Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Bernard Hopkins - The Magic of The Executioner

By Cliff Rold

Eventually, Harry Houdini succumbed.  The cause of his end was a ruptured appendix.  Houdini’s act reportedly sometimes included tightening his abs and show people what shots he could take.  It was one more escape he could dazzle the masses with.

Legend has it the famed escape artist was felled by an onlooker who tested his abdomen with shots Houdini didn’t really see coming.  By the time he reacted, it was too late. 

There is an analogy to fighters as they age.  Most need not fear anything as dire as Houdini’s fate.  Reflexes dull, desire wanes, and yesterday’s blow so easy to absorb is an end come without warning.  The fighters who can hold off time longer build an aura around them, a touch of magic.

Houdini kept his until the age of 52. 

World Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) enters the ring for his rematch with Chad Dawson (31-1, 18 KO) this weekend at only the tender age of 47.
 
Hopkins has always come to the ring as the “Executioner.”  In recent years, he has dug into a deep bag of fistic tricks and come up with his own sort of magic.  Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal could only shake their heads at the end.

Dawson hasn’t experienced the magic yet.  Given his youth, seasoning, and overall skill set, he might not have to.  The two rounds they went through in October 2011 certainly weren’t anything to leave fans with a feeling of awe or whimsy.

Given time to think about the ugly finish of Hopkins-Dawson I though, one can wonder if Dawson has already fallen under some of the spell.

While his combination punching, push-up displays, and ability to get off the floor were all worth getting excited about in the fights with Pavlik and Pascal, Hopkins also draws on what one might call the dark arts of his trade.  Against Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones the second time around, he seemed to over dramatize fouls real and imagined while never shying from the rough stuff himself.

Hopkins is a master of timing and defense.  He’s also a master of holding and hitting, leaning, and digging elbows.  Dawson was prepared for the latter in the first fight and it cost him. 

With Hopkins laying over him and pressing his forearm down on the neck, Dawson gave him a hard shove with a little leg action (feel free to debate intentional versus inadvertent).  Hopkins injured his shoulder.  There has been debate about degree. 

In the end, Hopkins wound up still the king at 175 lbs. 

If he came in a little wound up, a little too ready to react, Dawson certainly wasn’t the first.  Antwun Echols dumped Hopkins hard in their rematch after being befuddled for much of their first contest.  Keith Holmes was looking for fouls early and often.  Knowing who Hopkins is at his best, combined with knowledge of what he’s willing to do to win, seems to have a taxing effect on the mind. 

While there seems to be a trend towards picking Dawson to win this weekend, the mental aspects of the fight remain an x-factor.  Dawson has shown mental lapses over the years.  In his fight with Jean Pascal, moments of brilliance were overruled by tentativeness.  Against Antonio Tarver, the second time, there were times when he lost focus. 

He’s an almost complete package heading into a fight where every bit of pressure is on him.  Hopkins can lose and it doesn’t matter.  He’s going to the Hall of Fame and is already part of the tapestry of boxing history. 

Where does he rank with the great Middleweights?

Where does he rank with the greatest fighters over 40?

Where does he rank with the great ones, period?

Hopkins is part of all those discussions already.  All he can do is add new footnotes because the bulk of his tale is told.  There must be comfort in knowing the only real challenge is to the self, in the quiet moments alone when Hopkins has to wonder “can I do it one more time?”

The great magicians are like that.  Houdini went from handcuffs, to the Chinese Water Torture cell, to vanishing an elephant, to being buried alive.  The game of can-I-top-it went for as long as he could sustain it.

Chad Dawson has to show he’s got the head to go with the body as an antidote to whatever Hopkins has cooked up for him this weekend.  That Hopkins is in the fight at all is magic all its own.

We can anticipate it while it lasts. 

Sooner than later.

Poof.

It will be gone.

The Weekly Ledger

But wait, there’s more…

Stevenson Shells:  http://www.boxingscene.com/suddenly-stevenson-statement-making-blitz-quebec--52014
Chemito Shines: 
http://www.boxingscene.com/get-chemito-weekend-review-ratings-update--52115
Updated Division Ratings:
http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
Picks of the Week: http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-television-picks-week--52116

Cliff’s Notes… Four solid fights on one Showtime card?  At subscription fees?  That’s stretching the dollar in the right direction…Daniel Bryan: YES!  Just because…If Jhonny Gonzalez can make it twelve straight KO’s this weekend, wouldn’t a showdown with fellow Mexican Orlando Salido be worth calling for?...Counting down to Kazuto Ioka-Akira Yaegashi in June.  This Strawweight fight is worth getting excited about early…Patrick Connor did some incredible work on the great Kid Chocolate this week over at Queensberry Rules.  Check it out at: http://www.queensberry-rules.com/2012-articles/april/victoria-aut-mors-kid-chocolate.html…Is it a safe bet Guillermo Rigondeaux and Anselmo Moreno will be competing for the valuable promotional tool of ‘most avoided’ in the next year or so?...Washington Nationals pitching is worth waking up for.
 
