By Lee Payton
Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com
Bernard Hopkins will try to add the World Cruiserweight Title to a personal collection that already includes undisputed gold at middleweight and light heavyweight, when he challenges champion, Tomasz Adamek of Poland. The deal is not 100% done, but there is an agreement to fight, probably in July.
Hopkins has already had an amazing career that is sure to get him an invite to Canastota, NY, as soon as he is eligible, so why fight at his age? Why not? He is still one of the very best in the world, and his skills tend to keep him from absorbing the kind of damage that most old guys take if they stick around long enough. In fact, he's so defensively sound that after 12 rounds, you're usually left struggling to remember him taking a clean shot.
He's a one of a kind fighter who is trying to do something special; be the only fighter in history to win undisputed titles from 160 to 200 lbs. That bit of history would look great engraved into his Hall Of Fame plaque.
Should the stubborn old geezer prevail in his bid for a third World Championship, he will have beaten Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver and Adamek to get there. Not bad, but there's room to nitpick.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. They have to fight the fight. And while I believe Bernard will just pull out the plan he used to embarrass Kelly Pavlik, the rugged Pole has demonstrated a refusal to surrender that will keep him in the fight for as long as it lasts.
Tomasz Adamek is a proven tough guy, who can't be in a bad fight. As a title holder at 175, he gutted out 2 bruising decisions over hard Aussie, Paul Briggs, and dropped the classy Chad Dawson in a losing cause. I couldn't possibly do justice to his incredible title-winning victory over Philadelphian, Steve Cunningham in one of 2008's very best fights. If you have seen it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't... find a copy!
The champ brings his own set of advantages to the dance, of course. The most obvious being size, strength and brutal power, especially in his brick of a right hand. It's a fight-changing punch delivered with impressive accuracy and speed from a short distance. In many of his highlight reel moments, a blow that travels a mere 6 inches does the damage. It will certainly be the hardest blow the Hopkins has ever tasted.
Assuming Adamek can land one.
In most cases bigger, stronger, more powerful, with a sturdy beard is more than enough, but in Hopkins, he's facing a tactician who has made a career out of taking away the other guy's favourite weapon. I see Tomasz doing a lot more searching than punching in this one.
Is it just me or is it crazy that the former Middleweight Champion is considered by most to be a virtual lock to beat the best 200 lber in the world... at 43. Some fighter.
While you're here...
Golden Boy Promotions' "Lightweight Lightning" is looking like a very attractive fight card, even without La Hiena, Jorge Barrios. I've had a soft spot for Jesus Chavez for years now. Remember when he fought Erik Morales for about 10 rounds with just his left arm?! If anyone deserves a break, it's him, but I don't think Michael Katsidis will have much sympathy.
I know the winner of the Sam Peter-Eddie Chambers fight will probably receive a high ranking by one of the sanctioning organizations, but I have to question this decision by Peter's management team. Surely they could have found an easier target. I mean, what's the point of having a big punching heavyweight if you don't get him someone he can hit?
Word is everyone's favourite TV fighter, John Ruiz, is in line for another shot. The WBA loves this guy. Over the last 10 years (!) he's either held their belt, been the #1 contender for their belt, or fought in an eliminator for their belt. It hurts me that Evander Holyfield is being sucked into the black hole that is their rankings. Spare me The Real Deal vs. Drummond/Chagaev/Ruiz IV.
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Monday, March 16, 2009
By Lee Payton