Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hall of Famer on achievement, not performance

With a slow weekend of high profile MMA, my focus this week turns to boxing; where last night 47 year old Bernard Hopkins lost his light-heavyweight (175 lbs.) title to Chad Dawson over a typical Hopkins styled 12 rounds. I say typical because as great and legendary as Hopkins is and has been, he's a future hall of famer solely on achievement, not performance.

There may be some boxing fans or even purists who will say I'm talking blasphemy here, but before you go chastising me, please read on. Also, it should be noted that being from the Lehigh Valley, which is located an hour north from the City of Brotherly Love, I've always been a Hopkins (pictured above) fan. However, at this point in the game, it's time for B-Hop to B-Stopped.

Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO's) style, though effective, has never been aesthetically pleasing. He's never possessed one-punch knockout power and he's not a beautifully gifted boxer with natural talent. What has made him so great for so long are two things. One is his discipline to stay focused on his diet, even when he was not training, and to always work hard when it came to training. The second was his cerebral approach to the game and to be willing to do whatever it took to win; even if it meant fighting dirty.

One thing Hopkins is not is a sucker. Growing up in North Philly and having spent nearly ten years in prison schooled him on how to con and not be conned. For nearly 25 years, he's used and brought those street smarts into the ring and used every trick there is, dirty or not, to his advantage. In MMA, they coined the phrase "Dirty Boxing" to describe former ageless wonder himself Randy Couture's style of fighting. Well in Hopkins, you're looking at the master.

However, just like Couture's run eventually had to succumb to younger greater talent, it finally appears that so too has Hopkins's. Last night, even with all the tactics he pulled from his bag of tricks, it just wasn't enough to overcome the much younger and talented challenger. It wasn't for lack of trying though; over 12 rounds he grabbed and hooked Dawson's arms, used his shoulder and head as weapons and even started to get under Dawson's skin for a couple of rounds. In the end though, it wasn't enough.

So now we are left with 'Sad' Chad Dawson and that is not a misprint or error. I said 'Sad', not ''Bad' because he's far from it. After the fight, to his credit, he said he'd like to fight super middleweight (168 lbs.) champ Andre Ward either at 168, 175 or a catch weight. Dawson is good, but he's not Ward good. Unlike Hopkins, Ward is a beautifully gifted boxer who will run circles around Dawson. I hope it happens though because Ward deserves a high profile fight and so does the light-heavyweight division.

As for Hopkins, he stormed out of the ring last night refusing to be interviewed as his claim was he was robbed in the decision. Like I said, typical Hopkins who will probably play mental games with you till the day he dies. Will he fight again, I doubt it; though he may want to fight some nobody so he can win and go out on a high note. He's a former two-division champion, a living legend and future hall of famer; but that last one will solely be on achievement, not performance.  

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