Calzaghe-Hopkins: “I know what is going to happen. I am going to win the fight”- Joe
By “Big” Nate Anderson: In today’s press conference in London, super middleweight Joe Calzaghe (44-0, 32 KOs) and light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins (48-4-1, 32 KOs) continued to go at each other verbally in preparation for their April 19th bout at the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada. If anyone was to be considered the victor in the press conference, I’d say that Calzaghe, 35, appeared to come out on top, as he said:
“I know what is going to happen. I am going to win the fight. I’m undefeated for 17 years and he’s going to realize April 19 that he’s never been in the ring with someone like myself with my hand speed and my work rate. He’s been a champion for years and I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect.”
For that, Calzaghe appears to be hitting it right on the head about Hopkins never having been in the ring with a fighter like him, nor one with Calzaghe’s work rate. Though much has been said about Hopkins having faced the better competition in his career, it’s not that big of a deal, if you ask me. Hopkins has faced some quality fight, I’ll give him that, such as Winky Wright, Jermain Taylor, Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson, Howard Eastman, William Joppy, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Tarver and Felix Trinidad. The problem with his opponents, however, is that none of them could beat Calzaghe, other than perhaps Jones, who may have been able to beat him earlier in his career.
As far as the rest go, Calzaghe easily beats the whole bunch of them by with embarrassing ease. That doesn’t me that they’re not good fighters, because they certainly are. What it means is that Calzaghe is on a higher level them each one of them, so much so that few of them would win more than a couple of rounds against him. Hopkins, in fact, lost to the best fighters – Jermain Taylor and Jones – which really suggests that his career credentials are no match for Calzaghe.
Sure, it’s good that Hopkins beat the others, but in a couple of cases – with De La Hoya and Trinidad – they were fighting far out of their weight class, and didn’t belong in the same right with a fighter as big as Hopkins. You could probably say the same thing for Joppy, who is even considered on the small side for light middleweight. He’s more of a natural welterweight than a true junior middleweight, and certainly nothing near to being big enough to compete against a middleweight, like Hopkins used to be at one time.
As far as Eastman, Johnson and Tarver go, none of these fighters are particularly skillful offensive fighters. Though they can bang a little, all of them have flaws, in that they lack the overall ability to box. This, of course, is what Hopkins exploited against them in his wins against each. So essentially, you can take away most of Hopkins’ best wins in his career, and throw them out the door, for none of them are going to prepare him for what he’ll have to be facing in Calzaghe.
What’s even worse than that, however, is that Hopkins will be facing his arguably toughest bout of his career at a point where he’s not as strong as he was earlier in his career due to his age. There’s a lot fans out there that perhaps believe that Hopkins is fighting at his best right now, I understand that. However, I think they’re deluded, because in watching video of Hopkins, he looks nothing like he did a decade ago, when he was easily beating the likes of John David Jackson, Glen Johnson, and Simon Brown.
Believe me, that was a much better version of Hopkins than the one we’re seeing now. Hopkins may have retained a portion of his skills, but he’s not remotely close to what he was back then in my view. And, of course, the thing of it is, even at that point in his career, I see Calzaghe – this version – beating him by a one-sided decision over 12 rounds. It wouldn’t be close, no matter what stage of Hopkins career.
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