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Tags: Bernard Hopkins image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Muscles72 on 04-26-2012

[QUOTE=SAJ10;12046642]People are taking way too much from the first fight. i thought the first two rounds were fairly even with little to split them. Hopkins always feels you out early - uses footwork, frustrates, even if you win the round…

Comment by Dave Rado on 04-26-2012

[QUOTE=charlieg;12044997]Debate deliberate vs inadvertent? There is no debate. It was as deliberate as they come. [IMG]http://gifsoup.com/imager.php?id=3646937&t=o[/IMG] Of course, it was in response to Hopkins being a bit naughty himself, but it was an inappropriate response. Somebody pointed out he tried…

Comment by Bhopreign on 04-26-2012

[QUOTE=SAJ10;12046642]People are taking way too much from the first fight. i thought the first two rounds were fairly even with little to split them. Hopkins always feels you out early - uses footwork, frustrates, even if you win the round…

Comment by Boxingwizard on 04-26-2012

[QUOTE=charlieg;12044997]Debate deliberate vs inadvertent? There is no debate. It was as deliberate as they come. [IMG]http://gifsoup.com/imager.php?id=3646937&t=o[/IMG] Of course, it was in response to Hopkins being a bit naughty himself, but it was an inappropriate response. Somebody pointed out he tried…

Comment by Pin Galarga on 04-26-2012

I have to agree, HOP was a magician when He pulled a poor acting job and kept his title while deceiving the audience and officials with his fake injury. It was magical that He pulled a no contest on a…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (13)
Top Headlines Manny Pacquiao Could Return in Mexico City, Says Beltran Jeff Horn "Very Relieved" To Make Weight For Gary Corcoran Mikael Zewski Stops Martin Escobar at the Montreal Casino Lomachenko Would Be Wise To Consider Pacquiao Possibilities Arum: Who Gives a Sh*t About White, He's a Piece of Crap! Fenech: Nothing Illegal in Jeff Horn Tactics, He is Not Dirty Fighter! Truax: DeGale Looked Past Me, You Can't Do That in Boxing Joshua Promoter: Wilder on Cloud Nine With His 50-50 Demand CompuBox Statistical Update: Lomachenko Now #1 Defender Ravshan Hudaynazarov Return Scratched, Justin Thomas Wins Lomachenko Manager: No Surprise Rigondeaux Quit, It's a Shame Canelo vs. Golovkin Rematch Deal is "Getting Very Close" Photos: Francesco Patera, Edis Tatli Ready For Rematch Battle Former Manager: Rigondeaux Will Be Remembered For Quit Job Cletus Seldin Vows To Put Real Hurt on Ulysse in HBO Clash Lomachenko vs. Linares a Possibility, Says Golden Boy President Saunders: When I Beat Lemieux, Would Love to Fight Canelo Next Photos: Katie Taylor, Jessica McCaskill - Face To Face at Presser Hearn: Joshua vs. Parker Deal is Close, We're Ready To Overpay BJ Flores Expects Boost, Big Fights From Salita Promotions Deal Tyson Fury No-Shows UKAD Hearing, Creating Further Delay Kell Brook vs. Sergey Rabchenko on March 3 in Sheffield Weekend Review: Lomachenko Rises, Rigondeaux Sinks Frank Warren: DeGale Used Wrong Tactics, He is Not Washed Up Arum Not Least Bit Surprised Lomachenko Made Rigondeaux Quit Andre Ward: Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia is 50-50 Super Fight! Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux: Post-Fight Report Card Corcoran: I'll Bring Horn Right Back To 9th of Pacquiao Fight Coldwell on a "Crazy" 2017: Bellew vs. Haye, McDonnell, More Darren Till, UFC Fighter, Inks Pact With MTK Global Parker: I Think We're Close To Locking in Anthony Joshua Fight Jeff Horn Angry: Online Keyboard Warriors Say I Fight Dirty! Wilder: I'll Make Cuban Sandwich Out of 'Bubbles The Chimp' Ortiz! When is a Loss Not a Loss? Photos: Jeff Horn, Gary Corcoran - Face To Face at Final Presser Luis Ortiz: Deontay Wilder is a Coward, I Saw Fear in His Eyes! Arum Denies Pacquiao-McGregor Talk: It's Total Nonsense Salido: All of The Wars Caught Up With Me, I'm an Old Fighter Now Andre Ward: Farmer Robbed, But He Can Bounce Back From This Arum: Lomachenko is Superhuman, Rigo Was Totally Bewildered!
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement