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Haye not interested in fighting Hopkins

Bernard Hopkins David HayeBy Jim Dower: Former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO’s) wants to fight WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (24-1, 22 KO’s), even after Hopkins’ disappointing 12 round decision over 41-year-old Roy Jones Jr. last weekend. Hopkins said in article at the BBC “People will think the punch [Hopkins was hit in the back of the head by Jones and hurt in the 6th round of their fight] in the back of my head made me a little crazy, but I want Haye.”

The feeling isn’t mutual, though, as Haye doesn’t want to fight the 45-year-old Hopkins, saying “I think he [Hopkins] just wants a big pay day, to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world he can demand big money. Bernard Hopkins is one of my idols. Looking back at his fights over the last 20, 25 years, he’s always been a great fighter. But now he’s 45 years of age, he fought another 40-year-old on the same night as me and was a dire fight for everybody there in attendance.”

Haye has it right; It was awful bout to watch, with Hopkins clinching after almost every punch thrown, falling down three times from a couple of rabbit punches and a low blow. Besides that, Hopkins looked tired and in the need of rest breaks, which his constant clinching and falling down appeared to give him. Hopkins wasn’t just the recipient of rabbit punches. He landed his own share of them, including low blows.

The fight was in a lot of ways going back in a time machine to one of heavyweight John Ruiz’s wrestling bouts in the late 90s, in which Ruiz used an effective – but boring – punch and grab technique. Hopkins appears to have adopted this technique and has used it in a number of his recent fights. It’s effective to a certain degree, but hard on the eyes.

It’s a style that limits how many punches can be thrown by both him and his opponents because he effectively ties them up. It probably wouldn’t be an effective enough style for Hopkins to beat a fighter like Haye, even if Haye was interested in fighting the 45-year-old Hopkins. It would likely not help Hopkins either against top light heavyweights like Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal, all of which have good hand speed and throw a lot of punches. Roy Jones Jr. threw almost nothing last Saturday and couldn’t do much to compete with Hopkins other than throwing a few short punches on the inside every now and then.

Haye has bigger fish to fry than a fight with the aging Hopkins. Haye would like to fight a unification bout against one of the Klitschko brothers. But that fight might not be possible now because Haye may have to fight a rematch with former WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev first before he can line up a fight with one of the Klitschkos. Haye could possibly pay Valuev to step aside temporarily until Haye gets the fight with the Klitschko brothers out of the way. Then the winner of that fight, which would likely be the Klitschkos, would have to fight Valuev.

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