Hopkins and Judah: A look back to Saturday

18.12.03 - By Don Deane: This past Saturday, Zab Judah and Bernard Hopkins had rather easy title defenses on the Don King Pay Per View. Judah was able to score a first round KO, whereas Hopkins needed to hand a beating to William Joppy over the full twelve rounds.Zab Judah looked very aggressive during the whole minute or so this fight actually lasted. After an early slip on a logo, Zab was able to throw the jab and land a counter left hook during the only offense Rangel really attempted to mount. It really didn’t look like Rangel even landed a punch. The end came with a straight left, which landed flush and just, ending this lopsided sparring session. Zab looked extremely quick and is probably in good form, having trained for his second fight in the last 6 months. It is too bad Judah did not get more work in during this fight. He should be in line for a shot at the linear title at 140 or 147. After what Cory Spinks showed against the vastly overrated Ricardo Mayorga, Spinks-Judah would be a pretty good fight. Spinks or the winner of Tszyu-Mitchell would probably be his best bet, maybe after a tune up fight against a top 10 contender.

The main event featured Bernard Hopkins in his quest for the historic 20th title defense at middleweight. Number 17 came quite easily against William Joppy, who seemed to make no effort to fight any other way than the Hopkins way. Bernard Hopkins was able to make a mess of the fight and muck it up repeatedly. The rough nature of the fight got over with the crowd quite well as a fisticuff broke out in the crowd during the fifth round. Hopkins was able to box when he wanted to, and get inside when he wanted to. He had no problem landing the short uppercuts on the inside, as evidenced by Joppy’s puffed up pair of cheeks.

In typical Hopkins fashion, the fight took a rough turn starting about 30 seconds into round one. The two repeatedly held, held and hit, engaged in retaliatory low blows, and had long moments of infighting where Hopkins was able to use his head, in more ways than one. Joppy really made no effort to use any quickness or get out of trouble, he was content to take the beating and earn his side bet $50,000. Retirement would be a good idea for Joppy at this point in his career. He really has nothing left to prove, and no meaningful fights to take. He proved he is a B class middleweight and has losses to the 2 of the best middleweights of all time, Hopkins and Trinidad. Both fights weren’t competitive or worthy of a rematch and Joppy does not gain anything from getting in there with less talented fighters after the career he has had. After this beating, hopefully we have seen the last of Joppy.

For Hopkins, his desire to fight De La Hoy, Mosley and the Mayorga to finish out his 20 defenses is ludicrous and unrealistic. Obviously Mayorga is out after losing to Spinks, that point requires no labor. And apparently, after losing to a tall, lanky 6 foot welterweight twice, why would Mosley stand a chance against a tall, lanky 6 foot middleweight? Especially given that that particular middleweight can probably beat the welterweight responsible for those 2 blemishes on Mosely’s slate. De La Hoya is however a very risky, yet purposeful fight. It would appeal to fans of both camps. Hopkins fans want to see him become the most decorated middleweight of all time and be renowned as an all time great. De La Hoya fans want to see Oscar conquer yet another weight class and cement his legacy. That fight would be incredible as the 20th title defense because of all the history that can be made and legacy built for the winner. It is the type of fight where you can’t really root for one guy or the other because both men have had such fantastic careers and deserve to go out celebrating. It does seem that the 20th defense would be Hopkins last fight, and De La Hoya is probably close to hanging it up as well.

For the 18th and 19th defenses, it really doesn’t matter who, but if one was Vernon Forrest, and one Joe Calzaghe, this boxing writer would be all smiles. Hopkins- De La Hoya is the more lucrative fight, and the most meaningful, but the other two are big, winnable fights for Hopkins and would put him in position to get magical number 20 in front of his hometown Philly crowd at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City against the Golden

Article posted on 18.12.2003

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