Should Hopkins Go After Valuev Rather than Froch?
By William Mackay: Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KOs) has been mentioned as potential opponent for WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (25-0, 20 KOs) in September, but I’m hoping that Hopkins doesn’t sell himself short and take this fight because there are bigger and better things out there for the 44-year-old Hopkins starting with WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs).
Hopkins has been a name that has been linked with Valuev in the past month, and although the two are separated by roughly 150 pounds in weight, I think Hopkins would be able to gain enough weight to make a competitive fight with the 320 pound Valuev.
I don’t see the weight being the real issue here. I think Hopkins would have a much tougher time trying to handle the huge 10” inch reach advantage that the mammoth seven foot Valuev would have over Hopkins. Much of Valuev’s weight is power that he’s unable to harness to use for punching.
Indeed, Valuev is an incredibly weak puncher for a fighter his size or even for one 100 pounds lighter than him. Don’t get me wrong, Valuev can punch at times when he harnesses all his power into his shots, but he’s not able to do that for any length of time before he runs down and starts throwing fewer punches.
When Valuev was a little younger, he had a decent work rate, but as he’s aged in the past couple of years, Valuev has transformed into a heavyweight that generally throws mostly jabs with occasional combinations. I doubt that would be enough to beat a fighter with the movement, speed and power that Hopkins has going for him.
The size would be a problem for Hopkins for about six rounds, but once Valuev slows down a little by the midpoint in the fight, I think Hopkins would box circles around him and would take him apart with pinpoint attacks. Valuev would still be very dangerous because he would be capable of mauling Hopkins and clubbing Hopkins into submission if Bernard wasn’t careful.
However, I think Hopkins would be too quick for Valuev’s ponderous lefts and rights and would get out of the way of most of Valuev’s big shots. The win would likely be very easy for Hopkins to accomplish. The hardest part would be for Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions to try and convince Valuev and his management team to take the fight, because it would be a risky fight for Valuev to take.
This wouldn’t be a fight where any kind of catch weight would be involved, because there’s little chance for Valuev to take off 120+ to fight Hopkins at a more reasonable weight, so the ball would be fully in Hopkins’ court to put on the extra weight needed to be competitive with Valuev.
I honestly don’t think that Hopkins would need to weigh much more than his 180+ that he usually fights at in his light heavyweight matches in order to beat Valuev. Any extra weight that Hopkins would put on would be inconsequential because he would still be outweighed by 120 or more pounds even if Hopkins could come in at 200 for the fight.