I have to admit, HBO's always well produced Countdown show got me more intrigued about this fight.
Still not buying it though.
I have to admit, HBO's always well produced Countdown show got me more intrigued about this fight.
Still not buying it though.
BTW, I know back in May I was picking Hops, but the more I thought about what Tarver's lifestyle had turned into, it seems more like Tarver was ripe low hanging fruit than Hops turning around his basic style or finding new life.
So, Wright has the better style and youth advantages and I don't think Hops is much stronger.
You hit the nail on the head. HBO does almost perfect Countdown/hype shows.Originally Posted by hagler04
In reality, boxing doesn't need Bernard Hopkins. Bernard Hopkins needs boxing.
Not that I know of..Originally Posted by DscribeDC
But Saturday and this fight hasn't happened yet.
this one spells STINKER. no way i pay.
Decent card but $49.95? I figured it would be a little lower.
This fight will be like The Mama's & The Papa's following Hendrix & The Who at The Monterey Pop Festival. We've had some uplifting fights with Williams - Margarito & Cotto - Judah, not to mention Pavlik - Miranda.Originally Posted by gregbeyer
Now comes the letdown.
Does anyone really think Wright has a chance? I don't. A one sided boring fight. No knock downs, no knock out, no nothing. Not worth the money.
I really don't like the fact he's fighting at 170 but I'm leaning towards Wright honestly. I don't think BHop will be active enough to make Winky look bad. The last time BHop saw a jab even somewhat close was Taylor & we know how well he did in that fight. I think Winky will only offset his gameplan more. This is not a listless Tarver with a jab thrown when he feels like it. Wright will come forward all night and force BHop to fight outside of his comfort zone. The Tarver he faced was tailor made for him that night & that will not be Winky in any shape or form.
B-Hop Aging Like Fine Wine
By Bernard Fernandez from Max Boxing
Nature or nurture? Tastes great or less filling? Is it live or is it Memorex?
There are many possible answers why some elite athletes can not only survive into their 40s, but prosper. It can be as simple as an accident of birth. It can be as complex as scientific treatises on the human body and what it is capable of performing under extreme duress. It can be some combination of innate talent, good genes and a high pain threshold.
Sometime in the distant future, when Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins succumbs to his final opponent, death, it’s a pretty safe bet that scholarly researchers in the field of physiology will want to examine the cadaver to determine just what it was, exactly, that made him such an anomaly.
Even the 42-year-old Hopkins – rated the sixth-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world in the current edition of The Ring magazine – is curious as to what has kept him going so long at such a high level of productivity. It can’t all be because he claims to have gone 20 years without eating a cookie or a doughnut, although, if true, that probably qualifies him for a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records, or maybe Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
“I’m seriously thinking about taking a test on my DNA,” said Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs), who puts his Ring light heavyweight championship belt on the line against Winky Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) tomorrow night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. “In the course of Bernard Hopkins being born, something slipped inside my system that helped me to get to where I’m at.
“When you’re young, you eat the bad foods, the candy bars and stuff like that. But I think it comes all the way back to genetics, and taking care of yourself. You have to understand the physical part of the sport to be able to give yourself your best chance to win. That means training hard and living right.”
There is a school of thought, evidently subscribed to by Wright, that Hopkins’ lengthy run as one of the best fighters on the planet must be nearing an end because, well, his birth certificate mandates it. Calendars don’t lie, even if aging fighters reflexively attempt to shield themselves from certain harsh truths. Sure, Hopkins might have the body of a 25-year-old – an extremely fit 25-year-old – but nobody goes on forever, particularly in a sport where some practicioners (like, say, fellow Philadelphians Meldrick Taylor and David Reid) find themselves on the downsides of their careers while still in their 20s.
When Wright – no spring chicken himself at 35 -- looks at B-Hop, he sees what a lot of doubters see: an old man who should have stayed retired after he trounced Antonio Tarver in his “farewell” bout of June 10, 2006.
“You ain’t never seen Bernard’s face all swole up – yet. You ain’t never see Bernard beat up – yet,” Wright said. “But on July 21, it’s going to happen.
“Maybe he should have stayed retired. After this fight, he’s going to know he should have stayed retired.”
Or maybe Hopkins will continue to roll on, like the mighty Mississippi, accepting and winning high-profile fights into his mid-40s because, by dint of his unmatched work ethic and some rare and mysterious gift other fighters don’t receive, he is as resistant to the laws of diminishing returns as it ever gets in boxing.
Given what he has been and very well still might be even at his advanced age, it wouldn’t be a shock if Hopkins were to go down in history as the most accomplished boxer ever to step inside the ropes beyond his 40th birthday.
The incomparable Sugar Ray Robinson? Yes, Robinson soldiered on until he was 44, but he captured the last of his astounding six middleweight championships, on a split decision over Carmen Basilio in 1958, when the most superb fighting machine that ever drew breath was a relatively spry 37. For the last seven years of his career the original and best Sugar Ray mostly was a mere shadow of his former self, only occasionally capable of summoning flashes of the old magic.
Archie Moore? No doubt, the “Old Mongoose” – who was 49 at the time of his retirement from boxing in 1963 -- was a rare breed, winning or defending the light heavyweight title nine times while in his 40s. But even Moore’s familiar luminescence was flickering badly in the latter stages of his career.
George Foreman? Hey, Foreman’s second reign as heavyweight champion came at the improbable age of 45, when he dispatched Michael Moorer with a single, crushing overhand right in 1994, but then punching power is the last attribute any fighter yields to the ravages of time. Besides, Big George – who claimed to be on a “See Food” diet (he ate everything he saw) – was hardly anorexic in his dining habits. During his comeback following a 10-year retirement from boxing, the George Foreman we all came to know and love might not have been able to go 20 minutes without a doughnut, much less 20 years.
So perhaps the fortysomethings against whom Hopkins is most accurately gauged are not other fighters, but golden oldies in different sports such as pitchers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens and wide receiver Jerry Rice.
In one of those Top 20 lists that are such a staple of ESPN Classic’s programming, the sixth and seventh no-hitters thrown by Ryan – a power pitcher for all of his 27 major league seasons – while in his 40s took the top spot. Roger Clemens going 18-4 with a 2.98 earned run average and winning his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004, at 42, was No. 2, and Rice catching 92 passes for 1,211 yards and being named to his 13th Pro Bowl in 2002, at 40, was No. 5.
