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Atlas: Cloud will beat Hopkins

Bernard Hopkins Tavoris CloudBy Allan Fox: ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas is picking IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) to defeat 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO’s) tonight in their fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Atlas feels that Cloud has too much youth, too much strength and too high of a workrate for the aging Hopkins. If Hopkins does win, he’ll become the oldest fighter to capture a world title. He currently has the record at winning the WBC 175 lb. title at 46, but he can break that tonight if he can somehow find a way to defeat Cloud.

Atlas said on ESPN, “He’s [Hopkins] talking about Cloud having only one gear and can’t go backwards. He’s [Hopkins] not pushing anyone backwards. You believing what he’s selling? He’s conning him right now; he’s setting him up, making him think I’m going after him. He wants nothing to do with going after a guy that’s physical and strong. Now at 48-years of age, he wants distance and he hopes by saying that Cloud will be a little hesitant and he’ll get the distance he needs. Four years ago, I would have said that this guy [Cloud] is made to order for Hopkins. Hopkins’ intellect, speed, fighting on the outside, counter-punching, boxing, could deal with a guy that’s just strong, just physical and just wants to impose himself, but now I must say the opposite. Now I must say at 48-years-old, a strong physical guy, who comes forward, and if he can keep his motor running, that might be the worst thing in the world for Hopkins. Something that would have been great four years ago, might be his last fight, might be his worst nightmare. If Hopkins is going to win this fight, how’s he going to do it? Well, he’s going to slow it down, he’s going to con him. He’s started already saying he’s going to back you up when he’s not got the intent to back him up. He’s going to have to grab, slow the pace, make it an ugly fight, make it a fight that he can maybe steal, and maybe get Cloud thinking too much. I’m going to say that Cloud is going to win this fight. I’m going to say that if he gets his way late in the fight, he’ll get close to stopping Hopkins, but I’m not going to say that. I’m going to say that he’s going to win a unanimous decision. He’s going to keep a fast pace and wear down the 48-year-old, and not allow him to con him into a victory.”

Hopkins and Cloud successfully made weight on Friday with Hopkins weighing 174.4 lbs., and Cloud 173.8.

Also on the card will be unbeaten welterweight contender Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KO’s) fighting Jan Zaveck (32-2, 18 KO’s) in a WBO welterweight title eliminator. The winner of the fight becomes the mandatory challenger for WBO champion Timothy Bradley.

Thurman weighed I at 145.8 lbs., and Zaveck 146.6 during yesterday’s weigh-in.

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