I Told You! Calzaghe Simply Too Busy For Hopkins
- Posted on Tue, April 22nd, 2008 by Ja Dawson
- Boxing Tickets
On April 15, I told you to expect Joe Calzaghe to outwork Bernard Hopkins. The only thing that stopped my prediction from being 100% correct was the judge who scored the bout 114-113 in favor of Hopkins, making it a split decision win for Calzaghe, instead of the unanimous decision that I predicted. However, by no means was it an easy win for the "Pride of Wales." Has anything ever been easy when Hopkins is involved? From fight purse negotiations to exchanges inside and outside of the ring, Hopkins is always difficult to deal with.
The difficult Hopkins let Calzaghe know immediately, courtesy of a well-timed counter right hand that led to the fight’s only knockdown, that his first visit to the United States was not going to be a walk in the park. In fact, it appeared that Hopkins was going to walk through him. I was thinking, "here we go again," as Hopkins appeared to be forcing Calzaghe to follow him around the ring, throw fewer punches than usual, and leave himself exposed for right hands, like so many of his victims in the past.
Was it jitters from fighting in the U.S. for the first time or was it simply that Hopkins was more savvy in the ring than Yoda in a light-saber battle? Whatever it was, Calzaghe ultimately overcame it. Midway through the fight he slowly gained control. He simply wouldn’t let the fading Hopkins rest. He overwhelmed the older man by simply throwing more punches.
Although they often lacked power, Calzaghe’s quick combinations served two purposes. One, they showed the ringside judges that he was the fresher fighter. Two, they kept Hopkins in a defensive shell. In a final act of desperation, Hopkins appeared to milk an unintentional low blow that Calzaghe landed in the tenth round in an attempt to entice the ref to deduct a point from Calzaghe. Veteran referee Joe Cortez would have none of it. Two rounds later Cortez would be raising Calzaghe’s hand in victory.
Now that he is the Ring light heavyweight champion of the world, do not expect Joe Calzaghe to move back down to super middleweight to defend his 168-pound title. Expect him to seek greener pasture$ against another past-prime superstar, Roy Jones, Jr. Is this the best possible match at 175 pounds? It is absolutely not. But it will likely take place this fall, and I will watch. What’s next for Bernard "the Executioner" Hopkins? The future Hall of Famer can retire and focus on his Golden Boy East promotional responsibilities, or he can chase a few more paydays against the likes of Glen Johnson, Chad Dawson or Antonio Tarver. One thing he surely won’t be doing, is boasting that he will never lose to a white boy.