The only boxing feat to earn a mention was Foreman’s whacking of Moorer, at No. 3. Hopkins’ total domination of Tarver, then widely recognized as the premier light heavyweight, presumably would have drawn an honorable mention, had there been such a thing.
Hopkins doesn’t mind being compared to standouts in other sports – he is an admirer of Rice, another renowned workout warrior – but he said the role model he patterned himself after is a similarly special middleweight with six-pack abs and a dedication to conditioning that bordered on the fanatical.
“Early in my career, I made the decision to never do anything that would prevent me from giving myself my best chance to win,” said Hopkins, who for five weeks trained at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles with new chief second Freddie Roach. “That’s a real powerful statement. I got up at 4:30 a.m. – on my own, with no alarm clock -- to run those (southern California) hills. That is the profound discipline I have followed over the last 15 or 20 years.
“I love Jerry Rice, but the guy whose book I took a page out of was the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He always came in great shape and he never had an excuse. Nobody ever expected him to NOT come in shape.
“Hagler was the most disciplined fighter of his era. I remember watching Marvin Hagler against a young, strong guy like John `The Beast’ Mugabi. They went at it for 11 hard rounds, but it was conditioning, experience and who wanted it the most that won that fight for Hagler. He’s the one I took my work habits from.”
Whatever the inspiration, Hopkins’ work habits are exemplary to the point of taking on an air of historical perspective. Two of the most respected leaders in the once-revolutionary field of sports medicine, Mackie Shilstone and Pat Croce, consider Hopkins a leading example of what can happen when a freakish physical capacity – a glitch, Shilstone calls it – combines with a driving desire to excel.
“I’ve dealt with 3,000 world-class athletes,” said Shilstone, the New Orleans-based conditioning guru whose list of boxing clients has included Michael Spinks, Roy Jones Jr. and Hopkins, whom he helped gain weight the proper way for bouts in higher weight classes, and heavyweight Riddick Bowe, whom he helped to take excess weight off. “Probably Roy Jones had the best innate skill set. (Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop) Ozzie Smith had the best reactions. And Bernard Hopkins, without question, has the greatest discipline. Bernard Hopkins can outcondition anyone.”
So is Hopkins one of those so-called “freaks of nature” that you sometimes hear about? Someone who emerged from the gene pool dripping with physical advantages?
“I wouldn’t exactly call it that,” said Shilstone, who helped Hopkins bulk up for the Tarver fight but declined an offer to be involved in the preparations for Wright because, he said, the matchup did not excite him. “But Bernard has a gift. Some would call it a glitch in his physical makeup. I’ve read research studies on (soccer’s) Mia Hamm and (cycling’s) Lance Armstrong. They had physiological glitches, if you will. That kind of glitch does exist. I know it. I can see it.
“But even elite athletes can fail to nurture that gift. It can go out the window if you don’t work at it.”
The relentlessly upbeat Croce is perhaps best known as being a former minority owner and team president of the Philadelphia 76ers during their run to the NBA Finals in the 2000-01 season. But he made his fortune as the perpetual motion machine behind Sports Physical Therapists, which he founded in 1984, expanded into a chain of 40 fitness centers and sold in 1993 for $40 million.
Unlike Shilstone, whom he lauds as another “pioneer” in the field of sports medicine, Croce said there is such a thing as a freak of nature.
“Look at Allen Iverson,” he said of the longtime Sixers superstar (now with the Denver Nuggets) whose disdain for practice nearly matched the boundless energy he always brought to game night. “He’s a prime example. He really is a physical freak. For 11 years he’s been a great basketball player and at no time did he ever do much in the way of conditioning.
“On the other hand, you have guys like Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan. Jordan used to have something called the `Breakfast Club.’ Every morning he and other athletes would work out to the point where everyone else was utterly exhausted, but Jordan could still go on.
“Usually, (great athletes) are the product of genetics and conditioning. I always used to tell Allen, `You have no idea how great you could be if you physically prepared the way you need to.’”
Croce said the three best-conditioned athletes with whom he worked -- Mike Schmidt, Julius Erving and Bobby Clarke – are Philly legends for a reason. All are in their respective sport’s Hall of Fame.
“Mike Schmidt trained so hard that when he got the 1980 MVP he thanked me as one of the people who helped take him to that level,” Croce recalled. “He didn’t know what his body could tolerate until he pushed it beyond the normal boundaries of baseball.
“Dr. J would train extremely hard. Bobby Clarke, too. All three of those guys were willing to pay the price for greatness. It’s not just how much time you devote to practicing your sport. They also put the time in with me.
“Some of the stuff I did I took from the Russians because they were kicking the United States’ ass (in international competitions) at the time. They were so far advanced in things like biometrics, diet, nutrition and rest/work intervals. We weren’t doing any of that here. But now science has become a part of general training principles.”
And his thoughts on Bernard Hopkins?
“I don’t know him, but I wish I did because I’m a big fan of his,” Croce said. “Not just because he’s from Philly and he’s a stone-cold killer, but because I love the way he trains.”
Even Croce, who keeps tabs on premier athletes with gonzo training regimens, hadn’t heard of Hopkins’ two-decade no-doughnut and no-cookie fast. (B-Hop now admits to having had a dessert or two during his monitored climb from middleweight to light heavyweight.)
“Oh, my goodness,” Croce said. “You want to talk about mental fortitude and discipline? Come on. Who can compete with that? That’s amazing.
“But that gets back to what I’m talking about. Guys like Hopkins, you have to marvel at their cardiovascular capacity. It’s also their mental capacity. The best of the best push themselves to an anerobic threshold. There’s a level at which your body produces lactic acid. You begin to feel nauseous, which is when you see people give up.
“For truly elite athletes, though, three things happen. They train in such a way that the lactic acid builds up more slowly. They tolerate lactic acid longer and they dissipate lactic acid more quickly. As they result, they rebound faster and they can tolerate pain better. They’re able to perform at high levels of intense activity for longer periods of time.”
This sort of stuff can fill books, and it has. Not that Hopkins needs to read about all the equations and the formulas that go into explaining why he is what he is. He does what he feels he has to do every day and that’s that. The rest is just details.
“If you can do it with pride and do it with dignity, if you can do it without embarrassing yourself, your family and your sport, fight on, fight on, fight on,” he said of an extended prime he gauges can last another three years.
“Not everyone has that luxury. I’m blessed, man. I’m unique, I’m rare and I’m special.”
