Bernard Hopkins - The Coming Of Age
By Eric Marks, (Aug 15, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Bernard Hopkins vs Kelly Pavlik is set for October 18th 2008 in a fight set to take place at the catch-weight 170 pounds. Mixed feelings are surrounding this fight and neither fighter (particular Pavlik) seems to be too excited about it. Pavlik has made it clear that Hopkins was not his first choice while Hopkins, whose only desire before retiring seems to be a long-awaited rematch with Roy Jones Jr., has been uncharacteristically polite and humble when speaking to and about Pavlik. The fight itself will hinge on Pavlik mastering Hopkins tricks and Hopkins trying not to get knocked out by Pavlik’s power.

Postulating the outcome of this fight leads this writer to believe that it will only end in disaster for Bernard Hopkins, as he may suffer his first knock-out loss. One only needs to consider the differences in age, power, and stamina (though Hopkins is very fit) to recognize that it will be an uphill battle for Hopkins. Some may not be ready to concede that Hopkins showed signs of aging against Calzaghe (a bold statement) and Pavlik is a different sort of beast, but he should be able to figure out Bernard’s craftiness after a short period of time and then it’s a matter of survival for Hopkins, given his ring slickness and experience are his only real advantages.

The bright spot for Bernard is that he should be able to hit Pavlik, and Kelly does not throw the many flurries of a Calzaghe. That being said, Hopkins will be receiving harder punches than he is accustomed to. Pavlik looks like more of a complete fighter each time he fights. We know the power is there, but one could argue his most impressive win was his second fight with Jermain Taylor because of the discipline, patience, and consistency he displayed despite not stopping Taylor.

Intuitively, fans know it’s a matter of time for Bernard until he shows his age. He seems to have taken this fight primarily to stay active with the hope of a 2009 finale with Jones Jr. This is a dangerous gamble against a big young gun with awesome power. One has to credit Hopkins though for taking this fight rather than a rematch with Felix Trindad or some other mismatch. His willingness to fight the best is admirably and after this fight let’s hope he gets his rematch with Jones, which may be a possibility depending on the outcome of Roy Jones’ fall fight with Joe Calzaghe.

Hopefully, Hopkins fights this fight to win and not survive or avoid looking bad, a criticism from some in his fight with Calzaghe. Neither fighter will probably change their strategy much…so fans will know what to expect. Bernard will do whatever it takes to avoid Pavlik’s power, but will it be enough over twelve rounds? Can he defy the odds once again or will time finally catch up with him? Stay tuned.

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