Hopkins' 20th Defense is not a Soft Touch
By Darren Yates (February 16, 2005) 
Photo © Mr.Will/ HoganPhotos.com
Going back a couple of years ago I watched William Joppy fight an unknown Englishman by the name of Howard Eastman for the middleweight WBA title. I was surprised with the ease that Eastman controlled the fight with clean accurate punching only to let Joppy off the hook by not pressing the action enough and allowing Joppy to outwork him. Most off the punches Joppy threw were ineffective, either not landing cleanly or hitting gloves. The trouble for Eastman was that he only decided to pick up the pace in the 12th round and knocked down Joppy in the process, but William Joppy looked the busier fighter to the judges and pulled off a win in a bout that Eastman should have won only for a complacent attitude. I was a bit frustrated because I could see who the more talented and better fighter was on the night, but Eastman left a lot fuel in his tank for whatever his reasons and Joppy let go everything he had and ended up with the belt. I couldn’t complain with the decision as Eastman should have known better than take it easy against an American fighter in America. I’m sure he has seen plenty of hometown decisions back in Britain.

For those of you who haven’t seen Howard Eastman, he is a fine physical specimen of a man, similar in stature to Bernard Hopkins, 6 ft 1 or 2 with a long reach, good technique & power and what appears to be a good chin. I have a sneaking suspicion that Howard Eastman will be the toughest challenge Bernard Hopkins has faced in years and I cannot see a reason why some people are predicting an early knockout for Bernard. I foresee a tough night at the office for Hopkins, much tougher than De la Hoya or Trinidad. I am sure Bernard Hopkins is well aware of his opponent’s ability and I am sure he has prepared extremely well.

Bernard Hopkins has described Howard Eastman as a "B" class opponent when it comes to generating money and attention for Bernard Hopkins, but he is not "B" class in ability as he is a natural Middleweight, unlike Trinidad and De la Hoya and if Eastman brings all the skills and power he showed in his fight with William Joppy along with a bit more aggression we, as fight fans, should see the most entertaining and even Bernard Hopkins fight since his bouts with Antwun Echols. I expect that this bout will go the full 12 rounds with a bit more action and surprises than most people are expecting. I’m pretty sure Hopkins will win by decision but an Eastman victory is certainly not out of the question.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005