BROOKLYN, NY — Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. Bernard Hopkins goes into the ring at an age when most fighters are long retired and schools a young, talented fighter who’s over 15 years younger than him. Yes, you’ve been witnessing the same scenario for over a decade, and Hopkins added another repeat last night with a unanimous decision over a completely lost Tavoris Cloud.
CLOUD DISAPPOINTS: Like most people, I picked Hopkins by decision, but expected Cloud to make it very difficult in spots for the old master. Instead, Cloud chose a horrible strategy of laying back and attempting to box with Hopkins at mid-range. What he got in return was repeated right hands, and a cut over his eye from a Hopkins counter left hook. When Cloud did throw hard during the inside fighting, he forced Hopkins to hold or move away. Those moments were always isolated though, and Cloud, who told me earlier this week that Hopkins would have trouble keeping him off, had his offense degraded to just following the Executioner around.
Cloud using his jab sparingly didn’t help and Hopkins used the ring well to prevent Cloud from getting set with his power shots.
HOPKINS PROMISED ANOTHER FIVE YEARS AND IT’S POSSIBLE: After the decision, Hopkins claimed that he’d go another five years before hanging it up. It definitely feels like he’ll go until 50, and with the competition at 175 it’s conceivable he can keep schooling these guys. There’s no Joe Calzaghes or even a Dwight Muhammad Qawi that could give B-Hop problems.
With that said, Hopkins made a point afterward to talk with Andre Ward and tell him again they’d never fight. From his tone, I got the impression HBO has been pushing for a “passing of the torch” match between the two. Hopkins isn’t having it, as he knows that’s the one guy at this stage of his career he definitely can’t beat (ie. a prime version of himself).
HOPKINS VS. CLEVERLY: Hopkins’s last 3 fights have been against the top guys at light-heavyweight in Cloud, Dawson and Pascal. The UK’s Nathan Cleverly has a high punch output so I’d like to see how Hopkins handles that at this stage.
THURMAN GETS WORKOUT AGAINST ZAVECK: Keith Thurman notched another lopsided victory last night on the undercard, but had to go 12 rounds with the tough Jan Zaveck. Thurman landed his best Sunday punches, but outside of a few brief pauses Zaveck kept coming and got in a few solid right hands to his credit. Zaveck’s chin was never in question, especially following his brawl with Andre Berto. However, with his heavy scar tissue I was surprised his face held up under the constant barrage of power shots.
The real fun came at the post-fight press conference with Thurman calling out Paulie Malignaggi (who was in the audience). Both had some nice lines for each other, but Paulie finished strong with digs at Thurman’s competition that made Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer jump in. Paulie will be fighting Adrien Broner (more on that in another piece), so this fight won’t be happening anytime soon. If it did, I think even at this stage of his young career Thurman takes it.