Hopkins and Wright - Hitting you with Science
By David A. Avila from Sweet Science
Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright could easily be professors of physics instead of two of the most scientific boxers in the last 15 years.
But geography plays a big part in a man’s future whether it’s the cushy well-manicured lawns of Bel Air or the steamy sewers of Washington D.C. Where a person grows up can have a big impact.
Hopkins barely escaped the hard streets of Philadelphia including stints in juvenile detention centers and ultimately state prison.
Wright found himself in St. Petersburg, Florida where the only recreational outlet was a local boxing gym around the corner.
Now after years of exhibiting technical fighting skills with few peers, Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) and Hopkins meet for the Ring Magazine light heavyweight title at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Saturday July 21. The contest will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
Hopkins doesn’t feel Wright is on equal footing with himself.
“Winky Wright used to be a boxer. Winky Wright used to move from side to side, box you, box you, box you,” said Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) during a telephone press conference. “In the last say, five plus years or whatever, Winky Wright has adopted a (standup) style because of his balance, which is terrible.”
On two occasions Hopkins, 42, almost retired, but after dismantling former light heavyweight titleholder Antonio Tarver a year ago he decided he had too much left physically to simply stop boxing.
A fastidious athlete who does not eat junk food, party or let his weight fluctuate, Hopkins looked around for challenges and found Wright who many boxing fans feel is the most scientifically accomplished in the sport.
Hopkins scoffs at those assessments.
“Two people in boxing have the worse balance and the worse stance in boxing where they want to just hit you but not hurt you, and that’s why their knockout rates are so low, that is Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright,” professes Hopkins. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at Winky and see what he does.”
For the last month Hopkins has been training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood under the tutelage of Freddie Roach. One other trainer is also helping and that’s former foe John David Jackson who fought from a southpaw stance like Wright.
A slew of southpaw sparring partners have been giving Hopkins round after round of punches coming from a left-hander. The Philadelphia fighter is quite confident that he’ll be able to figure out Wright’s left-handed style that twice confused Shane Mosley, befuddled Felix Trinidad and dominated Ike Quartey.
“He’s not the slickest southpaw that I’ve fought, I fought many of them. I think I got nine knockouts out of 10,” says Hopkins of his next opponent Wright. “I’ve got one of the slickest southpaws ever in my camp. He’s (Jackson) my second trainer.”
Hopkins beat his trainer Jackson 10 years ago winning by TKO in the seventh round.
Florida’s Wright has emerged from the dog pile of talented but obscured fighters whose style proves too puzzling for elite fighters to untangle. Now the former junior middleweight champion wants to prove his mettle against another defensive specialist much like himself.
“If I beat all the best fighters around my weight class then you can’t say nothing but I’m the best fighter of my own era,” says Wright, 35, who claims his true fighting weight remains 154 pounds and he is jumping up to the 175-pound limit for this fight only. “I feel I earned my place in boxing history.”
Fighting as a southpaw, Wright’s right hand is his true power hand, not his left, and he uses it to ram his jab to the face of his opponents and rattle their thinking processes. Mosley faced that jab two times and made a big adjustment in the second fight but came out a little behind.
“His jab hits you high on the forehead,” said Mosley.
The last four opponents have found Wright more stationary than usual including middleweight champion Jermain Taylor who barely kept his title when they fought last year. Instead of boxing and moving Wright simply bored into his opponents behind that stiff pumping jab.
“I just want to change it up and be more forward and an inside fighter so fans can be more excited,” said Wright adding that the television networks told him his former style was unexciting. “It (his new style) has enabled me to get closer and hit them to the body.”
A battle between two pure scientific fighters is expected. Something akin to Albert Einstein pitting his brain against Enrico Fermi in a battle of big brains.
Hopkins scoffs at any comparison with Wright.
“Winky Wright has the ability to absorb a lot of punishment,” Hopkins insists. “I will never stop punching. His face will change from round one, to round two, to round three, to whenever his corner and the referee feels he’s had enough.”
Wright claims he’s heard it all before but one thing keeps him motivated for this and every subsequent fight in the future: “It’s definitely important for me to be in the Hall of Fame.”
The winner of this fight can definitely claim a spot on that geographic location.
Two other interesting fight cards will also be on display on the July 21st fight card including Australia’s hard-hitting Michael Katsidis facing Filipino Czar Amonsot in a lightweight bout for the WBO interim title.
Another feature bout showcases former world champion Oscar Larios meeting Venezuela’s young bomber Jorge Linares in a featherweight contest for the interim WBC title.
Also on the fight card will be Demetrius Hopkins, Librado Andrade and Rock Allen. It’s a pretty talented bunch of fighters on display.
Andrade meets New York veteran Ross Thompson in a super middleweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds.
“I know he’s experienced and a good fighter,” said Andrade moments before leaving the La Habra Boxing Club for Las Vegas on Wednesday. “It’s a good fight for me and it’s on television.”
Hopkins-Wright: Their Fight, Words and Legacies
By Cliff Rold
Perception is not always reality.
In an excellent match-up, current Ring Magazine light heavyweight titlist and former middleweight emperor Bernard Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KO) of Philadelphia knows it. So too does his opponent this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, former World jr. middleweight king Ronald “Winky” Wright (51-3-1, 25 KO, #1 contender at middleweight) of St. Petersburg, Florida.
They know because, heading into this pay-per-view showdown, they are confronted by a sizable base of fans and pundits who don’t think much of their pending contest. Skeptics look at their age and technical competence, coming away with a single expectation: boredom. It’s the first time I can recall where two of the sports universally recognized best fighters facing off for the first time has met with negative reactions. It’s a bizarre mixed signal. In a sport criticized, falsely, for not presenting enough top tier matches, a top-tier match is being criticized.
HBO boxing head Kery Davis isn’t among the skeptics. I asked him about the criticism of the fight. “I don’t think anyone can prognosticate what is going to happen when two elite fighters get into the ring. This is a fight where two of the top five or six fighters in the world are fighting each other. That’s enough to sell it. What you want is the best fighting the best and let’s see who wins the competition. Every fight doesn’t have to be Ward-Gatti. I have no idea who’s going to win the fight. I watch fights like (Wright-Hopkins) because I want to see who wins.”
Each man can take solace that perceptions of them individually, if not as a duet, in July 2007 are pretty strong. Look around from Ring to ESPN to here at Boxing Scene and you’ll find both anywhere from top five to seven in the mythical pound-for-pound ratings. It’s a remarkable feat considering the age of each man. Hopkins is 42; Wright is just shy of 36. An observer with little knowledge of the past would look at such a thing and reasonably assume that each must have been perceived even greater a decade ago.
