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Can Hopkins beat Cloud on Saturday?

Bernard Hopkins Tavoris CloudBy Thomas Cowan: Not too many boxing fans are backing Bernard Hopkins to beat IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud on Saturday. There are many reasons that most people fancy Cloud to win, there’s 48 reasons to be precise, but I’m not sure people should write The Executioner off so quickly.

Hopkins has been dismissed as “too old” for years but he’s still going. A lot of people thought he would be completely outclassed by Joe Calzaghe but Hopkins gave Calzaghe the toughest fight of his career and was very unlucky to lose to a split-decision. I scored the fight as a draw. He was also written off as a no-hoper when he agreed to fight Jean Pascal. He got a draw in the first fight and then defeated the Canadian to break George Foreman’s record as the oldest ever world champion.

Obviously, Hopkins looked pretty poor last time out against Chad Dawson but I really don’t think Cloud is in Dawson’s class. Cloud beat Gabriel Campillo in his last fight by split decision and I thought that was the one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. Campillo was down twice in the 1st but after that he completely dominated Cloud and the decision was loudly booed by the crowd.

If Hopkins is to win this fight then he really needs to use his brain. Cloud’s going to be a lot faster than him but looking at Cloud’s record, even a 48 year old Hopkins is probably the best opponents he’s been in with, so I don’t expect him to be taking the fight lightly. If Hopkins can hit Cloud with some decent shots early on, then the champion could panic the way he did against Campillo after the Spaniard started to dominate.

I’m finding it really hard to predict this one, but I’m going to put my neck on the line and back the aging Hopkins to finished the night with his hand raised.

Prediction – Hopkins by split decision.

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