By Mark Vester
At the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1, 32KOs) turned back the clock to dominate 26-year-old Kelly Pavlik (34-1, 30KOs) over twelve exciting one-sided rounds. The scores were 119-106, 118-108 and 117-109. Hopkins outpunched him, outworked him and was the much quicker man.
The team of Pavlik underestimated the veteran by moving up by ten-pounds to meet Hopkins at the catch-weight of 170-pounds. Hopkins weighed 180 by the time he stepped in the ring. Pavlik's WBC/WBO middleweight titles were not on the line.
Hopkins started good, using movement and beating Pavlik to the punch. Hopkins would continue outlanding Pavlik in round two, actually staggering Pavlik with a hard left hook, and then swelling his right eye. In the third, Hopkins continued to outpunch, outland and outfight the much younger man. Hopkins began to go down to the body more often in the fourth, moving away from Pavlik's right hand to neutralize it and then landing a right when Pavlik walks in.
During the fifth, Hopkins continued to turn back the clock, landing quicker combinations and at one point he stood his ground and outfought Pavlik in toe to toe action with a B-Hop chant breaking out. Hopkins would assault Pavlik during the sixth with body shots and right hands. Hopkins put on a show in round seven, taunting Pavlik and landing his hooks at will as the crowd turned and began to go wild for the old veteran.
The fight got slower in the eight, but Hopkins continued to give Pavlik angles and landing his counters when needed. Pavlik lost a point during the eight for a rabbit punch. Hopkins opened up a cut above Pavlik's left eye in the ninth, but would later lose a point for holding. Pavlik began to do a little better in the tenth, and Hopkins would still outlanding with more accurate counters.
Hopkins held back in the eleventh, but put on another clinic in the twelfth by battering Pavlik all over the ring with his quicker hands, and more accurate punches. They would trade punches after the bell and the corners had to run in to break both fighters apart.
With the way Hopkins dominated Pavlik, how good does that make Joe Calzaghe for his win over Hopkins in April.
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