bernardhopkins-2

Knockout Nation: Hopkins Embarrasses Pavlik! Zab Judah November Comeback! Smokin’ Joe Frazier

You can’t say the Executioner didn’t tell you the outcome beforehand.  Months

before last Saturday’s master-class over middleweight champion Kelly

Pavlik, Bernard Hopkins proclaimed that “I ain’t afraid of no Ghost.”

Pavlik found that out in spades via a thorough boxing

education, as Hopkins outfought, outfoxed, and shockingly outpunched

his younger foe over 12 dominating rounds.

Hopkins,

breaking out the black robe and executioner’s mask for the ring walk,

stormed out for round one countering and feinting the robotic Pavlik. A

master of distance, Hopkins easily peppered the reigning middleweight

champ with jabs while making a concerted effort to work the body with

hooks.

As

with many past Hopkins’ opponents, Pavlik struggled to find a rhythm

early, but was able to land a decent right to the body. Also, the

Youngstown, Ohio native found some reprieve after Hopkins received an

early warning for holding the head.

Round

two saw Hopkins compound Pavlik’s confusion with surprising

combinations. After landing a thudding left hook, the Executioner

followed up with a hook to the body and a straight right to the head.

Wary of exchanges against his larger foe, Pavlik sought to establish

the jab but found that weapon compromised by Hopkins’ own stiff lead

punch.

Pavlik

continued his woeful offense into round three, as Hopkins continued

opening up early with combinations rarely seen in his past fights. Secure that Pavlik was too slow and open defensively to counter,

Hopkins blasted him with a lead right hand followed by a jab. Pavlik

continued to plod forward, and Hopkins assaulted him with a double left

hook combo. To finish up another dominating round, the Executioner

clocked Pavlik with a hard left hook before landing another straight

right lead.

By

the fifth, Kelly had yet to post a round, and the pro-Pavlik crowd

began to turn against him, marveling at the underdog’s performance.

Without pressure debilitating his stamina like the Calzaghe fight,

Hopkins continued his free reign to set the fight’s pace. Taking a

solid right, Pavlik fired his own right hand only to eat a right-left

combination in return. The inside offered no relief, as Hopkins deftly

controlled Pavlik there and prevented him from landing any significant

shots.

In

the eighth, a frustrated Pavlik lost a point for hitting behind the

head. No stranger to fouls, Hopkins received his own deduction in round

nine for excessive holding, likely to catch a much needed breather.

Still, Hopkins clean punching won him the rounds, particularly his

landing of a half dozen hard right hands, and a wince-inducing left to

the solar-plexus.

A

desperate, swollen right and bleeding left eye Pavlik finally got on

board in the tenth, establishing a decent offensive round behind a huge

right hand upstairs and consistent work to the body. However, Hopkins

let his discouraged foe know his advantage was only temporary,  snapping Pavlik’s head back with a short right followed by

flurries on the inside to conclude the round.

Both

men went into the trenches in round eleven, content to ignore the

referee and maul each other. The old master was at home here, and spent

most of the round gathering his energy and lulling Pavlik into a trap.

Over the round’s closing half, Hopkins landed his umpteenth right hand,

and subsequently tied up Pavlik to prevent any possible follow-up.

Seeking

to duplicate his late KO of Felix Trinidad seven years ago, Hopkins

began the twelfth winging homerun right hand shots. Two connected and

badly stunned Pavlik, driving him back. Showing heart, Kelly responded

with a hard right of his own, which only enraged Hopkins who responded

with taunts and combinations.

After

the bell, both camps spilled into the ring to separate the two, who

continued jawing and throwing shots. Hopkins, once again proving his

critics wrong, stood at first defiant to the crowd. The stance then

became proud as the audience showered approval and respect at one of

the best performances the sport has ever seen from a 43 year old

fighter.Scores for the lopsided Hopkins decision were 119-106, 117-109, and 118-108.

Once the emotions calmed, both men were gracious to each other in the post-fight interviews.

“This

fight will make you or break you. Go back to the gym and learn that

slickness and you’ll be a bad man,” Hopkins stated to Pavlik,

continuing the boxing lesson that had begun in the ring. “Don’t let

this fight destroy you…You need to bend your knees more like your coach

was telling you. Middleweight is your destiny.”

“I

just could not get off tonight. I don’t know why,” a still stunned and

disappointed Pavlik stated. “He didn’t fight like he was old. He fought

good and gave me a lesson…I felt like a sub-novice fighter tonight.”

We’re all, myself included, going to learn to never underestimate Bernard Hopkins.

As for

the Executioner, he’ll remain a viable option for the winner of

Jones-Calzaghe next month. And since Hopkins knows “styles make

fights,” he’ll likely pass on facing Chad Dawson, whom he wouldn’t hold

a speed advantage over and is much more dynamic offensively than the

current middleweight champ. Still, Hopkins many take his chances and

relish the opportunity to take another highly touted, undefeated young

gun to school.