They’d be wrong.
Almost exactly ten years ago, on July 20, 1997, Hopkins was 32-2-1 and facing an undefeated Glenn Johnson on CBS in the fifth defense of his IBF 160 lb. strap. Seen as the best of a weak middleweight field, Hopkins was the leading contender for a then five-year's vacant lineal crown. He tortured the future light heavyweight titlist Johnson in front of that national audience, winning every round before scoring a stoppage in the 11th round. Review of the tape leaves one to ponder if it was Hopkins first truly great performance.
Hopkins was faster then, throwing more, throwing harder, all while showing the defensive prowess that allows his aged bones to still carve away at more youthful flesh today. In short, ten years ago Hopkins was even better than he is today. To the public though, he was just another good fighter with a loss to Roy Jones.
Wright was also a titlist then. 1997 was not a banner year; it wasn’t a bad one either. He made the second and third defenses of the WBO’s 154 lb. title, one against an undefeated Steve Dodson, both away from the eyes of the U.S. public. Those were Wright’s nomad days, a period when, from 1993 to 1998, he fought almost exclusively overseas. England, France, Germany, Argentina, South Africa. He finished 1997 with a career mark of 38-1.
Wright, like Hopkins, was physically better in those days. He hadn’t perfected his game yet, he was not as refined, but he was faster, his shots had a tad more snap, his legs allowed him to trade inside longer. Alas the best wins on his record were Tony Marshall, Andrew Council and Bronco McKart; only McKart was considered to be a top ten foe. He was only three years removed from a disastrous five-knockdown loss to then still-reigning WBA titlist Julio Cesar Vasquez.
In short, he wasn’t Winky Wright yet, at least not as the world sees him now. Using it as a reasonable gauge of the times, the December 1997 issue of Ring Magazine rated him the fourth best in his class, three spots behind lineal king and future Hall of Famer Terry Norris.
He was much farther behind in the same issues pound for pound ratings. That top ten featured, in order: Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Pernell Whitaker, Felix Trinidad, Ricardo Lopez, Junior Jones, Norris, Evander Holyfield, Johnny Tapia, and a Mark Johnson who moved in just ahead of the previous months ten man Ike Quartey. No Hopkins. No Wright. Yet Hopkins and Wright were better then, faster then, younger then…
Perception is not always reality.
Perceptions and realities change with time and opportunity. The boxing gods had not yet granted Hopkins and Wright their time or their biggest opportunities. So the boxing world went about its conjectures based on what they knew then, not knowing yet that one day rating De la Hoya, Trinidad, Junior Jones, Norris, Quartey or Tapia ahead of Hopkins and Wright would, historically, seem almost absurd.
It turns out that Hopkins and Wright were better than the ‘good’ fighters they were seen as a decade ago. They were great fighters undiscovered, the best of their generation in their respective domains. Hopkins would make twenty defenses of his IBF title, six of them for the true World title he claimed after defeating Trinidad, before his controversial losses to current champion Jermain Taylor in 2005.
Wright would suffer two narrow, controversial losses of his own in 1998 and 99, to Harry Simon and Fernando Vargas respectively, in lost classics. Rising from that adversity, Wright embarked on the defining run of his career.
Wright has gone 12-0-1 since the Vargas loss, to include a 2004 victory over Shane Mosley for the lineal World title at 154 lbs. as well as dominating victories over McKart (twice), former champion Keith Mullings, Trinidad in his first fight after vacating the jr. middle crown and Quartey. His only blemish on this run, the Taylor draw, was of the same vein as his last two losses. Narrow. Controversial.
Thus we arrive at this Saturday, a reckoning between the best junior middleweight of his time and the best middleweight of his time, officially at a catch weight of 170 lbs., and for a light heavyweight title. A conversation with Wright over the weekend indicated that he understands the stakes. “(Hopkins) ran the middleweight division for a long time and I took over the junior middleweight division and chased everybody away from it. It’s a great fight, just for the fans to see two fighters that know how to win, to see two warriors get in the ring with each other that didn’t have to. There were no mandatories or anything like that. We wanted to give the people the best fight out there.”
That brings me to more perceptions and the chance for new realities. If history stopped today, very few would argue that Wright has been a greater or even better fighter than Hopkins. He has twelve rounds to start that argument and that’s usually plenty of time. Wright seems ready for that chance. “Camp has been great. Preparation has been great. I’m definitely just looking forward to whooping on Bernard.”
Wright clearly hasn’t bought into the skepticism of some who are expecting a dull affair. “No matter what the press says, the fight’s gotta’ be a great fight. They always try to say Winky isn’t an exciting fighter but every time I fight it’s exciting and the fans love it…People have certain fighters they like and everyone else they’re down on.”
Wright has a point in that regard. Few if any of his fights are dull. Wright sits in the trenches and throws, his arms held in an awkward high guard, his jab pumping, waiting for openings. It’s a shell game that few have been able to crack.
Hopkins may be one of the few smart enough to do it. A master in the old school vein of the news reel legends, Hopkins best punch has always been the overhand right. The fighters who have had the most success against Wright are those who can pressure him, getting the right hand over and behind his guard. Vasquez, thirteen years ago, did it better than anyone though Winky held his hands much lower in those days. I asked Hopkins earlier this summer if he’d tracked down a copy of that relatively obscure tape and if he was thinking about the right hand as a Wright vulnerability.
“(Wright) is vulnerable to a lot of things and if you picked up something then I’ll look at that and make sure to add it to my reservoir. Thanks for the tip” Hopkins joked, letting me know that anything he needed to know had been seen and played out in his head dozens of times already. “I’m a master of solving difficult puzzles. I’ve been great at that. I’m a boxing student…there are a lot of vulnerable points that Winky will give you. He’s not running no where. He’s right there. It’s about picking the spots at the right time. It’s about tricking the turtle (an allusion to Wright’s defensive stance) into sticking his head out of the shell.”
Hopkins’ reference to himself as a student carries a heavy meaning. Both Wright and Hopkins are attuned to the deep, rich history of the sport. They each know that their fight will play a role in their legacies not only as key pieces in their time but for all time.
