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23 OCTOBER 2014

 

Hopkins and Froch – Born Gladiators




By Tom Gray

 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.


Ambrose Redmoon

 

Both gladiators are vastly different but they are also the same.

 

Bernard Hopkins is forty seven years of age, with an astonishing twenty four year professional career behind him. Physiologically remarkable, The Executioner is an old school scientist who has the nasty habit of ending careers and, cerebrally, he possesses enough boxing acumen to fill several large volumes.

 

Carl Froch is thirty four years old and a former two time super middleweight champion. The Nottingham based warrior is perhaps the fittest athlete in Britain and, beyond question, he is the toughest. The Cobra is not blindingly fast, nor is he the most technically gifted but more often than not his bravery, or balls, take him across the finishing line in first place.

 

At a time when the two best fighters on earth refuse to make the most intriguing and lucrative fight available, Bernard Hopkins and Carl Froch should be lauded for what they bring to boxing and that is the willingness and fortitude to face anyone, anytime, anywhere.

 

In October, Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson had barely gotten started at the Staples Centre when Hopkins sustained a shoulder injury, which brought about a premature end to the contest. Dawson was frustrated, as were the critics and both parties unloaded with abandon, labelling the Philadelphia legend a coward for not continuing. Hopkins answered the only way a true champion would by agreeing terms to an immediate rematch, which takes place on April 28th in Atlantic City. Hopkins knows intrinsically that Dawson is bringing hell and, simply put, at almost fifty years old, he could have gone elsewhere.


In December, Carl Froch faced Andre Ward in The Super Six final and lost a unanimous decision.  The American’s craft and skill proved too big a puzzle for his English counterpart to solve and, despite a valiant effort, Froch returned home without a world title.  After such a setback, one would be forgiven for taking a confidence boosting bout against soft opposition but Froch has sought out the only danger man left to face, IBF kingpin, Lucian Bute.  This enormous showdown will take place at the Nottingham Arena on May 26th.

 

During a mystical professional journey, Bernard Hopkins has crossed swords with Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Glen Johnson, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Joe Calzaghe, Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones twice, Jean Pascal twice, Jermain Taylor twice and will now collide with the most dangerous challenger available at 175lbs for the second time of asking.  The future Hall of Famer owns, unarguably, one of the finest overall records in professional boxing.

 

Carl Froch, in his seven previous engagements, has shared the battlefield with Pascal, Taylor, Johnson, Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and the aforementioned Ward.  Including the record of Lucian Bute, the combined ledger of these combatants is 245-19-3 and fourteen of these losses belong to Johnson, who was inconsistent during the middle portion of his career.  Seven fighters and six of them were either reigning or former world champions.

 

One is British and one is American.  One employs ring savvy and one relishes a battle of attrition.  One is a legend and one seeks to become just that.  They are men who fear no other fighter on earth.

 

Both of these gladiators, The Executioner and The Cobra, have set the example.

 

 

Follow Tom Gray on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/tgraysecondsout

 



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