By Alex Luce: The never-ending yet ever-enduring career of Bernard "The Executioner (of Father Time)" Hopkins seems like the stuff of legend. When will Father Time realize its been swindled once again? Will this be the time when Hopkins finally stays too long in the game? In the world of boxing and in a role reversal, critics have had "The Executioner" in a stay of execution for more than a decade. But this time, just might be the end for Hopkins.
Tavoris Cloud, the IBF light-heavyweight champion and Hopkins’ next opponent to lead him to his possible execution, will never, never be confused for a master boxer. This may be why Hopkins chose him as an opponent rather than a higher payday against super middleweight king Andre Ward. But as was evident in his decision loss to Chad Dawson in his last outing, Hopkins is not as spry as he used to be. And for all his limited boxing skills, Cloud loves nothing better than to plow headlong and pound away at his opponent.
Cloud is a dangerous opponent for Hopkins because he punches with the same tenacity from the first round until the last. He loves the KO but he is just as happy to hit arms and sternum as he is tagging an opponent on the chin. There was another ageless wonder who said the hardest he was ever hit was by Cloud. That man is the recently retired and former light heavyweight king, Glen Johnson.
Cloud is also a hungry, undefeated fighter who has been chomping at the bit to fight the division’s best. He called out the slick Dawson when Dawson was atop the hill of the light heavyweight division. And add to it the pressure that is now on Cloud, who was lucky to escape with a close decision victory (some might call it a gift--others a robbery) against slick Spaniard, Gabriel Campillo.
Campillo was stopped in scintillating fashion last week against another undefeated banger in Russian, Sergey Kovalev. Suddenly, a future match up against two hard-hitting light heavies can be a reality. And Cloud will have to be on the big stage at a place that is quickly becoming a hotbed for big-time fights, Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY.
But in order for Cloud to continue his march toward the top-rated and highest paid light heavyweight, he must do what very few have been able to do to the 48-year-old, he-shouldn’t-even-be-fighting. But Hopkins has made it an art of defying the greatest odds any fighter will ever face; father time.
Hopkins said a quote that he probably feels he needs to live by: "Fighters don’t retire from the ring, the ring retires fighters."
On Saturday, March 9, the ring, along with Cloud, will assist Hopkins with making that the final call.
February 4, 2013