“I’m a boxing historic researcher.” Hopkins declared. “I look at the old fighters from yesterday. I am the Jersey Joe Walcott of this era, who won his title at 37 years old. I am the Gypsy Joe, the Ezzard Charles, those throwback fighters who fought way past forty and competed at a high level and they were most feared and most dangerous. We don’t have that anymore. That’s why a lot of writers and a lot of those who have followed me have always called me a throwback fighter.”
Hopkins knows that he has carved his niche, and in the grand tale of the middleweight division no less. Hopkins will one day retire and sit back to watch as historians debate and re-debate where he ranks with the greats at 160 lbs. Could Hopkins have defeated a Carlos Monzon or Marvin Hagler or Mickey Walker? Did his consistency and longevity earn him a top five ranking or was he ‘merely’ top ten? The only fighter of elite stature from near that class he hasn’t faced faces him now.
Jr. middleweight isn’t as rich in history but since its birth in 1963 the division has had its share of great champions. I asked Wright how he feels he rates with the great champions at 154 lbs., where he sees himself in comparison to a Nino Benvenuti, Tommy Hearns or Mike McCallum. “Oh man, those were great fighters. If anyone just mentions my name with those fighters, I’m honored. I don’t want to say I feel I’m better than any of those fighters.” Wright was gracious in stating that it was an honor, but he never denied that he belonged in such a conversation. Not too deep down, he must know he does.
Hopkins, with wins over Trinidad, De La Hoya, his middleweight title reign and his (“Easy,” Hopkins adamantly reminded me) light heavyweight title win over Tarver last year can claim victories over the top welterweights, middleweights of his time and the top light heavyweight of this decade. Of the five division span from welterweight to light heavyweight, the only notable foes he’s missed are Wright and current World super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe.
I asked Hopkins if, with a win against Wright, we could expect him to go after Calzaghe and lay some claim to having defeated all the top dogs from five different weight classes. “I think it would be very important, especially across five weight classes. I think it will be more historic when I knock Winky Wright out. Whether it’s a TKO or a KO, I think that would be a real feather in my cap. Let’s face it, no one can get more than four or five clean shots on Winky Wright…it’s like trying to find Bin Laden in the mountains.”
Wright has a different angle to work towards in contemporary history. He stands out as one of the very few top fighters in his weight range not to secure a bout with future Hall of Famer Oscar De la Hoya even though he has defeated in Trinidad and Mosley two of Oscar’s conquerors. Hopkins of course is another with a win over Oscar and I asked if beating Hopkins would be a win that locks Winky as having a Hall of Fame ledger.
“I feel beating all the dudes that beat him…Oscar’s going to the Hall of Fame, I’m definitely going to be in the Hall of Fame. I’d still love to fight De La Hoya because of his name and in this era, anyone who talks about boxing, they speak Oscar De la Hoya and I want Winky Wright’s name to be spoken in that same breath.” Wright also noted that this sojourn to light heavyweight is likely a one night affair and that fans are likely to see him return to middleweight after this bout.
Clearly, both Wright and Hopkins are fighters of great accomplishment and these great fighters both still have an A-game. Those are the parameters of a great sporting event and, with the addition of leather gloves, blood and sweat, the parameters of a great fight. Maybe the skeptics are right but these are men who have spent the last ten years proving that perception is not always reality and there’s no reason not to think they’ll prove it again Saturday night.
SHOCKER!: I had already submitted my weekly offering when news out of Japan surprised me as much as anything I’d heard in the last couple of years: as of Wednesday night, July 18, 2007, we have a new lineal World flyweight champion. In a rubber match no one who follows boxing closely even remotely took serious, Japan’s Daisuke Naito (31-2-2, 19 KO, #9, new WBC titlist) defeated the division’s record holder for title defenses, Thailand’s Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (65-3, 34 KO). The record (and, yes, padded) run stops at 17 successful defenses. Two of them had been against Naito and that’s where the shock kicks in.
This was supposed to be another WBC-mandated nightmare for fans; it was instead for the champion. The champion since 2001, Wonjongkam, allegedly came out lethargic and paid the price. I haven’t seen the tape yet but no hint of controversy has yet to be whispered. How shocking is this?
Their first bout, in April 2002, ended in 34 seconds of the first round on a single lightning left hook. It was the fastest KO ever in a flyweight title fight. Their second bout in October 2005 was a one-sided technical decision in the Thai king’s favor in a fight he was leading by scores of 68-62 on all cards at the time of an injury stoppage. Today’s result, in light of Wonjongkam’s camp finally talking unification bouts, is just out of left field for this scribe.
This is officially the year of the upset in this talented mini-mite minefield. Lorenzo Parra and Roberto Vasquez found themselves on the wrong side of bouts against Takefumi Sakata, a man both had already defeated; Parra twice over. Vic Darchinyan may still not know he got knocked out by Nonito Donaire. This though is the biggest shock of all.
And perhaps, for fans who follow the flies, the biggest opportunity yet.
Flyweight, as I have written in the past, is a division of talent tragically untested at its peak levels. Yet here we are, with a new world champion and top contender, Sakata, both from Japan. The two faced off years ago, scrapping to a ten-round draw and would make one hell of a rematch today. The former champion of course will want his rematch and that still doesn’t factor in Donaire or one of the sports biggest international stars, Japan’s Koki Kameda.
For the former king, this is both sad and fitting. Wonjongkam has had the talent of a fighter who deserves more but he, or perhaps more appropriately his management, went for business over bad-assery. That neglect, the parade of steady alphabelt mandatories…Wonjongkam may have just rotted on the vine. Maybe though, just maybe, this is the wake-up call his team needed to send him after the greatness the numbers of his long reign deserved. Ball’s in their court. I can’t wait to see the serve.
FOTY: A few days removed, it’s easy to ask where South Carolina’s Paul Williams (33-0, 24 KO, WBO titlist) sensational victory over Mexico’s Antonio Margarito (34-5, 24 KO) falls in Fight of the Year voting. To these eyes, it could possibly have moved to the head of the class over the flyweight rematch between Takefumi Sakata and Roberto Vasquez but there are many varied opinions. Maybe you like Jean Marc Mormeck World cruiserweight title victory over O’Neill Bell? Or Miguel Cotto-Zab Judah? Or Either Marquez brother’s career defining win? Oh, and then there’s Katsidis-Earl and Pavlik-Miranda?
The real point here is that fans of the sweet science are a lucky bunch in 2007. There still hasn’t been a legendary epic this year, but the pool of excellence is deep. There are some ten fights that all can be argued as the best of this earthly trip around the sun and the year has five months remaining. We haven’t even seen Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik or Joe Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler. Heck with the fights; 2007 is turning into one of the great action years, period, in boxing history.
