Is Adamek the Best Option for Hopkins?
By Chris Williams: At 44, Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KOs) is interested in picking up a third world title in a different weight class and is looking at the prospect of fighting IBF cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek, according to Dan Rafael from ESPN. You can’t blame Hopkins for wanting to continue on with his boxing career, because after all, he recently made Kelly Pavlik look really bad in defeating him by a 12-round unanimous decision in October 2008.
Hopkins, however, has run out of opponents in the middleweight division for him to pick over, and he doesn’t seem all that interested in going after Mikkel Kessler, arguably the best fighter in the super middleweight division.
At light heavyweight, Hopkins has the options of fighting Chad Dawson, Zsolt Erdei, Adrian Diaconu, Hugo Garay or Glen Johnson. However, in each case, none of them are popular enough to give Hopkins the kind of fight that he’s seeking. He wants attention, and though he would get a lot by the diehard fans in facing any one of those fighters, the casual fans probably won’t be all that interested in seeing Hopkins fight opponents that they’re not familiar with.
Even Hopkins, for all his talent, isn’t a particularly popular fighter among the mainstream fans. This is why he would absolutely need a fighter with a big name to foot the bill and to capture the fan base needed for the fight to make a lot of money.
Adamek is a great fighter, but he’s not really all that popular except with Polish fans. If Hopkins really wanted to ensure that he gets the biggest payday possible, he should consider skipping the cruiserweight division altogether and taking on one of the heavyweights.
I’m fairly certain that Hopkins could lure one of the money hungry heavyweights into a fight with him, and if he picks one with marginal skills, like Nikolay Valuev or Ruslan Chagaev, I’d give Hopkins a good chance at beating them.
Then absolute jackpot for Hopkins would be for him to take on one or both of the Klitschko brothers. Of course, it would be a suicidal move on Hopkins’ part, because even under the best case scenario, I couldn’t see him coming into the fight much heavier than 200 pounds.
This would mean that he would be giving up roughly 45-50 pounds against either Klitschko, and at least five to six inches in height against both Klitschko’s. But, at least Hopkins would make a bundle out of it, much more than he would in fighting Adamek. Personally, that fight seems rather dull to me.
Adamek only throws 20 to 30 punches per round, if that, and mostly just moves around the ring looking to throw an infrequent right hand. He didn’t use to fight like that when he was a light heavyweight, but since putting on weight, he’s become very economical, as if his stamina can’t afford to let him throw more punches without tiring.
He lucked out against Steve Cunningham, who gave him all kinds of trouble but kept getting knocked down due to his poor footwork. With Johnathon Banks, he didn’t have the chin to stand in with him for long and was eventually knocked out in the 8th. Adamek looked vulnerable every time out and not nearly good enough to beat a fighter as accomplished as Hopkins.
I see Hopkins winning the fight, but it won’t be that impressive because Adamek is horribly flawed as a fighter in my view. Dawson would probably beat Hopkins, so it’s best that Bernard not fight him under any circumstance.
Other than those people, there’s really no one for Hopkins to fight. Like I said, I wouldn’t waste my time fighting Adamek, because he’s not popular in the U.S., and if Hopkins is only interested in fighting for his own accomplishment and not for money, then he needs to fight Dawson, who has already beaten Adamek by a lopsided 12-round decision two years ago in 2007.
For me, that would be a major negative if I were Hopkins. Why fight Dawson’s left over’s? There’s no victory there, is there? Again, Hopkins needs to go for the heavyweight option and choose one of the Klitschko brothers. Valuev and Chagaev aren’t popular enough either to make it a big money fight for Hopkins, so I’d focus more on fighting Vitali or Wladimir.
I’m almost certain that Hopkins would have a good chance at landing a fight with one of them. Of course, he’d lose, but at least if he makes the fight somewhat close, he can claim he schooled them like he did in his loss with Joe Calzaghe in April 2008.