Trainer Freddie Roach Concerned For Bernard Hopkins Ahead Of Pavlik Fight - "I'm Worried," Roach Admits

Bernard HopkinsBy James Slater: There are no shortage of people who feel 43-year-old legend Bernard Hopkins is taking a huge risk in fighting the big-punching Kelly Pavlik in October. Amongst those concerned is "The Executioner's" trainer Freddie Roach.

In an interview with boxing writer Ron Borges, Freddie revealed his worries for the October 18th catch-weight fight.

"I'm a little bit worried about that fight," Roach admitted. "Bernard is my friend. I asked him to retire after the last fight (a points loss to Joe Calzaghe). I saw some things I didn't like and I told him that. Four times in that fight he walked to the wrong corner after the end of the round. One time they showed it on T.V and made a joke about him looking for the ring card girls, but it happened four times. Why do you go to the wrong corner four times? Something's not right because Calzaghe hadn't buzzed him. Calzaghe couldn't hurt Bernard but Kelly is a big puncher. He's a different cat. He's a young, strong, hungry guy. Timing-wise this is not right for Hopkins."

Some scary words from Roach indeed. Was there something "not right" with Hopkins as he failed to find his corner in the Calzaghe fight? At his current age, though he is undeniably a marvellous physical specimen - for any age - Hopkins is risking a lot each and every time he sets foot into the ring. Remember the promise he gave to his late mother before her death? B-Hop assured her he would retire before reaching the age of 41. That birthday was well over two years ago now, yet the Philly boxer keeps going. In taking on a massive banger like Pavlik, he may be biting off more than he can chew, however. A close loss to pound-for-pound entrant Calzaghe would not have been a bad note on which to bow out, but Hopkins' pride makes him fight on.

It seems he will be doing so without the assistance of Freddie Roach, though.

"Would I train him [Bernard] for this fight?" Roach asked. "I don't think I can do that. I don't think I can help him win that fight. I think if he asks, I'll say no."

Will Hopkins think twice about going ahead with the fight when he hears what Freddie thinks? Probably not. But Bernard should think long and hard before he makes what could be a bad decision. Hopkins may not be the best loved of fighters, but there is not a fight fan out there who would like to see him get badly hurt - including Kelly Pavlik.

Article posted on 02.08.2008

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