For

Kelly Pavlik, he can return to the middleweight division and seek to

repair his image by facing mandatory challenger Marco Antonio Rubio

(who scored a split decision win over Enrique Ornelas on the

undercard), or test fate by immediately going after hard-punching

Arthur Abraham.

Either

way Pavlik has exciting options, and now realizes at this time he has

no business fighting above 160 pounds. Hopefully as Hopkins advised,

Kelly will use this fight to focus on developing better defense and

lateral movement.

The win lifts Bernard Hopkins’ record to 49-5-1, 32 KOs, while Kelly Pavlik falls to 34-1, 30 KOs.

Zab Judah To Fight on Jones-Calzaghe Undercard, Preps Return to 140

Former

welterweight champion Zab Judah has confirmed that he’ll be a part of

the Jones-Calzaghe undercard in a catchweight bout (144 pounds).

Judah is currently preparing his body to slim back down to 140 pounds, but did not want to rush the effort.

“I’m

working on my weight,” Judah explained to espn.com. “I started at 140

and mentally I know that is where I should be. I’m planning to go back

there and dominate. I stay ready. I’ll be ready. I’m just here to show

my fans I am still dominant and I can put on good fights and give great

entertainment.”

At press time, Judah’s likely tune-up opponent will be Ernest “Too Slick” Johnson (18-2-1, 7 KOs).

If

Judah wins impressively, he would become a lucrative and fan-friendly

option for junior welterweight fighters Ricky Hatton, Paulie

Malignaggi, and Kendall Holt.

Lucian Bute Defends IBF Super-Middleweight Title Against Librado Andrade

This

Friday (October 24), Showtime will televise an exciting matchup between

undefeated IBF champ Lucian Bute (22-0, 18 KOs) and iron-chinned

brawler Librado Andrade (27-1, 21 KOs).

Bute

will be facing his stiffest test to date, and is aware that he may have

to switch tactics if Andrade shakes off his normally concussive punches.

“I

know he is a tough fighter,” Bute explains. “But I’m just as tough as

he is. I’ve never lost a fight, let alone been knocked out. I’d love to

knock him out, but a victory is a victory. As long as I walk out of

that ring still a champion I’m happy.”

Bute

is more skilled then Andrade, and that should see him through this

bout. But it remains to be seen if the Canadian KO artist will be able

to stand up to Andrade’s relentless pressure once Andrade walks through

his punches.

If you have Showtime, don’t miss this one.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: “Smokin’” Joe Frazier

While

Bernard Hopkins is proudly carrying on the Philly fighter mantra, no

one defines that tradition more than former heavyweight champion Joe

Frazier.

Turning pro in 1965 after an Olympic gold medal run, Frazier quickly sliced through the heavyweight ranks.

By

1966, Frazier began to known on the national scene after rising from

the canvas twice to gut out a tough decision over Oscar Bonavena, and a

vicious TKO of George Chuvalo. The latter featured the bout being

stopped after Frazier’s punches dislodged Chuvalo’s eye socket.

Frazier continued his winning ways and finally gained recognition as the undisputed world champion in 1970 after a 5th round knockout of Jimmy Ellis.

Still,

Frazier had not won his title from the former champion, as Muhammad Ali

was stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing to enlist for the

Vietnam War.

After

destroying light-heavyweight champion Bob Foster in two rounds, Frazier

met Muhammad Ali in 1971 in the most anticipated bout in boxing

history, “The Fight of the Century.”

Taking

massive combinations and punishment in the early rounds, Frazier

continued pressuring Ali and took over the second half of the bout.

Powered by his bob and weave, low crouch and snapping left hook,

Frazier had Ali out on his feet in the 11th and scored a decisive 15th round knockdown to seal the decision.

The

fight was not without its price, as Frazier remained hospitalized for

weeks after the fight and never regained his pre-FOTC form.

After

two pedestrian title defenses in 1972, Frazier was brutally crushed by

George Foreman in 2 rounds, hitting the mat 6 times in the process.

He

fared better in the long awaited rematch with Ali in 1974, but

ultimately lost a close decision due to Ali’s controversial tactic of

holding Frazier behind the head to prevent him from landing the left

hook.

Frazier

bounced back with strong rematch KOs of Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis,

but once again fell short when faced with his hated nemesis Muhammad

Ali.

In

what is widely considered the greatest heavyweight fight of all time,

Ali barely escaped the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” with a 14th

round TKO when Frazier’s corner stopped the bout. Ali to this day

claims he would have quit if Frazier came out for another round, and

states it was the “closest I’ve ever felt to death.”

Completely spent as an elite fighter, Frazier was again bludgeoned by George Foreman in their 1976 rematch, losing by 5th round TKO.

After attempting a comeback in 1981 which resulted in draw, Frazier retired for good.

A first ballot Hall of Famer, Frazier made 7 title defenses and is the only man to hold a win over a near prime Muhammad Ali.

Joe Frazier’s final record stands at 32-4-1, 27 KOs.

               

Highlights

Quarry II

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