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Hopkins Wins Foul-Filled Brawl

Bernard Hopkins Roy Jones Jr.By Alexander Fugate: The fight started out with same set of actions repeating themselves. Hopkins leading with a jab, then jumping in close with his head down, and throwing a quick combo before wrapping Jones up. The first four round went this way with Hopkins jumping in, throwing a few shots and then both wrapping each other up. In the fifth, both fought on the inside, literally inches apart. Both threw and landed some shots and didn’t clinch. Jones may have stole the round, but Hopkins still seemed to land the cleaner, harder shots.

Then in the sixth Jones nailed B-Hop on the back of the head, sending Hopkins to the canvas. Bernard was down for a couple minutes, before he got up, said he was alright to continue and got the ok from the ringside doctor. Jones was penalized a point. With only seconds remaining in the round, Hopkins pounced on Jones throwing a ton of shots, many of them getting through.

When the bell rang to end the round, both fighters totally ignored it and kept throwing punches as the ref was desperately trying to break them apart. It appeared for a couple intense seconds that the bout might end in an all out riot, but the two were finally broken apart when Jones fell to the canvas. The next few rounds were closer, as Hopkins seemed to take them off and wasn’t as busy as earlier.

Still, Hopkins was throwing and landing more than his opponent and also landed the harder shots. In the eighth round, Jones again hit Hopkins behind the head and again Hopkins went to the canvas. The ref didn’t dock Jones a point this time though, stating Hopkins was fouling also. The next round, Jones hit Hopkins below the belt line and once again Hopkins dropped.

Again, no point deduction. All three illegal blows by Jones appeared to be intentional and on all three Hopkins appeared to greatly exaggerate the damage done by the fouls. The first hit on the back of the head was rather hard and might have really hurt B-Hop, but the other two didn’t appear that hard. Nonetheless, they were all blatantly illegal and Hopkins, showed his veteran savvy, by highlighting the infractions with his reaction. The eleventh and twelfth went like the first four, with Hopkins landing a few shots before the two would get tangled up. Hopkins won by a wide margin on all three judge’s scorecards.

Both fighters continuously bent, and sometimes straight broke the rules all night. Hopkins with his excessive clinching, rabbit punching, and one low blow as their bodies blinded the ref from the shot. Jones for his part, landed his aforementioned three shots that Hopkins went down on, in addition to rabbit punches and hitting on the break. Lots of grappling and wrestling, but also some amazing inside fighting. The inside game is a lost art nowadays, but Hopkins and Jones revived it for one night. When two boxers are so close to each other, it makes it impossible to load up on any punch and difficult to land anything of any significance. But both veterans showed skill in this aspect, surprisingly good was Jones who isn’t known for crowding his opponents.

Hopkins showed he is still a world-class boxer, not allowing the still ultra-quick Jones to land anything of consequence legally for the full 12 rounds and landing numerous shots of his own every round. However, he also showed he will utilize his style of clinching and staying to close for his opponents to be able to get any power behind their shots. Many fans complain of this style and it frustrates them to watch such a bout.

Others, really enjoy the expertise of Hopkins. His ability to not get hit and take every opponent out of their gameplan and natural style is superb. Sure, a lot of his tricks are dirty, but he doesn’t take a power swing on the back of someone’s head or on a downed opponent. His fouls are a lot harder for the ref to catch and frustrates his opponents instead of seriously injuring them.

One example was early in the fight when him and Jones were close and their shoulders practically touching, while the ref was on the side blocked by their bodies and couldn’t see the action, Hopkins landed a low blow. He didn’t load up for it, but it looked intentional and timed perfectly as he noticed the ref wouldn’t be able to see it. He likes to clinch, hold, wrestle around, lean on his opponents and dive in with his head down. Are those things dirty? Yes. Are they effective in frustrating opponents and taking them out of their game plan? Yes. Is it extremely hard to catch him and even harder to justify a point deduction? Yes. Hopkins really performed brilliantly, as he landed many good, clean, hard shots all night long while not taking any legal punishment in return for the whole 12 rounds.

Hopkins recently indicated he was interesting in either cleaning up the light-heavy division and unifying all the titles are moving up to heavyweight and taking on David Haye. Haye looked very impressive himself earlier today, stopping John Ruiz in the ninth and dominating the whole fight. Hopkins would likely enter that bout as a large underdog, but B-Hop would give Haye fits with his tricky style and tactics. Haye’s speed, power, agility, and youth could be enough for him to overcome the ring savvy “Executioner”, but it would be an interesting bout.

Yes, Haye looked far more impressive today, but Hopkins wins easily without looking impressive all the time. Its not necessarily how pleasing to the eye a victory is that will determine who would win a match-up between two stars. If that was the case, Kelly Pavlik would have dominated Hopkins; instead Pavlik didn’t have a clue what to do to combat B-Hop. As for unifying the light-heavyweight titles, its possible, but fights with Chad Dawson, Tarvoris Cloud, and Jean Pascal would all be tough fights. Whatever, Bernard Hopkins chooses to do next, he still has the talent to pull off another improbable upset or come away with a victory as a favorite. At 45 years old, it will be interesting to see his next move. A fight with David Haye would give him the biggest accomplishment in the eyes of many, if he came away with a victory.

Beating Chad Dawson would also be a huge win for Hopkins, but a loss for boxing, as a top younger fighter would fall to someone over 45. It would really make the newer and younger class of boxers appear to be much worse than their boxing forefathers. Despite his advanced age Hopkins doesn’t appear to be considering retirement. Hopefully, if he continues on, he will take on a top younger foe, preferably Dawson at 175 or Haye at heavyweight. Hopkins would most likely be an underdog in both, but as he showed against Tarver and Pavlik, that’s when he’s at his very best. Kudos to both Hopkins and Haye for their impressive victories today.

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