Champs Corner: Hopkins vs Calzaghe

By Ron Champ Miller: Hello fight fans! I know, it's been a while..You are wondering "what was up with the Champ"? I'm sure you were worried about the man who started it all. The legend, icon, master. Often imitated, but never duplicated. The man of the hour, too sweet to be sour. Space mountain, Howard Cosell and the Mike Wallace of boxing rolled up in one. The man who always tells it like it is, no matter how unpopular. Well I am here,and I'm bringing sexy back!!!

Am looking forward to the Bernard Hopkins - Joe Calzaghe fight this weekend. Wasn't sure about a bet initially, but I did bet Hops at +220. I think that is good value. Obviously, value doesn't always win, but you must take odds like this when they present themselves. Even Hopkins trainer, Freddie Roach is betting Bernard!!!

Obviously there are reason the man from Wales is favored. His work rate is second to none. He is undefeated (44-0 w/32 KO's) and looked great against Jeff Lacy and again against Mikkel Kessler, however the last time I checked, they aren't Bernard Hopkins. Lacy was a hype job, a tough guy, a one dimensional fighter, who I don't think was ready yet. Never thought much of Kessler. Much is being made of Hopkins age, but at 36, Joe is no spring chicken himself.

This fight is not overseas, or in Joe's backyard. Joe is coming up in weight. First fight in the United States. He is cocky, maybe overconfident? He is also trash talking. Even his father. When was the last time you saw that? To me that shows a change of character. Maybe fear? And that's not a good sign.

Hopkins is Hopkins. The future hall of famer out of Philadelphia (48-4 w/32 KOs and 1 NC), brings the fight to you. He knows all the tricks of the trade. Elbows, head butts, angles, etc. He will spin you around to hit you while the ref is shielded. He is a tough, dirty and knows how to fight. His chin is good. He has faced them all, and with the exception of Roy Jones Jr, and 2 close fights with Jermain Taylor, has won all his fights. Before the Taylor fight, he had not lost in over 12 years!!! Before Roy? He had not lost in 5 years.

He holds the middleweight record for title defenses (breaking Carlos Monzon's old mark). He cleaned out the division, before moving up and beating Winky Wright and Antonio Tarver ( He was supposed to lose both fights). He has one no contest against Robert Allen, but then stopped him in their 2nd fight. He has wins over Tito Trinidad, William Joppy, Segundo Mercado and of course, Oscar Delahoya.

He has always taken care of his body, and he supposedly has a body of a 27 year old. Now I know a fighter is especially vulnerable after 40, but again, athletes are playing longer. Nutrition, weights etc help. Boxing is a bit different as once the reflexes are gone (Roy Jones Jr.), its over. But Hopkins has not shown me that. Now he could get in the ring this weekend and not be able to pull the trigger, but I'm "betting" that's not the case. At least not now.

Back to the odds for a minute, though. I was recently in Laughlin Nevada. I was hoping the odds on Hopkins was maybe around +180 and up to maybe up to +200. Imagine my delight as I saw him listed as the +220 dog!!! Wow. I just had to take that. The Edgewater hotel has been good to me (I bet PBF against DLH there). So I took a shot with the dog. Again, just too much value, imo.

While I was playing poker, a Brit of course disagreed with me. He said he thinks Joe is too much and is confident. We will see.

I am pretty sure it will go 12 heats. Both chins are good, and both aren't known as 1 shot KO artists. They wear you down. Joe, however, does not sit down on his punches. Bernard has great defense.

Both are "boring" fighters. They sometimes fight down to their opposition. Ticket sales aren't great, but it's no surprise. Americans don't care about European fighters and Hops has never really caught on here, even after his win over Tito Trinidad. Both fighter's styles aren't crowd friendly. This isn't Erik Morales - Marco Antonio Barrera or Arturo Gatti v Micky Ward.

I see a close, hard to score fight, which I think favors the Golden Boy Promotions fighter. I see Joe not being able to throw the volume punches as Hopkins will smother him and make this a ugly fight. This may frustrate the man from the UK. Hopkins will steal rounds, countering the man from Wales. There may be a controversial decision here...

So while I don't see this as a Floyd Mayweather Jr v Ricky Hatton repeat, I think the European fighter is in trouble here, again. And you know what I think about Euros, LOL. I just hope our national anthem is not booed, like it was last time a fighter from the UK was here.

Joe Calzaghe should win this fight, but I can't lay close to 3 dollars. The pick is Bernard Hopkins by decision win.

Well that's it fight fans!!! Keep your hands up and keep punching for the stars!!!

I will be on the radio today. Check out the following links::

Article posted on 19.04.2008

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