So why Williams-Margarito for me to day (even if Sakata-Vasquez II again tomorrow)? There are a couple of factors, not the least of which is swings in momentum accompanied by wild spurts of violence. Williams took a solid early lead. Margarito gutted his way back into the fight. Williams then outgutted him in the final round. I had the fight 115-113, or 7 rounds to 5, for Williams as did two of the official judges. That makes it closer, and more competitive, than most any of the year’s best. That counts for a lot.
Aside from where it ranks in the year, let me commend both warriors. I wrote last week in picking Margarito that Williams hadn’t faced the tests yet to know what he brought to the table. Now we know. Margarito hadn’t lost at welterweight in a decade and Williams succeeded where six other top ten welterweights have failed in the last five years. Williams showed not just talent and skill but sheer will, an intangible that truly special fighters carry.
For Margarito, it was a tough loss but fans can salute his blue collar class in taking the fight. Margarito could have, astute business minded types might say should have, taken the route that so many have taken in regards to him. He could have side stepped Williams and gone straight to Miguel Cotto (30-0, 25 KO, and now a deserving #1 contender at welterweight). He didn’t. It cost him but rewarded fans and, according to some reports, may still result in a Cotto fight in the fall. If it does, so be it. That’s still a hell of a fight and Margarito has earned better than to be shuttled all the way down the ladder even if Williams-Cotto or Cotto-Shane Mosley might be more immediately tantalizing.
And let’s all hope Williams talents get him the opportunities he’s earned with this victory as well. His freakish size and speed are a tall order for anyone, ANYONE, at welterweight and it would be a shame if he, like Margarito for years, were made to wait in line for the big names behind Cosme Rivera’s and Miguel Angel Gonzalez’s.
For World welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather (38-0, 24 KO) this much was made clear: the division he reigns over has a new landmine to go with the slew the world already knew was there. History’s greatest weight class might be gearing up for another of its historic runs.
Paraphrasing the immortal words of Librado Andrade, we are all collectors of time and 2007 is a wonderful time for boxing fans.
Cliff’s Notes: The countdown is on. We are officially 107 days from witnessing the best fight in boxing, the World super middleweight title fight between Joe Calzaghe (42-0, 30 KO) and Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KO). As announced last week, negotiations had begun to make this fight part of my honeymoon and I am glad to announce that I have an exemplary fiancée. Now it’s an issue of semantics and budgets. In these notes every week from here to the fight, I’ll keep everyone posted on the navigating I’m making my way though to both get married and make the fight…
Only on HBO would a list of top welterweights, displayed after Margarito-Williams, remove Margarito due to a narrow competitive loss and replace him with a Kermit Cintron (28-1, 26 KO, IBF titlist) who still hasn’t beaten anything more than realistically fringe contenders since being obliterated in five rounds by Margarito in 2005. For those who wonder why Margarito defenders can be so passionate about the perceived slights against their guy, that’s a pretty good clue…
No Hopkins-Wright is not for the lineal World light heavyweight title, but Zsolt Erdei’s (27-0, 17 KO) lack of challenging fights recently in a pretty solid division make his historic distinction an embarrassing, idiosyncratic footnote…
Former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones (51-4, 38 KO) continued his comeback with a strong decision win over fringe super middleweight contender Anthony Hanshaw (21-0-1, 14 KO) last Saturday but one wonders what it means. Jones best hope to finally redeem his three losses in 2004 and 2005 is for Hopkins to beat Wright this weekend and have a taste for avenging his 1993 loss to Jones. Those two have had negotiations in the past that make the Cold War look docile so, really, where does Roy go from here?...
What does it say that 6’7, 25-year old Ukrainian heavyweight Alexander Dimitrenko (26-0, 16 KO), who defeated fringe foe Malcolm Tann (23-4, 12 KO) last Saturday in Germany, has defeated lesser foes than Russian prospect Alexander Povetkin (13-0, 11 KO) in twice as many fights? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. Time will tell but Dimitrenko is certainly a fighter worth keeping an eye on regardless…
Former Olympic medalists Amir Khan (13-0, 10 KO, a lightweight) of the UK and Andre Ward (13-0, 8 KO, a super middleweight) of Oakland, CA are both beginning to look like future champions. Ward faced some tough tests early in his career and looks to have learned from them. He was solid in the highlights seen of his Margarito-Williams undercard bout with Francisco Diaz (16-2, 8 KO) on HBO. Khan survived a huge scare overseas and off U.S. TV, rising from the deck Saturday in the sixth to stop rugged veteran Willie Limond (28-2, 8 KO) of Scotland in eight. Getting up off the floor is what future champions do and Khan, only 20-years old, might just be the goods…
For those still on the fence about ordering the Hopkins-Wright show, the undercard should put you over the top. Jorge Linares-Oscar Larios pits one of the best featherweight prospects in the game, Linares (23-0, 14 KO), against a rugged veteran and former titlist, Larios (59-5-1, 37 KO) who only a year ago went twelve hard with Manny Pacquiao. Then of course, there is WBO lightweight titlist Michael Katsidis (22-0, 20 KO). If you were lucky enough to see his brawl with Graham Earl earlier this year, knowing he is on the card is all one needs to know…
Finally, one last thank you to Arturo Gatti. He gave more of himself than any fan ever had a right to ask for and will be talked about as long as boxing elicits a reaction. Considering that it’s been getting a reaction since Homer’s Iliad, Gatti can rest assured he got himself a little piece of forever.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com
[Quote]I am the Gypsy Joe, the Ezzard Charles, those throwback fighters who fought way past forty and competed at a high level and they were most feared and most dangerous. [Quote]
Ol' man Hops better study up some more. Charles was done as an elite fighter by his early 30s. No shame since he was a brilliant fighter in his day in some epic wars, but Hops better be a better fighter than he is historion or it's gonna be WinkyWhoopTime.
Just watched the weigh in. Both look to be in fine shape, However, Hop rushed Winky & shoved him in the face with his whole hand & then started screaming like a maniac as they were separated & Hop was dragged off.
Hagler covered the scene on ESPN & called Hop classless.
It could have been the lighting but I seemed to see a small scratch or mouse beneath Winky's left eye. But like I said it could have been the lighting.
Hop can really be an A-hole like the time he stomped on the Puerto Rican flag. He''s not only a boring fighter he's a boor.
