Jerry Glick reporting from ringside: It was impressive; the old man still has a whole lot to offer the boxing fans. Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins taught defending IBF Lightheavyweight champ Tavoris, “Thunder” Cloud that he can still run with the best at an advanced age on the Golden Boy/Don King promoted show.
Claiming at the post fight press conference that he was “old school,” Hopkins, 53-6-2 (32 KOs), used his skills rather than brawn, shifting direction, jabbing and moving out of range, going in and out never giving Cloud a target. In short Cloud, 24-1 (19 KOs), found that he was not able to pull the trigger when the opportunity presented itself.
Throwing a lot of punches is not how Bernard wins fights; it’s how he throws the punches that he does throw, and his ability to make Cloud miss his shots. Cloud began to bleed from a slit on his left eyelid in the sixth, ruled that it was from an accidental head butt by referee Earl Brown, but this reporter watched the fight later on DVR and it was demonstrated that it was a left hook/uppercut that did the damage. Cloud had no answer for what Hopkins knew how to do, and lost the unanimous decision.
Hopkins 174 broke his own record as the oldest man to win a world title and is now the IBF Lightheavyweight champion at the age of 48 by taking a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud, 174, at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, NY. Using his skills honed over his long career, he controlled the tempo of the fight and wrapped up Cloud so tight that he had trouble letting his punches go. The judges scored it 117-111 and 116-112 twice all for Hopkins.
Not the oldest world champion, but the oldest man to win a world title, Hopkins is a modern day Archie Moore, who was the oldest champion, never lost his world lightheavyweight title and held it while in his 50’s. What they had in common was their skills; Moore used his boxing knowledge to win the title and to give Heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano a run for his money when Archie challenged him for the big prize only to succumb in the ninth frame after dropping Marciano in the second round.
Keith Thurman 146, Clearwater, FL, 20-0 (18 KO), dominated Jan Zaveck, 146, Ptuj, Slovenia, 32-3 (18 KOs), over twelve hard fought rounds, to win a unanimous decision by a score of 120-108 across the board to remain undefeated. After the show, at the post fight press conference, Thurman called out WBA Welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi who was in attendance and that led to a shouting match.
Thurman, the 2012 Prospect of the Year was asked who he would like to fight, he noted that the Brooklyn Italian, Malignaggi, was sitting in the back of the room he arrogantly threw out a challenge to Paulie, “I want all the champions in the welterweight division,” he said. “I believe I see Paulie back there. How you doing Paulie? How you doing buddy. When are you going to stop ducking me son? What do I got to do to get your approval to step in the ring?”
With that all hell broke loose. They verbally attacked each other for a good fifteen minutes. Malignaggi angrily said that all it takes is money, “This is prize fighting, dummy,” Malignaggi shot back, and it went on from there. Meanwhile word out there is that Malignaggi will next defend his belt against the highly regarded, unbeaten WBC Lightweight champion Adrien Broner, so we will wait and see.
In his fight with the former IBF Welterweight champion Zaveck, Thurman threw and landed twice as many punches including out jabbing his opponent by double the amount. Zaveck was never quite in this fight but he never quit trying. He was the aggressor throughout, but you must land punches to win rounds. Thurman’s counterpunching may have been the key to his fine performance. Zaveck admitted that it wasn’t his night, “Keith was much better. I expected his speed but he was much better,” said Zaveck. Thurman wins the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Welterweight belt. Harvey Dock refereed.
Michael Perez, 136, Newark, NJ, 18-1-2 (10 KOs), looked like he was on his way to victory after dropping Lonnie Smith, 135, Las Vegas, NV, 14-4-3 (10 KOs), in the second frame. He appeared to be out fighting Smith and landing his punches more often, he was cut badly over the right eye in the fifth from an unintentional butt. By the seventh, the cut was severe enough for referee Murdaugh to call in the doctor who halted the fight. It was after the fourth round so they went to the scorecards which tallied 67-65 for Perez and 66-66 twice making it a majority draw.
It took Eddie Gomez, 152, Bronx, NY, 13-0 (9 KOs), only 77 seconds to stop Javier Gomez 154, Baja California, Mexico, 14-11(10 KOs), after keeping the pressure up leading to a left to the temple which staggered Javier Gomez. Eddie attacked dropping Javier. He got up, referee Mercante was going to let it continue but changed his mind stopping the fight at the 1:17 mark of the first frame.
Former Olympian Marcus Browne 175. Staten Island, NY, 3-0 (3 KOs), stayed on top of opponent Josh Thorpe; 175, Mobile, AL, 1-3 (0 KOs), landing a right to the body that had Thorpe down and hurt, but he managed to rise only to be forced to cover up to avoid the barrage of punches coming his way until referee Santiago ended matters at 2:42 of round one.
It was all Frank Galarza, 153, Brooklyn, NY, 9-0-1 (5 KOs), as he kept up the pressure landing effectively to head and body until he dropped Guillermo Ibarra,153, Los Moches, Mexico, 7-2 (4 KOs), from a series of shots to the head. Up and shaky a right put Ibarra down again but Mercante had seen enough and ended the fight at 2:19 of the second frame.
Claude Staten Jr. 122, Brooklyn, NY, 1-0, was too tall and too quick for smallish Mike Hill, 121, New Orleans, LA, 0-2, dropping him in the first round to take the unanimous decision by a score of 40-35 across the board. Shada Murdaugh refereed.
Stivens Bujaj, 201, New York, NY, 9-0 (6 KOs), out punched Zeferino Albino, 201, Philadelphia, PA, 4-16-3 (2 KOs), landing uppercuts and lead rights in each of the four rounds they fought, taking the unanimous decision by a score of 40-36 from all three judges. Pete Santiago refereed.
At the press conference after his great win, Hopkins admitted that he can’t talk about how a 48 year old feels because he doesn’t feel like a normal person at 48.
Nazim Richardson, his trainer, said at the final press conference before the fight that on fight night it won’t be Hopkins, it won’t be B-Hop who will enter the ring, it will be the Executioner. That led this fan/writer to conclude that Hopkins will go to war, not at all, being the executioner is a state of mind for Hopkins, a warrior mentality, “I wanted to get into that frame of mind,” he explained. He did, and it paid off. He added that it was more gratifying to break the record this time at 48, “Because I’m older,” than when he broke the age barrier the first time at 46.
**5 OR 50**
Hopkins said in the ring after the fight that he has a five year plan, but then said at the press conference that he will not stay in the ring until he’s fifty because his sisters said no. Get it straight Bernard.