Bernard Hopkins vs Tomasz Adamek... but why?
By Les Dowgier, DoghouseBoxing.com (Mar 24, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor
When I first heard that Bernard Hopkins was interested in fighting current cruiserweight kingpin Tomasz “Goral” Adamek, I had two reactions. My first reaction, like that of most boxing fans, was to be very excited about what will most likely be a very interesting fight. My second reaction, was to ask why?

Some of the “whys” are easy to answer. Hopkins loves the sport, is extremely competitive and is coming off an age defying victory over prime middleweight king, Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik. It’s only natural that
Hopkins would want to fight again before hanging up the gloves, and with Joe Calzaghe refusing to offer “The Executioner” a rematch, he had to look elsewhere. But the question still remains why fight Adamek?

If Hopkins wants to prove just how good he still is and how much he has left in the tank, why not fight IBF Light Heavyweight Champ “Bad” Chad Dawson? After all, Bernard is considered the current number one at Light Heavyweight and Dawson is the rising star of the division. What better way to prove your dominance than by beating the man Floyd Mayweather Jr. has dubbed the new number one “pound for pound” best in the sport?

The best arguments for why Hopkins won’t fight Dawson are that Dawson is still somewhat unknown to more casual fans and Hopkins wants a chance at winning belts in three different weight classes. However, this still doesn’t answer the question of why Adamek. After all, Hopkins could simply drop down 2 pounds from the weight at which he fought his last fight (his fight against Kelly Pavlik at 170 lbs) and try to add the super middleweight title to his already spectacular hall of fame resume. Sure, the current super middleweight belt holders are a talented and tough group (reserving my opinion on Karoly Balzsay, the WBO Champion, whom I don’t know much about) but at least he’d be sure to enter the fight being naturally the same size (if not larger) than his opponent.

So then what is the reason Hopkins has chosen to challenge this tough and gritty fighter, who comes into his fights at over 200 pounds, has a granite chin and some pretty heavy hands? Could it be that he sees flaws and weaknesses in Adamek which makes Hopkins view the Pole as an easier target than Mikkel Kessler or Lucian Bute would be at Super Middleweight? After all, Adamek isn’t the fastest fighter around, likes to press his opponents and isn’t known for his defensive abilities. Perhaps Bernard does see some weakness, but I think the reason for his decision to fight Adamek lies elsewhere.

First, even though claiming a Super Middleweight Title would make Hopkins a three division champion, moving down a weight class doesn’t appear as impressive as moving up a weight class in order to win another title. Though this is a purely public relations type of concern, I believe these types of concerns have become important to Hopkins recently and this concern leads very well into my second rationale for Bernard’s decision.

Bernard is no longer just a fighter, but with his stake in Golden Boy Promotions, he is also a promoter. Surely, Bernard couldn’t help but notice the large passionate crowd at the Prudential Center during Adamek’s last fight, and I can tell you as a first hand witness, that the crowd wasn’t there to support the challenger Jonathan Banks. The large Polish crowd was there to support the man from Zywiec, Poland and did so very loudly and energetically. Bernard knows that a fight between himself and Adamek anywhere in the Tri-State area will generate a virtually guaranteed sellout crowd, a fact which no doubt is resulting in Main Events and Golden Boy trying to stage the fight at either Prudential Center or Madison Square Garden. Golden Boy will not only have a full house to watch Bernard square off against Tomasz, but also at least a substantially filled arena to watch Golden Boy’s prospects on the undercard.

In the end, Hopkins would prove quite a challenge (and would most likely be favored) against any fighter between 160 and 200 lbs., and will quite possibly outpoint Adamek to gain his third division championship. However, I believe that what truly tipped Hopkins in favor of fighting Adamek, is his new promoter mentality.

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