I'm sure he was just trying to hype the fight which is destined to tank PPV-wise.
Looking forward to seeing Hagler & DLH on ESPN tonight...maybe more so than Hop's fight.
Great article, Cliff. One thing you should know about the Wonjongkam-Naito fight. Wonjongkam first weighed in at 113.1 lbs and then had to sweat off the excess. He tried valiantly to come back, but gave away too many early rounds to the aggressive Naito who was literally fighting for his career. So, yes Wonjongkam was unfocused and ill-prepared for Naito, who had guaranteed retirement if he had lost for the 3rd time to Pongsaklek (and in the Japanese culture, that means he wouldn't have pulled a B-Hop).
I agree with the analysis on Hopkins-Wright and I like all the angles you covered, but disagree that Wright would be considered the better fighter if they retired today. Hopkins fought all the title defenses in which he barely lost rounds and fighters like Candelo, Hernandez, and others gave Winky tougher than expected fights. Hopkins's masterpiece win over Trinidad, considering the backdrop and hype equals Wright's two wins over Mosley (especially considering Shane didn't change for the better in the rematch). But the beauty of this is that this fight, with both fighters at relative primes but at the tail-end of their careers, will answer the question.
Hopkins-Wright will be not just a good, but a great fight for those that are fans of the sweet science of boxing. No, they won't wildly brawl or anything like that, but for any longtime boxing fan that can wax poetic about the beauty of an Archie Moore-Harold Johnson matchup, or Pernell Whitaker-Benny Leonard in a fantasy matchup, those fans will love this fight. While$49.95 might be a stiff price to pay for a chess match, this is the kind of matchup that years later boxing historians like all those on this board will be glad it took place.
This fight will be a stinker.
Save your money.
I'm calling it a draw.
Can Hopkins keep promise?
He insists his bout against Wright won't be dull, but the styles of these fighters suggest otherwise.
By Steve Springer, Times Staff Writer
July 21, 2007
So much for the fear there won't be sufficient action when Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright square off tonight at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The two fighters took care of that concern at Friday's weigh-in at the Las Vegas hotel.
After both had come in at 170 pounds, the catch weight for this match, Hopkins shoved Wright in the forehead, igniting a scuffle between the two entourages. Calm was soon restored, but not before Freddie Roach, Hopkins' trainer, fell on the scale and bruised his ribs.
Hopkins may have been trying, one last time, to send a message to Wright, who has been frustrating him throughout the promotional tour by refusing to buy into Hopkins' typical baiting tactics. Or perhaps Hopkins was sending a message to critics, who have predicted a boring match because of the clash of styles.
Styles make fights. But styles also sometimes make good fights unlikely.
That has been the concern here, especially considering that Hopkins is 42, Wright 35.
Wright (51-3-1, 25 knockouts) is the best defensive fighter in the sport. He has made a career out of standing in the center of the ring, hands plastered to the sides of his face, elbows tucked into his rib cage, forming a shell, a turtle with gloves. And from that position, Wright has attacked, his arms lashing out, inflicting damage and piling up points, before retreating to a defensive posture.
Pleasing to the judges if not the spectators.
Wright won an easy decision over Ike Quartey last December but fought to a draw against Jermain Taylor in his previous bout. Wright has not lost in 7 1/2 years, since being on the short end of a controversial majority decision against Fernando Vargas.
Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 knockouts) has tended to start slowly and play it conservatively in recent matches with the exception of his total dominance of Antonio Tarver 13 months ago. Hopkins, in reviving memories of the man who held the middleweight title for a record 10 years, beat Tarver, 118-109, on all three judges' scorecards.
But before that, there were consecutive losses to Taylor, one by split decision, one by unanimous decision, both fights in which Hopkins appeared to be conserving his energy for long stretches against his younger opponent.
So could we be looking at a boring match tonight, one in which neither fighter presses the action, one staying in his shell, the other holding back and only the referee showing an interest in picking up the action?
No way, insists Hopkins.
"I am going to make this a fight," he said. "People are going to be surprised. Brawling is not my style, but if Winky goes into his shell, what do you think I'm going to do, just stare at the guy? If he just stands in the middle of the ring, it will be the easiest $4 million I ever made."
A few years ago, Hopkins scoffed at the idea he would be making any money in the ring at this point in his life. He had vowed to honor a promise to his mother to quit fighting at 40. But then along came Taylor and a chance for Hopkins to close out his career against the man touted as his middleweight successor.
And then came the rematch.
And then came a chance to move up to light-heavyweight to fight Tarver.
"I'm pretty sure if [Michael] Jordan could have one more historic event on the court, he'd do it," Hopkins said. "Why not get that itch, satisfy yourself and be happy, no matter what happens? ….
"I don't want to have this good-looking new body just to walk around and look handsome."
Said Wright: "My aim is to make him re-retire, make him wish he never brought my name up."
And if the fight indeed turns out to be a dud, at least they can always point to the weigh-in.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bernard Hopkins, left, shoves Winky Wright, touching off a scuffle during their official weigh-in for tonight's light heavyweight fight in Las Vegas.
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Roach is trying to win his own fight
BY ROBERT MORALES, Columnist
FREDDIE Roach moved about the ring at his Wild Card Gym in North Hollywood. Holding punch mitts, he yelled commands to Bernard Hopkins.
"Give me two jabs," Roach instructed Hopkins, who delivered them crisply.
This is a daily ritual for a trainer and his fighter, but Roach is not just any trainer. He suffers from Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder characterized by tremor, hypokinesia, rigidity and postural instability.
Roach, a lightweight who was 39-13 with 15 knockouts fighting from 1978-86, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1992, six years after he retired from a career that saw him stand toe-to-toe with some of the best. Fifteen years later, he is one of the hardest-working trainers in boxing.
Roach's condition has progressed, but he vows to work hard as long as he can. At the moment, that would be six 12-hour days a week; he takes only Sundays off to enjoy his two favorite hobbies - a movie and some grub at a local restaurant.
Roach, 47, will be in Hopkins' corner tonight when he takes on Winky Wright in the light heavyweight main event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Roach has the shakes and impaired speech and walks funny because the Parkinson's won't allow him
to strike his heel correctly on the left side. He has developed torticollis, a neck malady that causes his head to lean to one side or be pulled forward or back.
Roach also has double vision, but if he moves his head a certain way, it goes away. He still drives.
