Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe

One of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time battles one of the greatest super middleweight champions of all-time. Of course, they will be fighting at light heavyweight. Calzaghe is undefeated as a pro and holds recent wins over Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler. Hopkins, after losing consecutive fights to Jermain Taylor, defeated both Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright. A matchup of two dominant fighters from aligning weight classes should be enough buildup for a fight. Alas, the major selling point of the fight turned out to be Bernard Hopkins statement saying, “I will never lose to a white boy.”

Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe

The fight started with a bang as Hopkins dropped Calzaghe with a straight right one minute into the fight. Hopkins backpedaled for the remainder of the first round, hoping to land another counter but nothing came of it. This was possibly the most boring round ever that featured a knockdown. Calzaghe is known for his hand speed and accuracy but has so far been content to throw one punch at a time. The knockdown may have scared him off of his usual rate of activity.

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Hopkins is pacing himself because he’s 43 f’n years old. Hopkins is fighting his usual boring, dirty fight. The referee warns both men about the dirty boxing in the fourth round. A cut from a headbutt or an elbow seems forthcoming. Hopkins fires off a nice combo after the warning and Calzaghe counters with an uppercut. Hey, these guys can box cleanly! Calzaghe is getting more comfortable in the ring so maybe we’ll see some action, because Hopkins certainly isn’t providing any.

Every once in a while Hopkins and Calzaghe will have a heated exchange of punches, as they did in round 6, but it’s always followed up with twice the clinching and running. The inactivity makes each round difficult to judge because no one is really standing out. It also makes the final ten seconds of each round the most exciting because each man is trying to steal the point. The same goes for the 7th round as nothing much happens until the final seconds of the round, where Hopkins staggers Calzaghe with a right hand.

Calzaghe lands a good right hand early in the 9th round but it’s pretty clear Calzaghe will not be knocking Hopkins down in this fight. He’s never been known for his power and Calzaghe is throwing those amateurish pitty-pat punches that are annoying to watch and do little damage. Calzaghe lands a heavy left straight later in the round in response to my disdain for his punch selection. Calzaghe taps Hopkins below the belt during a clinch in the 10th round and we have an old man down. Hopkins sells the low blow like a car salesman as replays make the shot appear to be inconsequential.

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Hopkins tries to milk a point from Calzaghe by once again overselling a body shot. Joe Cortez is having none of it and restarts the fight, leading to an astonishing 20 seconds of back-and-forth punching. The final round is mostly anticlimactic. Calzaghe seems to get the better of Hopkins during their flurries, which probably explains why Hopkins did his best to avoid them throughout the fight. They nearly end the fight in a clinch. That would have been apropos.

Both men believe they have won the fight but only one can emerge victorious. The judges’ scorecards are announced. The verdict is 114-113 Hopkins, 115-112 Calzaghe, and 116-111 Calzaghe. Bernard Hopkins just got beat by a white boy. Calzaghe remains undefeated with the split decision win and alludes to a contest with Roy Jones Jr as his next bout.

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