Hopkins vs. Cloud this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
By Allan Fox: 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO’s) has a critical battle this Saturday night against IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Hopkins has had a two-year dry spell in between victories, and he can’t afford to lose to Cloud if he wants to remain relevant at 175. Hopkins, #2 WBA, #6 IBF, #9 WBO, is still ranked high despite not having won a fight since 2011, but those inflated rankings won’t continue for very long with Hopkins not winning and fighting only once a year.
Hopkins fought only once in 2012 in losing to Chad Dawson by a 12 round majority decision in April. If Hopkins takes another year-long break after the Cloud fight, he’ll be 49-years-old and it’s just hard to imagine him doing anything at that ripe old age.
Cloud, 30, has been underwhelming champion since picking up the IBF title off of Clinton Woods in 2009. Cloud has successfully defended his IBF strap four times, but mostly against weak opposition. He’s not fought anyone that could really test him like Dawson, Beibut Shumenov, Jean Pascal or Nathan Cleverly.
He’s fought strictly the guys below him, and not looked all that great. In his last fight, he struggled to beat Gabriel Campillo by a 12 round split decision in February last year in a fight that few boxing fans felt he won. Campillo was able to land clean shots all night long, and if not for Cloud finishing strong in the last four rounds, he likely would have lost the fight.
A younger version of Hopkins would totally dominate Cloud. However, Hopkins has aged and he might not be able to throw enough punches to get the victory. It’s going to take a high work rate for Hopkins to win this fight, and it’s going to be difficult for him to do that when he’s shown that he doesn’t have the engine to throw punches like that anymore.
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