Taylor - Hopkins: Why Hopkins Will Win

02.12.05 - By Craig Parrish: Bernard Hopkins is brash, arrogant, mouthy, and conceited. He is also one of the great fighters of the modern era. Until his recent defeat at the hands of Jermain Taylor, he had not lost a bout in ten years. He is a brilliant tactical fighter and ferocious body puncher. Just ask Oscar De La Hoya. Hopkins, and many others, felt he was robbed in the first bout. Believe it, he will not let this happen again..

I base this opinion of many factors. Granted, Hopkins will be 41 years old next month. However, he certainly didn’t look old in the first match. Hopkins is smart, he knows that those 40 year old legs have a harder time keeping up a fast tempo, so he decided to pace himself, and planned to come on heavy in the last rounds and steal the fight. It was a good strategy, although he probably should’ve started turning it on a round or two earlier.

If he had, he would have won a decision handily, if it had gone the distance. But it was a case of too little, too late. Hopkins knows this. Also, this fight will be his swan song. Bernard Hopkins is too proud to go out with a loss. He will do everything in his power to keep that from happening.

He has not aged that much in the few months that have elapsed since the first fight. I believe he will come on heavy early in the match, try to inflict as much damage as possible, and try to take out Taylor in the middle rounds. It will be a gamble, because if he can’t KO Taylor, he will be tired. Only Hopkins knows how much gas he’s got left in the tank. But given Hopkins’ ego, I don’t believe anything less than a KO will be acceptable to him. He will want vindication, and a chance to cement his legacy.

Jermain Taylor is a quality fighter and a good Champion. I believe that he will be around for a long, long, time. He showed in the first match that he is not afraid of Hopkins and wants the respect he feels he deserves. He will be anxious to prove that the first fight was no fluke, and will want to win convincingly this time around. But I think experience gives Hopkins the edge here. He may have taken Taylor too lightly the first time out, and in fact it had been so long so he had lost he probably believed he could not.

Now that he’s felt the sting of the defeat, it will serve as a wake up call to the old lion. He will summon up all his remaining skill, harness his experience, and try to school the young upstart. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he should be able to go out on a high note, and start that full time promoting gig with Oscar. If he doesn’t, will there be a rubber match? Hard to say. There was talk earlier of Hopkins moving up for a match with Antonio Tarver, but this has faded and it looks like this will be Hopkins’ last bout. Although it will be the end of an era, the Middleweight Division is still very healthy with many quality fighters and some good up and comers. This should be a very strong division for years to come.

This fight has the makings of a classic and should not be missed. It is one of those “Crossroads” bouts where you can witness the future and the past of a division in the ring at the same time. Whether the torch is passed for good, or the old-timer can grab the brass ring one more time remains to be seen. Best of luck to both fighters.

Article posted on 02.12.2005

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