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The Old Man and the “C”

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My lady has been doing her best to learn the sport of boxing but usually falls asleep on the couch by about 10:30 and misses most of it. Saturday was no exception.

 

She woke up just as HBO’s Max Kellerman was beginning to interview Bernard Hopkins after he, at 46 years of age, became the oldest man to ever claim a legitimate title by defeating the 28-year-old Jean Pascal, claiming both the IBO and WBC light heavyweight championships.

 

As the camera focused in on Hopkins, she asked me, “Who’s that guy?”

 

I smiled at her and said, “I was just wondering the same thing.”

 

This was not the Bernard Hopkins who, by his own admission, has been booed in many of his fights because he is so tentative that those same fights become snore-fests. His first fight with Pascal certainly qualified.


However, if you were paying attention, despite being knocked down twice in their first fight, Hopkins was able to fight his way to a draw. Most people thought he had won but it was a terribly boring fight, with neither fighter landing more than ten punches in most rounds, as pointed out by our own Alec Kohut in an article published on this site last week.

 

And for the first two rounds of their rematch last Saturday, it looked like it was going to be a boring replay of their first encounter.

 

But then, in the third round, Hopkins began to push down on the accelerator, pressing Pascal in the process.

 

This seemed to rattle Pascal, who continued to lay low trying to land a big shot as Hopkins continued to press and dismantle the younger champion.

 

Unknown to Pascal at the time, Hopkins, the crafty veteran, had launched a two-pronged attack, one with his fists and the other with his mind.

 

He began taunting Pascal, sticking his tongue out at him as he dodged yet another series of Pascal’s blows. 

 

At one point as the round ended, Hopkins followed Pascal to his corner mocking him. Pascal turned around and charged at Hopkins, who went back to his own corner smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

 

“The Executioner” was in Pascal’s head. Mission accomplished.

 

Hopkins pressed Pascal for the remainder of the fight, enduring some punishment of his own along the way.

 

No, this was not the Bernard Hopkins we all knew and, according to Bernard, we’ll see plenty more of the same.

 

Hopkins told Kellerman that he understood that fans want to see exciting fights and that he plans on giving them exciting fights until he is 50 years old!

 

Now, if anyone can accomplish that, it’s going to be Bernard Hopkins.

 

Hopkins is always in shape. He doesn’t drink, smoke or eat things that are harmful.

 

Bernard is always in training and does not allow his body to get out of shape.

 

He stated to Kellerman that he has saved the best for last, like a racehorse that turns it on in the last quarter mile after the other horses are tired.

 

Next up for the legend will be Chad Dawson, who did not look all that good Saturday in his fight with Adrian Diaconu.  Although he took the decision, he did not do it impressively.

 

Even Manny Steward, the legendary trainer that Dawson turned to in an attempt to improve his skills seemed disappointed as he constantly chided Dawson to let his hands go.

 

One thing is for sure, if he’s going to fight this new Bernard Hopkins, Dawson had better let his hands go or he’ll suffer the same fate as Pascal did.

 

After Dawson, if Hopkins wins, Lucian Bute might be next to step up and Jean Pascal has already stated that he would like to dance with Hopkins again.

 

Bernard Hopkins cut his teeth in boxing at Graterford State Penitentiary under the tutelage of a lifer named Smokey Wilson, a man Hopkins acknowledged and thanked after his victory on Saturday night.

 

Hopkins was never the pretty, flashy fighter. He was never a “golden boy” coming out of the Olympics with a gold medal and a million-dollar contract.

 

He was a man wearing a black mask, who came into boxing as a rebel, never really taken seriously until he knocked out the seemingly invincible Felix “Tito” Trinidad and became the Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World. It was a title he would successfully defend 20 times.

 

Today, at 46, Hopkins has once again shocked the boxing community with his decisive victory over Jean Pascal.

 

In this writer’s opinion, Bernard Hopkins deserves and has earned the respect of everyone connected with the sport of boxing.

 

Allan Scotto can be reached at boxingriter@aol.com.



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