Anything but Hopkins-Froch
By B.G.B: We all love (or at the very least respect) Bernhard Hopkins. He’s gone beyond what any trainer, fighter, manager, promoter or fan could have ever imagined. At 50 years old he still remains at world level having lost his IBF and WBA light-heavy weight world titles just a few weeks ago to the best fighter in the division Sergey Kovalev.
Managing to survive 12 rounds with Kovalev is a feat in itself more so considering the amount of punishment Hopkins took. He has more than cemented his place in the BHOF and will never be forgotten. The sad thing is that Hopkins’ actually fights are easily forgotten.
Even in victory Hopkins’ fights fail to entertain but never fail to capture the imagination of the boxing public. ‘He can’t keep doing it. Not at this age’ has been a common reference to Hopkins for the last 10 years. It’s the defiance of Hopkins that will define his legacy forever. Every fight for the past decade has become crucial for Hopkins and his next challenge will be no different.
Will he bounce back from defeat? Or will he fall short and finally sail away into retirement? My preference would be that Hopkins sets sail now before he talks his way into a fight with super-middleweight champion Carl Froch. Why so pessimistic? Froch is a great champion and one of the most exciting fighters out there. Hopkins is a living legend with absolutely no rival. On paper this is a tremendous fight. Just one thing; styles make fights and let me be the one to tell you that Hopkins Froch will be an all-out snooze fest.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that there is zero potential for this fight to have any kind of excitement. Let’s talk Carl Froch first. Power, stamina and an immeasurable mental toughness are the best ways to define Froch’s own legacy. Facing everything but defeat, Carl has managed to overcome the odds right before our eyes. His first world title defense saw him touch the canvas and behind on points needing a KO in the 12th round to win.
In the dying seconds of the 12th he did just that knocking out Jermaine Taylor on his American debut. Despite the controversy of his first fight with fellow countryman George Groves’ credit can only be given to Froch for such an incredible comeback. He took a sledgehammer blow in the first round and viscous punishment throughout the entirety of the fight but still managed to hurt Groves enough for the referee to stop the action.
Whether you agree with that decision or not is irrelevant. What you can’t deny is Froch’s durability and champion spirit. He is rarely in a dull fight and is the best British fighter since Joe Calzaghe a man who defeated Hopkins in a dull fight on his Vegas Debut. Calzaghe Hopkins is as good as forgotten but by no fault of Calzaghe’s. It was credit to Hopkins that he was able to make the fight as painful as it was to watch.
Here we had an undefeated unified world champion who threw a staggering amount of punches get caught up in a wrestling match. It was a memorable victory for Calzaghe but an unmemorable fight for both. If a fighter with the output and hand speed of Calzaghe becomes a snooze fest against Hopkins then just imagine a Froch Hopkins fight. For all his qualities Froch is not without flaws. He doesn’t have good hand speed or particularly good feet and although he does have very good power its highly unlikely that he will KO or even knock Hopkins down. His lack of hand speed and poor defence will play into Hopkins favour and you can bet it won’t be a pretty sight. Every time Froch gets close Hopkins will land a lead right, move in with the shoulder, grab and move away.
My intensions here are not to slam Carl Froch. In fact I do give Carl a very good chance to beat Hopkins if the two do unfortunately meet. He’s incredibly fit and very strong physically and like others has the potential to outwork the wise old wizard. Out working your opponent isn’t just about landing flush shots. It’s very difficult to land flush on Hopkins as Calzaghe (and many others) found out, but opponents do just that little bit more work than Hopkins. Kovalev is the only fighter that I have seen that has totally dominated Hopkins from start to finish which actually made the fight more memorable.
It showed just how much of a complete fighter Kovalev truly is and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he beats Stevenson if those two meet sooner rather than later. Hopkins wasn’t able to deal with the power, size and strength of Kovalev and wasn’t able to make a mess of the fight. Froch would be a different story regardless of the result. Hopkins will pot shot and Carl will work. It’s Skill against will but something is missing. When visualizing the fight for myself I see fouling, slow pace, few flush shots, elbows, shoulders, intervals and everything that is bad about boring fights.
The point I’m making doesn’t concern the result but that this fight isn’t something that fight fans will want to see. I sympathize with Froch’s recent comments that he is in a no win situation. He either wins in a boring fight or loses in a boring fight. A victory over Hopkins wouldn’t add to his legacy nor would it take anything away but at this stage of his career Froch is looking for a big finish. To claim that Froch is a coward is absurd. He’s fought every super middleweight out there in venues all over the world and fear has nothing to do with his seeming reluctance to fight Hopkins. We’ve seen before pressure from fight fans impact Froch’s decisions (rematch with Groves) and we know he wants to be in action packed fights. That’s why Chaves Jr is such a viable option in Froch’s mind. It’s not only a PPV Vegas fight with guaranteed action but it’s a fight that Froch would likely win. Hopkins is a totally different fight for Froch.
My dream fight would be Froch Golovkin which I actually think has a more realistic chance of happening than others might think. If Golovkin continues to gain popularity and can’t get a fight with Cotto or Alvarez (as is likely) Golovkin will look elsewhere. Thus far the appeals for a Froch Golovkin fight have been mere whispers. Once those whispers turn to shouts Froch will find them difficult to ignore. We’ve seen before pressure from fight fans impact Froch’s decisions (rematch with Groves) and we know he wants to be in action packed fights that will live long in the memory.
Golovkin ticks every box. The difficult question is could Froch beat Golovkin? My heart says Froch but my head says Golovkin but of course it’s nothing more than instinctive predictions. We do not know if Golovkin could handle the strength of the bigger super middleweights or if he would carry such devastating power to a higher division. Whatever the case I’d rather see Golovkin than Chavez and certainly Hopkins. However I’d probably rather see Chavez than Hopkins for that matter.
Hopkins deserves all the credit he gets and he will live forever as the oldest world champion in the history of the sport, a record that may never be broken. I’d love to see Hopkins face ducking master Stevenson simply because Stevenson needs to prove himself. Froch has nothing to prove and it would be a shame if his final fight is a dull wrestling match that will never define Froch as a fighter.
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