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Hopkins to fight on March 9th, Cleverly a possibility

By Rob Smith: 47-year-old Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO’s) is scheduled to retire to the ring on March 9th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and his opponent is rumored to be WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KO’s).

Hopkins said on his twitter “March 9, 2013 Barclay Center I will break my record in become Lt. Hvw Champ at 48 y.o.”

A fight between Hopkins and the 25-year-old Cleverly might be a tough one at this point for Hopkins because he doesn’t seem capable of throwing a lot of punches anymore. His loss to Chad Dawson last April showed that Hopkins can’t let his hands go like he once did. Dawson barely threw any punches and was there to be hit, but Hopkins couldn’t pull the trigger enough to get the win.

Cleverly is a fighter that typically throws a lot of punches and he has a pretty good chin as well. In his 8th round TKO win over Shawn Hawk last Saturday, Cleverly averaged over 80 punches thrown per round and that was against opponent that was barely throwing shots back. If Cleverly faces someone that does punch back at him he’s capable of throwing a lot more.

If you’re a Hopkins fan you might not like the timing for this fight. He’s not the same fighter that dominated Kelly Pavlik four years ago in a one-sided 12 round decision in 2008, and I think at this point Pavlik would fairly easily beat Hopkins. Hop has lost too much in the past year. He beat Jean Pascal last year, but Pascal wasn’t someone that threw a lot of punches. He fought in brief spurts and that gave Hopkins plenty of rest breaks.

Cleverly isn’t that kind of fighter. He’ll get in front of Hopkins and simply outwork him the way that Joe Calzaghe did in 2008. It’ll be easier for Cleverly because Hopkins doesn’t throw punches now like he did then.