Hopkins v. Calzaghe: The Breakdown & The Prediction

Joe CalzagheBy Yero Moody: This is the fight we've all been waiting for! The public has widely anticipated the day when Joe Calzaghe would cross the pond and face an elite fighter here in the USA. On April 19 Calzaghe will finally be given the opportunity to answer his critics who question his claim to be the best. Many, including myself, have been highly critical of Calzaghe's record and his 21 title defenses. It seemed as if he was content to live off his brilliant win over Jeff Lacy two years ago. Calzaghe deserves major credit for stepping up in weight and most importantly in class to establish his claim for supremacy.

Bernard Hopkins on the other hand has made a career of fighting the best opponents and seemed to shine when the odds were against him. A very disturbing story comes to mind in regards to the odds being against Hopkins. During the huge middleweight tournament that took place in 2001 the odds were so against Hopkins that Don King had Felix Trinidad's name already engraved on the trophy before the two even fought. To this day Hopkins has never received the trophy. Fans were so hurt by Trinidad's loss that the only thing many of them could resort to was excuse making. All of a sudden Trinidad became "not a true middleweight". Despite Tito proving just the opposite by beating one of the top two middleweights just prior to fighting Hopkins, William Joppy in devastating fashion. It was Tito and his father who decided to move to middleweight due to the fact that Tito could no longer make the weight at 154lbs. in a healthy manner. Fighters get bigger as they mature and age that is a fact. The only fighters that Hopkins defeated that were out of their weight range were Oscar De La Hoya and Winky Wright. Against major odds Hopkins moved up two weight classes and took on the best in the light heavyweight division, Antonio Tarver. Again he was the underdog and again he shined.

Calzaghe has been shielded in the cocoon of fighting on his home turf for most of his career. This definitely added to the criticism Calzaghe has faced throughout his career. In two of his major fights he was the underdog, Chris Eubanks and Jeff Lacy. He proved his merit by beating them both soundly. Calzaghe and his father have a firm belief that Joe is truly the best fighter in the world. When you are 44-0 and have defended your title 21 consecutive times its hard to argue against their belief. No one thought Calzaghe could beat Lacy and he won in dominating fashion. It was a marvelous display of boxing.
So lets get down to business.

Who wins this fight and why. The three major categories I want to explore are offense, defense and ring generalship. It should be no surprise that the edge to offense goes to Calzaghe. He's faster, throws multiple combinations, and continues throwing consistently round after round. Bernard Hopkins often times seems like he's asleep offensively. This is what cost him against Jermain Taylor. Had he put forth more punches he would've easily defeated Taylor. Offense: Calzaghe.

On the defensive side it is also no surprise that the edge goes to Hopkins. He is masterful in the way he tucks his chin and keeps his hands near his jaw line avoiding hard shots. Against Trinidad he was able to adjust his footwork in such a way that he was always out of range for Trinidad's right hand. No one saw that coming. Most people thought that Tito would land his bombs and get a KO. Defense: Hopkins

What is going to make or break this fight is which fighter can establish his pace and create their rythym while simutaneously preventing the opponent from establishing their own. This is what is known as ring generalship. Both fighters have always maintained ring generalship in their wins. Because Calzaghe has never lost he never experienced a fighter taking away his command. I would submit that that is due to the level of competition he has faced thus far. By far the biggest names on Calzaghe's resume are Eubanks, Lacy and Kessler.

None of whom have ever beaten top teir opposition. As I examined their fight records it amazed me that these fighters were given so much hype. I believe that due to the fact that Calzaghe has never faced top teir opposition nor have any of his opponents establishing ring generalship against a man who has faced the best of the best will not happen. Ring generalship: Hopkins by a landslide.

With two of the three major categories going in favor of Hopkins my pick is Hopkins by wide UD or possible TKO. There are intangibles that can fall under one of these categories like power, heart, tenacity, etc. but these three major categories define the outcome of a fight.

Allow me to quote "The Executioner" "Joe is a Mercedes and I'm a Ferrari. A Mercedes is a good car but it ain't a Ferrari. He is a champion but I am a legend". I would also submit that if Calzaghe had faced the same opponents that Hopkins has faced he'd have at least 3 losses. Vice versa, and Hopkins would be undefeated as well. On April 19, 2008 Bernard "The Executuoner" Hopkins will show the world again why he is a legend!

Thank you for reading.

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Article posted on 18.04.2008

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