Hopkins Shocks Pavlik in A.C.!
By Ken Hissner at ringside for DoghouseBoxing (Oct 20, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com  
At his vintage best, 43 year old Bernard “B-Hop” Hopkins, 49-5-1 (32), of Philadelphia shocked a crowd of over 11,000 Saturday night by outclassing the WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, 34-1 (30), of Youngstown, Ohio in a non-title bout over 12 rounds at the Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Golden Boy and Top Rank production featured two other 12 round bouts including WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano, 36-1-1 (15), of Los Angeles successfully defending his title by decision
in a foul-filled fight over Australia’s Billy “The Kid” Dib, 21-1 (11). “Things happen. Luevano is a great warrior,” said Dib. In the best fight of the night in a WBC middleweight title eliminator, #1 contender Marco Antonio Rubio, 43-4-1 (37), of Torreon, Mexico had to come from behind in the last part of the fight to win a split decision over the #2 contender Enrique Ornelas, 28-5 (18), of LaHabra, California. Ornelas had a lead but both eyes were swollen in the late rounds and he probably lost the last 4 rounds and the fight.

It didn’t take Hopkins long to quiet the pro Pavlik crowd who were cheering for the favorite. They have a contrast in styles and personalities that are as different as night and day. Whether Pavlik could never get started or Hopkins would never let him get started is your guess. Many in the audience simply felt Hopkins “schooled” the younger 26 year old, who was stepping up in weight at 169, compared to Hopkins who dropped from his now current 175 to 170. Benjy Esteves, Jr was the referee. Though this writer had it a shutout, the judges’ scores were Barbara Perez 117-109, Alan Rubenstein 119-106 and Steve Weisfeld 118-108 all for Hopkins. The crowd who opened up with “Kelly, Kelly” were yelling “B-Hop” by the end of the fight. How quickly they turn.

Pavlik’s punching power had little if any effect on the usually defensive minded Hopkins who put on a offensive clinic at various times during the fight and seemed to want to close the show in the 12th and final round with a barrage of punches that left Pavlik bewildered.

“I would step to his left and his feet couldn’t make the adjustment,” said Hopkins. At the bell Hopkins kept punching as it looked like Pavlik was about to congratulate him. It reminded this writer of what Mike Tyson did to Lou Savarese years ago. Though Hopkins would have only good things to say about Pavlik at the press conference after the fight, his emotions got the best of him at the end of the fight. The soft spoken Pavlik didn’t attend to the disappointment of the writers due to going to a local hospital to get stitches around one of his eyes. His trainer Jack Loew filled in and said “we had no answers other than to say we can’t take anything away from Bernard. It was his night and Kelly was simply flat in this fight.”

Before Hopkins arrived at the press conference this writer addressed Top Rank president Bob Arum about Pavlik’s future opponent Rubio. “Rubio will be next being he won the eliminator tonight,” said Arum. Top Rank’s classy Lee Samuel’s directed questions to the media who were still in shock. Golden Boy’s CEO Richard Schaeffer was asked by this writer “would Hopkins consider fighting Jermain Taylor again if he defeats Jeff Lacy?” He responded with a resounding “No!” Once Hopkins came on the scene the Top Rank people left and a spokeswoman took over and would only receive questions from those in the media she knew. The concern on this writer’s part is that Hopkins, who came in demanding “more applause than that”, to “I expect those who said I would lose to bow down to me and quit slouching down in your seats.” At that moment I stood up waving to reply and was motioned to sit down by the spokeswoman. Hopkins looked right at me and also refused to acknowledge me. It is my concern he will be the next Larry Holmes thinking he is a “victim” the rest of his life. He is a champion in the ring but has a long way’s to go to ever being one outside of the ring. He could be a really good spokesman for boxing if he would only get beyond comments like “I never lost a fight.” He said he wants to “fight Roy Jones before I die.” Jones can do more damage to Hopkins by never fighting him again and I am sure Jones never will. Hopkins claims to be “one of the 3 best fighters.” I hope he is talking about today and not putting himself after “Sugar” Ray Robinson and Ali. Of course we no-names never got a chance to ask anything. What a difference between Top Rank and Golden Boy people. One comical statement by Hopkins was when one of his fans yelled out “when did you know you had Pavlik”, and he replied “when I signed the contract”.

Earlier New York’s Yuri Foreman, 26-0 (8), won a lackluster 10 round decision over Vinroy Barrett, 22-7 (11), in a light middleweight match. Brownsville, New York’s Danny “Golden Child” Jacobs, 11-0 (10), was most impressive in stopping Tyrone Watson, 7-2 (3), of Flint, Michigan with body shots in 2:29 of the 1st round. Jacobs can be remembered by Philly fans as the one who stopped unbeaten prospect Mike Jones in the amateurs. This now super middleweight has a bright future for Golden Boy.

Philly’s Danny Garcia, 8-0 (7), had an easy one in stopping Deon Nash, 5-6 (1) Lutcher, Louisiana, at 2:14 of the 3rd round. Garcia showed some flashy combinations that had Nash bewildered from the start. If he can add a good jab he will be a boxer to watch. He is also with Golden Boy.

Qa’id “Kid Dynamite” Muhammad, 3-0 (3), of Atlantic City, opened the show against a better than his record Samuel Gutierrez, 3-4, of Saltillo, Mexico who was dazzled for most of the fight by Muhammad. The winner had a row of young kids cheering him on.

Hopkins will try to get the winner of Calzaghe and Jones. Word is even if he has to go to Wales for Calzaghe. It is doubtful either will venture with little to gain and much to lose. Hopkins claims he would have no problem dropping 2 pounds and fighting as a super middleweight but again against whom? Pavlik’s promoter pushed for the name money fight but may now listen to Pavlik’s wishes and round up the two other middleweight champions in IBF’s Arthur Abraham, 29-0 (23), and WBA’s Felix Sturm, 30-2-1 (13). Abraham was impressive in his most recent bout in Florida stopping Edison Miranda while Sturm reversed a draw decision over Randy Griffin. Sturm got burnt here in his previous US bout in losing a controversial fight to Oscar De La Hoya so he may be hesitant to returning. The people in Europe in the know claim Abraham is the much better of the two and having opposing promoters, will probably never fight each other.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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