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25 OCTOBER 2014

 




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John Lumpkin




Opps!


The greats, Hopkins & Hagler
The greats, Hopkins & Hagler

Comment by John Lumpkin: How many times over the years have we picked against Hopkins? This time we thought it was different. We had proof that he was declining and that age was catching up with the old man. In his last fight against Joe Calzaghe, we observed as he pulled every trick in the book to gain a rest and reenergize for just a few more minutes. It was obvious that if Hopkins could find the energy that he could win the fight, but there just wasn’t enough in the tank. Pavlik was never as busy a fighter as Calzaghe, but Calzaghe was nearly as busy as he normally was so logic dictated that the young man’s pace and disturbingly harder punches would take their toll on Hopkins.

Most people assumed that Hopkins would provide some trouble for Pavlik, especially early as he has always been difficult to figure out and ever so elusive. What nobody considered was the possibility that Hopkins might actually hurt Pavlik. After all, Hopkins hasn’t used power to win fights in a long time. Maybe we forgot that power is often the last thing to go.

In the press leading up to the fight, the one comment that was played over and over was how Pavlik thought that Hopkins had never faced a puncher like him. It appeared that Pavlik was counting on his punch and had not paid attention to history. Maybe Hopkins hadn’t faced a puncher just like Pavlik, but few would argue that Trinidad or Echols lacked for power. Both lost decidedly to Hopkins because they had little to offer beyond their power.

One might argue that 170 pounds is just not a good weight for Pavlik. He certainly did not start out tonight looking comfortable and he was a little off with the Taylor fight at 168. But none of this accounts for this past Saturday. What we saw was a highly skilled veteran exploiting the overconfidence and lack of experience of his foe. Hopkins has always been great at finding the weaknesses in his opponent’s game, capitalizing on them and he obviously found many deficiencies in Pavlik’s skill set. It is not that we did not think he saw the flaws in Pavlik, but rather we had lost faith in his ability to pull it off. Opps.


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