Boxing News: DeGale-Groves, Hopkins-Pascal, Roy Jones Jr and more
By Peter Wells: Well it’s been quite a while now since my last post and plenty has happened. And already we’ve had some ups and downs to this year so far. Prospects Juan Manuel Lopez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr where both given a harsh lesson while Manny Pacquiao sent us to sleep with his last outing against Shane Mosley. On the up side we’ve seen Bernard Hopkins make history by being the oldest ever fighter to win a world title and he even had time to do a few push ups in the meantime.
We’ve also finally seen the true warrior in Victor Ortiz and David Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko is back on. But there’s the real down’s, as the world lost a great champion and also a great man in Sir Henry Cooper and another legend Roy Jones Jr who refuses to hang up the gloves was beaten harshly in a final round that was hard to watch for those who appreciate the sport.
As for the latest news it was an amazing weekend with history being made and also a clash that the British public (especially George Groves) won’t forget. I had been gearing up for the James DeGale-George Groves clash for a while and even when Juergen Braehmer pulled out of his title defence with Nathan Cleverly it hardly dampened my excitement.
The fight was exactly what we all need- a fierce rivalry between two young talented fighters. The odds were stacked against Groves and my prediction was far from the final conclusion. What makes the result better though is that we can surely expect to see the two sharing the ring again in the near future and it is sure to get everyone talking again.
DeGale was adamant he would be victorious and who could blame him after dismantling Paul Smith to be crowned British champion there was a feeling he was going to be special. And maybe he still will be but he’ll have to put the brakes on for a moment and re-focus after what must feel like a heart breaking defeat.
As both fighters took centre stage there was just that feeling in the air that something special was about to happen. DeGale was struggling to get through to Groves and he was being picked off from the ever moving Groves. You could tell that Adam Booth, David Haye and George had sat down and studied James as hard as they could and they’d thought of the perfect strategy. The first 4 rounds did Groves the world of good, while DeGale was still wondering what he was supposed to do. It was as if he had no plan B and that was the big problem.
But the fight started to heat up as Groves was slowing if only slightly, it was enough to allow ‘Chunky’ the chance to pull back some much need rounds. But in the last 5 rounds it was give and take and both fighters sustained cuts- Groves suffering a nasty laceration on his forehead. But the doctor and referee were experienced enough to know the fight was too close to stop and neither fighter gave signs that the cuts were a handicap. DeGale constantly tried to switch stances but it wasn’t working and for every punch he threw, George was equal to it. It was a give and take last few rounds and it was clear that Groves just had the edge through that early work. James was unable to get his combinations going and that was the key. After the verdict James was not happy to say the least while Groves was over the moon.
On that same night another blockbuster rivalry was in store for us. After a controversial draw last time out Bernard Hopkins was once again trying to break the records. The antics before the fight were normal for B-Hop as the psychological genius had already won the mental fight. Hopkins is no doubt a once in a lifetime fighter and at 46 he is still one of the best fighters on the planet at this present time.
Pascal once again started well in the first four rounds but this time without any knockdowns. After that it was ‘The Executioner’s’ fight and he made it look so easy. Even in the final round when Pascal tried desperately for a knockout he stayed composed and his all year training and strict diet payed off as he finished the fight looking as if he’d just gone 4 rounds.
It was a sad day for Pascal though, after showing so much potential against Diaconu and Dawson. It just wasn’t to be while B-Hop has plenty of options now including retirement. But only Hopkins knows when it’s time to hang up the gloves.
One thing is he has the option to go out on top unlike his old rival Roy Jones Jr who’s fight with Denis Lebedev was just another bridge too far. Despite hanging on till the last round the ending was an unpleasant one. After taking a few flush punches Jones was out on his feet and the referee still didn’t step in despite Lebedev looking at him to end the fight. But if you thought Lebedev was being kind you wouldn’t have thought that when he landed a huge right hand on Roy’s chin which flattened him. Blame should soley lie on the ref’s shoulders as he failed to stop the fight when a fighter was in serious trouble. There have been many incidents where these moments are tragic but thankfully Roy Jones Jr was not seriously hurt