Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Hopkins and the Landscape at 175: Post Report Card

by Cliff Rold

Unification made a nice narrative, but it wasn’t really the point.

Bernard Hopkins wants, at age 49, to be the Light Heavyweight Champion again.  When he beat Antonio Tarver, he didn’t win the lineal title in the purist sense, but he captured the line of ‘best Light Heavyweights’ dating to Roy Jones’ unification of the three most recognized titles in the 1990s.  When he beat Jean Pascal, he did both. 

Since moving to Light Heavyweight with the Tarver bout in 2006, nearly eight years ago, Hopkins is 9-2-1 with 1 No Contest.  Only the loss to Chad Dawson is entirely without debate about the outcome.  Of the foes he’s faced in that run, Shumenov qualifies as one of the softer touches and he held a belt (if by virtue of a bad call) and was at least a top ten Light Heavyweight.

Now, the real prize lies ahead.  The winner of Adonis Stevenson-Andrej Forfara will be the man who beat the man who beat Hopkins.  Should Stevenson prevail, as he is favored to do, can he finally be the man to end the game’s resident living legend?

If not, will the only other man who can get his shot?     

Let’s go to the report card.

Grades
Pre-Fight: Speed – Hopkins B; Shumenov B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Hopkins B; Shumenov B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Hopkins A+; Shuemov C/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Hopkins A+; Shumenov B/Post: A+; C

The bout started like many recent Hopkins affairs: slow.  The first round was as even as any could be.  Neither man really did anything so there was no reason to prefer either.  In the second, Shumenov made case.

After six minutes, Hopkins had the nearly two decades younger opponent about solved.  Sometimes, Hopkins makes things ugly to win.  He didn’t have to Saturday.  Shumenov’s low hands and lack of strategy made Hopkins almost youthful.  He slipped shots, blocked them, and timed counters with relative ease.  On the occasions where he took a hard shot, his chin remained as sturdy as it’s always been.

There have been, throughout his championship years, a select group of fighters who one could say were better than Hopkins for periods of time.  His consistency over nearly twenty years could see him rated above most if not all of them. 

Now he is looking at a new physical challenge beyond just the existential challenge of age.  Stevenson is faster than him.  Stevenson hits a country ton.  Yes, the age looms too.  Hopkins was clear that Stevenson is the contest he wants but he never said no to WBO titlist Sergey Kovalev.  Should he get by Stevenson (or Fonfara, a reasonably live underdog too easily overlooked prior to his challenge), there will be plenty that insist he needs to face the other monster of the class as well.

Hopkins, speaking to the assembled press after the fight, made clear that Kovalev would need him more than the other way around and have to fight on Showtime to make it happen.  One assumes Kovalev, currently tied to HBO, would be more than willing.  Would the business of boxing allow for it?

Hopkins can say he doesn’t need the WBO belt to be undisputed.  He’s right.  But for a man who knows history, and his story, so well, does he really want to finish one short.  Nearing fifty, he has the chance to clean out the top of the class he’s in one more time.

The landscape at 175 lbs. is clear: Stevenson-Fonfara leads to the winner against Hopkins.  From there, Kovalev looms.  It’s as simple, in the ring, as anyone could ask for.  Boxing doesn’t always get simple right.  Let’s hope it can this time around.            

Report Card Picks 2014: 15-6

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tolai12 on 04-22-2014

We'll let's hope Stevenson and B Hop do eventually square off and the winner fights Kovalev... Hope!

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Billy Joe Saunders vs. Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8, Copper Box Kevin Lerena vs. Sergio Ramirez at Emperors Palace Anthony Joshua Sees No Reason To Fight in U.S. To Raise Profile Gilberto Ramirez Ready For Golovkin Next: Just Send The Contract! Jermell Charlo: Jarrett Hurd Took My Brother's Title - We Can Unify Keith Thurman: Porter Fought His Way To Earning a Rematch Carlos Castro Stays Undefeated with Decision Over Palacios Oscar Valdez Drops, Decisions Miguel Marriaga in Tough Fight Joseph Parker's Promoter Does Not Believe Hughie Fury is Injured Gilberto Ramirez Dominates Max Bursak To Retain WBO Title Shawn Porter Stops Andre Berto in Nine To Earn Thurman Shot Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jermell Charlo Knocks Charles Hatley Unconscious In 6th Round Parker's Promoter is Furious: Hughie Fury Claims He is Injured! Shakur Stevenson Makes Pro Debut, Beats Brito in Five Rounds Serrano Stops Santana; Becomes 5-Division Women’s Champ Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - CompuBox Historical Review Jessie Magdaleno Destroys Adeilson Dos Santos in Two Rounds Magdaleno: I'm Hungrier Now, Holding This Belt For Many Years Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury is OFF - Confirms WBO President LIVE Top Rank Tripleheader Results From StubHub in Carson Krzysztof Zimnoch Demolishes Michael Grant in Two Rounds Martin Murray Beats Gabe Rosado, Who Loses Temper Over Scores Khurtsidze Blasts Tommy Langford To Earn Billy Joe Saunders Arthur Abraham Punishes Robin Krasniqi, Wins WBO Eliminator Dalakian, Yegorov, Yefimovich Win WBA Title Bouts in Kiev Marriaga: Valdez Not Invincible; I'll Knock Crown Off His Head Otto Wallin Drills Gianluca Mandras in Five To Win WBA Regional Tom Farrell Beats Tommy Carus, Retains WBA Regional Juan Carlos Reveco, Jorge Sebastian Heiland Win Big in Argentina Joe Cordina Wins On Debut, Stops Jose Aguilar In Liverpool Charles Conwell Wins Pro Debut, Yuandale Evans Beats Dib Gilberto Ramirez: The Golovkin Fight Can Be Made at Any Time Tony Bellew Rules Out Retirement, Plans To Continue Fighting Joseph Parker Has One Eye On Joshua vs. Klitschko Showdown Jamie Cox Inks Promotional Pact With Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Indongo Manager Eyes Crawford Unification, Hits Back at Lipinets Trainer: Magdaleno Looks Better Now Than When He Beat Donaire Frank Warren on Flanagan-Crolla Status, Anthony Yarde Return Shawn Porter-Andre Berto: Pre-Fight Report Card
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement