While Stevenson does have concussive power, if he can land the right shots, finding the bullseye against Hopkins and finding it against Fonfara might be two totally different tasks. Hopkins is the master of finding spots to lay back and conserve energy and knowing when to pounce and land fast, awkward shots. He will then get out or tie his opponent up before there is any dangerous return fire. Hopkins knows how to frustrate opponents and steal rounds. While it hasn’t always translated into the most exciting fighting style, nobody can deny its effectiveness as he continues to beat men half his age in his third decade in the ring. It isn’t hard to imagine Stevenson’s power being a concern for anyone he faces. However, one has to assume that with Hopkins’ near 26 years in the bank as a professional, there is little if anything anyone can bring to the table that he hasn’t seen and dealt with.
Fonfara deserves a lot of credit for his toughness and no-quit resolve he brought to work on Saturday night. Having said that, it would be hard to describe him as slick or cagey. Bernard is both of those things. Fonfara virtually put his hands up and marched forward, walking the champion Stevenson down all night. And his aggression and pressure gave Stevenson more than a few problems at times, so you know “The Alien” will be a serious headache for Adonis. Where Stevenson shines is when he’s against a fighter who is there to be hit and he can look to line up the hard left from his southpaw stance. Even against a tight defense, Stevenson can usually break through with his power but a fighter like Hopkins won’t be there to be hit and he will be elusive all night long.
As far as conditioning goes, something that appeared to catch up with Stevenson at times in the Fonfara fight, that will not be a factor for the always well-conditioned Hopkins. And if Stevenson starts to gas out against “B-Hop,” he could find himself doing so under a rain of punches from Hopkins, who knows how and when to attack. It appears Hopkins, 49, who years ago said he wouldn’t fight past the age of 40, is looking to fight at age 50. His intense training regimen and disciplined lifestyle have allowed him to compete at boxing’s elite level for literally decades.
The ability to turn a fight around with one punch will always make Stevenson a fight fan’s favorite. But nobody can break down an opponent and capitalize on vulnerable areas in the fight game like a guy with Hopkins’ years of experience in the bank. Don’t be surprised to see Philly’s light heavyweight legend travelling to “La belle province” to defy the odds one more time.
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