Hopkins vs Cloud – What Have They Got?
By Michael Byrne: Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO’s) and Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) will be meeting on March 9th at the Barclays centre in Brooklyn, NY. The immediate questions going into the fight are: what has Hopkins got left at the age of 48, and what does Cloud actually have?
Hopkins is Hall-of-Fame worthy, no doubt, but does he still have what it takes at this stage in his career to deal with Cloud’s volume of punches? Certainly he can’t keep up with him, but look for him to smother Cloud and bring the fight down to his own pace. Hopkins lost a closely-fought war with Joe Calzaghe back in 2008, and could quite easily have found himself on the winning side of that split-decision. Hopkins claimed he ‘gave him a boxing lesson’ after that fight, and in some respects he did. He lowered Calzaghe’s usual 100 punch-per-round pace, and frequently bought himself time either by smothering or coaxing the referee into stopping the clock. Although Calzaghe’s volume of punches by far outstrips Cloud’s, this fight happened over four years ago, and Hopkins will be feeling the pace a lot more this time out.
Cloud, on the other hand, hasn’t fought since February 2012, when he claimed what can only be described as a gift of a decision against Gabriel Campillo. Cloud will never find himself in the hall of fame, and he would probably find himself underdog against other big names in the division, namely Chad Dawson (WBC title holder) and Nathan Cleverly (WBO title holder). If he looks like he did in the Campillo fight, then Hopkins should be able to beat him whether he’s 48 or 58. If he looks like he did against Yusuf Mack in his previous fight, he can hope he’s catching Hopkins with his tank nearing empty. If this is the case, he can probably grind out a decision.
If this is not the case, then one must look to Hopkins to come away with a comfortable win. Hopkins looked good against Pascal both times out, and still looked somewhere near his peak when he bounced back from the Calzaghe loss to destroy a then-unbeaten Kelly Pavlik. And although Dawson outclassed him last time out, it must be noted that Dawson is a much more talented boxer than Cloud, and one judge still scored that fight even. This writer thinks Hopkins has still got something left, and he might just walk out of New York on March 9th as a 48 year-old world champion.
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