can he absorb Hayes hitting power? Will his own punches have the same effect? Can he cope with Hayes speed? Can he think of a realistic strategy to neutralize Haye as he has done at the lower weight classes?
The only reason Haye would take this fight would be for a substantial pay day. I can see no other reason for him to take this one. From his position it is a loose loose situation. If he wins, he'd be expected to win. If he loses it would be a very embarrassing defeat, one that he would never live down. John Ruiz said he retired out of embarrassment when Roy Jones beat him.
For Hopkins this fight would hopefully be the conclusion to his prolonged career, regardless of the result. And what a way to go out if he beats Haye. And if he loses? No great shakes either. This is the right move for him, and I hope he gets the fight. One big counter punch on Hayes suspect chin and Hopkins gets the mother of all retirement presents.
Hopkins obviously thinks his legacy needs one more big achievement. Doubt he will get it. But it will be fun watching him try.