You’ve got to give Bernard Hopkins credit. A lot of fighters in the twilight of
their careers would opt for a “safe fight” as they say farewell to the Sweet
Science. To me, this practice is similar to the scene in “The Gladiator” where
Juaquin Phoenix stabs Russell Crowe in his kidney to ensure victory in their
upcoming battle (in which he lost by the way, but that’s beside the point).
Hopkins’ self proclaimed farewell fight
will not be against a “has been” or “never was” (or someone with a hole in their
kidney), but against the reigning light heavyweight champion of the world,
Tarver, if nothing else, is a great
natural athlete who’s always in superb condition, & has the all around fighting
skills that could keep him champion for the foreseeable future – that is, until
the next “phenom” comes along and exploits his mediocrity*.
*My definition of mediocrity as it
pertains to Tarver is this: His skills are above average across the board (i.e.
good chin, good hand-speed, good technique, good power, good manners, etc.). But
to be a “phenom” in the sport of boxing, you need a couple of “greats” in there
I could almost reuse the previous two
paragraphs as an overview of Bernard Hopkins. ALMOST. His longevity is
remarkable, but other than that, it would be hard to find more than a handful of
fight fans that would rank him amongst the all-time great middleweights.
At this point in the article, you should
have begun to get the impression that there are a lot of similarities between
the 2 fighters. Both are really good at all aspects of boxing, but not great at
any of them. Both have had big wins against legendary names. Both are considered
legitimate, top-notched professionals. Add all of this up, and you begin to see
that this will probably be, you guessed it, a GOOD fight.
I think it’s important to get a proper
perspective on a few important issues:
1. Yes, Tarver brutally knocked out the
legendary Roy Jones Jr. But let’s not forget, Jones was a fighter whose vastly
superior natural reflexes allowed him to fight with an extremely unorthodox,
flashy style. As logic clearly dictated, when those superior reflexes
deteriorated into merely mortal, he was decimated by a straight left. My point?
Probably any top 20 fighter would have knocked out Jones that evening, it just
happened to be Tarver
2. As in life, boxing is filled with its’
fair share of irony. Hopkins gleefully excepted big fights with both Oscar De La
Hoya & Felix Trinidad (2 of his more notable opponents), knowing full well that
his superior size and natural middleweight body would give him a tremendous
advantage over the smaller, but arguably more famous, opponents (he knocked them
both out). Tarver ain’t no welterweight (pardon the poor grammar). Hopkins is
stepping into the ring against a younger, bigger & stronger opponent for the
first time in his career. A fact, in my opinion, that will ultimately decide the
My advice to Bernard, sneak into Tarver’s locker room before the fight and stab
him in the kidney.
Law Gardner Predicts: Tarver wins by majority decision.
Brian Ethridge Predicts: Hopkins is just to old, Tarver wins
by late round TKO