. More Boxing News-------------------------- Boxing Interviews-------------------------- UFC/MMA NEWS
Number 18, the Hard (Nard) Way
By Martin Wade (June 10, 2004) 
Photo ©
This past Saturday evening nestled between a terrific lightweight bout (Lazcano vs. Castillo) and the Golden Boy’s most recent object of human subjectivity, Bernard Hopkins inched his way further into boxing history. Robert Allen, for the third time appeared on the Executioner's docket with an explicit defiance (Bernard has “bitch” in him) and the promise of a foul fest. Allen in ways is symbolic of the road traveled by Philadelphia’s reigning middleweight. This dogged pursuit of Hopkins beckons a time long past in the sweet science. A time when trilogies were commonplace, a time we affectionately refer to as 'back in the day'. Bernard Hopkins is a self-proclaimed 'throwback' to a time when champions would often face tough nuts like Allen with little complaint. Back in the day there was only one crown, and Hopkins is one of the few vestiges of that age of simplicity. Hopkins is a hard man, chiseled by combat on the streets, in prison, and in the ring against similarly hard men like Robert Allen and Antwun Echols.

Watching the diligent craftsman enter the ring one could sense his impenetrable focus. Bernard as per usual was armed to the teeth, but this time there hovered the incentive - and anxiety - of a life altering purse against boxings preeminent cash cow. Much had been made of Bernard’s objection and then acceptance of referee Joe Cortez, but one look at the Executioner and you got the feeling that Joe six-pack could have refereed without as much as a blink from Bernard. The pre-fight mind games were now a thing of the past, Hopkins in his completeness was now tuned in and ready to get down to asserting physical dominance on his foe. As the clock winds down on a career destined for Canastota, Bernard has become even more intriguing to watch due to the certainty of time. Time is the ominous merchant, claiming the greatest of boxings warriors with abrupt impact. From this point on fight fans will tune in to speculate, to ask, will it be tonight? Not a chance, the corrosive style that is Hopkins is best captured in the calm refrain of Wiseman trainer Bouie Fisher when he says “like drops of rain”.

After Fight Video: 
Watch and hear what every fighter had to say after their Fights.  Hopkins, De La Hoya, Sturm and Allen all speak and tell you their thoughts.
Free At
Click Pic Below: Opens in Media Player
(Video ©
Round one started at a leisurely pace with a smattering of boos; both fighters locked several times forcing Joe Cortez to warn Allen for hitting on the breaks. Bernard elicited amusement from the crowd with a refusal to 'touch them up' with the ex-marine; 'this is a fight' was the message sent. In round two Allen landed a straight right hand in the middle of the ring that Bernard answered by turning the southpaw into three short hooks against the ropes at 1: 25 of the round. Although the action was sparse, the feature I noticed was Bernard’s mobility, impressive for a 39-year-old fighter. Later in the evening after witnessing Oscar’s lack of movement I can clearly picture the Golden One with an apple in his mouth. Between rounds viewers are witness to the first glimpse Allen’s response to the first “drops of rain”, the expression on his face is well read and infuriating to his emotional young trainer.

Round three featured Allen pursuing the great middleweight. After landing a right hook Hopkins, by muscle impulse, responded quickly with a hard overhand right. Allen learned what he should have known after two fights because the punch came just as he opened his mouth to trash talk the Philadelphian. Bernard then proceeded to mar the round with grappling tactics seasoned with crisp straight rights to the head and body for emphasis. Although the crowd showed its displeasure (and probably restlessness) for the action, Bernard Hopkins was on his usual stubborn course. The undisputed champ was never an aesthetically beautiful fighter, just damn efficient.

Round four pitted the southpaw right hook of Allen vs. the straight right hand of Hopkins. Although Allen landed a grazing hook at 2:18 of the round there was no hint that he would be able to crack the through the torture barrier presented in Hopkins dearth of championship experience. Roy Jones summed it up best when he said, “Bernard’s not going to do anything stupid”. Bouie Fischer, ever the old sage, welcomed his charge to the corner with that soothing refrain, “like drops of rain son, like drops of rain”.

In round five Robert Allen was deducted a point for low blows, something even Larry Merchant couldn’t remember him being warned for. Hopkins seemed a wise old fox at this instant because Cortez seemed intent on keeping it “fair but firm”, with a keen eye towards Allen. Allen’s urgency is rebuffed when Hopkins pops him with a left hook/right hand followed by a good body shot. Allen’s fate seemed to be sealed by round six as Hopkins opened up a little more with one-two’s and hooks to the body and head. The roughhousing continued on part by both men, the only difference is Bernard controlled the bout with effective punching and ring generalship. By the end of round six Roy Jones commented on Allen’s poor balance after his second slip to the canvas, which set up the sizzling overhand right delivered by Hopkins in round seven.

After catching Allen open for a counter right hand, Hopkins dipped his head and delivered a crunching overhand right. Allen went down like a sack of potatoes and as he rose from the knockdown, he knew he was in a world of trouble. Hopkins mugs him, unloading punch after punch but always digging the telling shots to the rugged ex-marine's body. Like drops of rain. Somehow, through the storm Allen survives the round and answers with a great round eight. Allen’s southpaw hook hurt Hopkins in round eight but Hopkins is too well schooled to put his September payday in jeopardy by going toe-to-toe.

The two warriors trade hooks in round nine but the dye is caste, the urgency required to take down a monster like Hopkins was siphoned in the early rounds. Round ten exhibits the old guys mobility once again (I said “round ten”) and Allen is too befuddled to cut off the ring. Bernard resumes his slow dissection of a hardened contender, shifting, changing speeds and jumping in with pole straight right hands. Rounds eleven and twelve were an afterthought with continued, measured brilliance by an all time great. By a score of 119-107 (twice) and 117-109, it was a unanimous decision for Hopkins, it was #18 the 'Hard Nard' way.

Post bout: Wachting Bernard nearly croak while watching De La Hoya struggle against Felix Sturm and then toe the company line in support of a September Mega bout was a consistent reminder of his hardened street ethic. Bernard has long been boxings poster child for oppositional defiant disorder and paranoia, but the old fox knows when to play the game. Bernard exhibited a cunning ability to say all the right things post De La Hoya/Sturm, even promising a different Oscar in September. Bernard is what the Mafioso would call 'furbizia' and he would never devalue a fight that will garner him his biggest payday. Bernard is from the streets, and when a street guy picks up a five-dollar bill that may have fallen from your pocket, his first instinct is to look around first to see if anyone is watching.

Until The Next Jones
The Boxing Junkie.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004