With all this, it would seem what Roach is doing for as many as 72 hours per week not only would be difficult but detrimental. Roach, however, said he and some of his doctors believe training boxers - especially working the punch mitts - could be the best thing for him.
"I don't want my problem really getting in the way of my life, so I just work through it," Roach said. "You know, I think my symptoms are pretty much at bay right now because of what I do, my hand-eye coordination with the mitts and so forth. And I think this really helps me with the disease. Parkinson's, it's a progressive disease, and I think if you let it take over it will.
"And I just refuse to do that. Some doctors say I should slow down and some doctors say it's the best thing in the world for me."
Dr. Malcolm Dick, a neuropsychologist at UC Irvine, agreed that Roach likely is doing the right thing.
"I think most physicians probably would recommend that a person try to maintain some kind of activity or exercise to help with that stiffness and try to help them maintain some of that flexibility," said Dick, who treated the late Mike Quarry for years before the former world-class light heavyweight died last year from dementia pugilistica.
Roach has no intention of slowing down and has a large stable of fighters that includes Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista and Gerry Penalosa, to name a few.
When Mexico takes on the Philippines in the De La Hoya-promoted World Cup of Boxing on Aug. 11 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Roach will be working the corner in six fights - all in one night.
Two of them are title fights and two are title elimination fights. That means all four are 12-rounders.
"The thing is, I have trouble saying no to fighters," Roach said.
"That's why I have so many."
The bigger fighters like De La Hoya and Hopkins are more taxing to Roach, but it's easy to see he thrives on the work.
As Hopkins cracks the mitts, Roach grimaces, then smiles as Hopkins playfully talks a little smack to him. From time to time, Hopkins will get carried away and land a punch on Roach instead of the mitts, but nothing that would be really harmful.
"He knocked the wind out of me one day with a good body shot and he gave me a little cut on the eye one day, but he's not really trying to hurt me or anything like that," Roach said. "I learned with him after I call a combination, I gotta move a little bit."
Hopkins said he is amazed by Roach, who recently turned part of the strip mall that houses his gym into his residence.
"I work with a lot of guys with mitts, and I think boxing, being on top of your game (with) mitts, thinking strategy, that keeps Freddie Roach intact, man," Hopkins said. "I think that all he do in the ring, not only with me but with all the other fighters, I mean, this guy, he sleeps on top of the gym. That man never leaves.
"He makes me, at this stage of my career, want to win even bigger for him. The man ain't two-time Trainer of the Year for nothing."
Roach has received his share of accolades, and they have been hard-earned. To coin a phrase, he eats, sleeps and drinks boxing.
"I sleep next door, but my life is in the gym," he said.
Dick said Roach's life may or may not be shortened by his current situation.
"I think a lot just depends on the person's age when they have it," Dick said, "and how quickly the disease progresses."
Roach realizes his Parkinson's is, indeed, going to progress, but he plans on staving off the worst of it as long as possible. He said he also doesn't want any sympathy because few have jobs they love as much as he loves his.
"You don't usually die from Parkinson's per se, but the symptoms can get you to a point where you are almost catatonic, you know, where you can't function," said Roach, who said if he doesn't take his medication three times a day, he begins to shake more. "And I think that's why what I do in staying active, it helps me.
"Parkinson's makes you rigid. Like when somebody calls a person and you turn toward them quickly with your neck. A Parkinson's person would turn toward you with his whole body. It makes you rigid, slow-moving. It's like your nerves don't have any oil in them anymore.
"I don't have that problem at all yet, and I think it's because of the punch mitts. Again, most of my doctors say that what I do is very preventing."
And very impressive.
Atlas: Hopkins/Wright Weigh-In Mayhem Staged?
By Michael Woods from Sweet Science
A shoving match broke out at the Bernard Hopkins/Winky Wright weigh-in ceremony today. Diehards like us know that weigh-in beefs are oftentimes the only way to get the Sweet Science onto SportsCenter, and we've seen it three times in the last two weeks, so that didn't qualify as news to us.
If you didn't catch the tusslin,' Hopkins got up in Wright's face and jawed at him. He wagged a finger in Winky's face and Winky wagged right back at him. Hopkins answered that by palming Winky's face, and shoving him backwards. Wright took umbrage to that move, and leapt at Hopkins as a mellow melee broke out.
Did any part of you wonder if the fussin' and feudin' was a work?
Did you think that maybe Bernard took it upon himself to do a little 11th hour marketing, guerilla style?
If that crossed your mind, my allies in cynicism, you weren't alone.
ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas took the "guerilla marketing" angle a step further, and wonders if Hopkins and Wright acted in concert at the weigh in, and decided to stage a beef to juice the hype flow a day before the bout.
"Call me the old cynical party pooper," Atlas told Friday Night Fights viewers after the Fres Oquendo/Elieser Castillo main event finished up. "I have a funny feeling that it's possible, and I like both these fighters, but it's possible maybe they orchestrated this, because when we watch it, you don't usually let a fighter get into the face without doing something to keep him from getting that close.
"So I was a little suspicious about what I was seeing. Let's face it, going into this fight, a lot of people had their doubts about how exciting a fight it would be, they were talking about both guys being in the twilight of their career, they were talking about both guys being defensive fighters.
"Even though I don't think Winky's really a defensive fighter, but it's a pay per view fight and you got to sell pay per view, what better way to sell something that might not be stimulating then all of a sudden maybe, just maybe to orchestrate a little bit of a fracas," Atlas said.
Play by play man Joe Tessitore played into the theorizing, saying that the promotion has looked more like a business arrangement than a real-deal pairing.
Atlas then dissected the shoving session frame by fame, Zapruder film style.
Re-form the Warren Commission, and let Teddy chair the thing, I think we'll finally get to the bottom of JFK's assassination!
What about it readers, was the weigh in mayhem legit, or pre-planned?
I'm calling Winky Wright in this fight, big. He'll always be jabbing, and I think he'll find a way to land it and use his hand speed and activity to easily beat Hopkins.
PS... weigh in scuffle, pure stunt. That's the most action you'll see from Hopkins.
Dn: agree wholeheartedly with you sentiments on the impact one day on history. However, re-read this sentence. "If history stopped today, very few would argue that Wright has been a greater or even better fighter than Hopkins." I was saying Wright lags behind Hopkisn in historic esteem.
Roberto: I knew that when Hopkins said it but I'm not correcting him.
well it was a STINKER like most predicted....they better start thinking about cutting the price of these cards or forget about it.