Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins (a real legend in an age when the word is over used) will look to exit the sport he helped make great, on December 17th, and, in typical Hopkins style, B-Hop will not face a soft or easy opponent in his swansong. According to the always reliable Michael Woods of NYFights.com, the amazing 51-year-old (Hopkins will turn 52 in January) will face dangerous puncher Joe Smith Jnr just over a week before Christmas Day.
It sure would be very interesting to have “retired” superstar and all time great Floyd Mayweather Junior sit down and list his picks for a “The Best I Faced,” article or to go through his career and look back at the best and worst opponents he met. Throughout his 49-0 career, Mayweather met punchers, fellow boxers, durable guys, southpaws and fighters who were incredibly fast.
Both Tony Bellew and David Haye have options, quite a few in fact. WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew has a number of potentially big and financially rewarding fights at 200-pounds, where the proud Liverpool man could try and unify the division, while Haye, who has a fight upcoming in December (opponent still to be determined) has possible big money fights with the likes of Anthony Joshua (really big money!) and maybe Shannon Briggs on the horizon.
It seems fans can, at the very least, pencil the date of December 10 in their diary, with the date underlined for a massive heavyweight event. Eddie Hearn, speaking with BBC Radio 5 Live, said that the deal between the two fighters “is there” and that all that needs to be sorted out now is the sanctioning requests. Hearn said that as long as the governing bodies are happy, the fight WILL go ahead, likely in Manchester, this December.
Tonight in Liverpool on the big Tony Bellew-BJ Flores bill, Olympic hero Luke Campbell scored one of the most impressive wins – if not the most impressive win – of his pro career, as he stopped the hugely experienced Derry Matthews in the 4th-round. Campbell, showing stunning accuracy and power, dropped the former interim WBA lightweight champion with two nasty left hands to the body, 33-year-old Matthews being counted out after his second trip to the canvas.
With welterweights Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman, arguably the two best 147-pound fighters operating today, set to meet next year (likely in March) there have been verbal barbs exchanged bwteeen the two. Thurman, unbeaten and the reigning WBA champion, laid into Garcia for choosing the unheralded Samuel Vargas, tweeting how Garcia should “enjoy your last cherry of the year…..I’ll be waiting to take that green belt in 2017!”
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com has reported how the nominees for this year’s ballot for the Hall of Fame have been sent out to those writers who are eligible to vote, and there are three new names on the list: Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera and Johnny Tapia. All three greats appear to be slam-dunks to get voted in and enshrined next summer, but in the opinion of many, cruiserweight and heavyweight legend Holyfield is even more deserving of the honour than the two lower weight kings, despite their extraordinary accomplishments.
There are David Haye critics out there who claim the former WBA heavyweight champ has done his fans a disservice by not following up on his verbal agreement to face veteran Shannon Briggs in his next fight, one we thought might happen this past September. The ever-vocal Briggs, who plagued Haye with his “Let’s go Champ” war-cry and by travelling over to London, was “rewarded” with a fight on Haye’s May under-card.
The verbal agreement was that Briggs would get the Haye fight next if he won, which he did. But since then, nothing. Haye, who says he actually likes the talk that suggests he is “running scared” from Briggs, has explained his situation to IFL TV.
Reigning WBC welterweight champ and two-weight king Danny Garcia has not had anything that could be called a stellar year here in 2016. The unbeaten 28-year-old has boxed just once, winning a competitive 12-round decision over Robert Guerrero in January, and is set to face Samuel Vargas in an anticipated mismatch next month. Compared to previous years, when “Swift” took on and defeated quality fighters such as Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, this year has been one big disappointment.
Former WBA heavyweight champ David Haye, who was soundly out-pointed in a disappointing challenge of Wladimir Klitschko way back in 2011, says that should Anthony Joshua fight Klitschko next, it will be the 40-year-old ex-champ who is soundly beaten – maybe even disqualified! Speaking with Sky Sports, Haye said he feels Joshua “wins that fight easily.”
Klitschko-Joshua has not yet been made official, but promoter Eddie Hearn has said numerous times how the fight is “close” and an official announcement should be forthcoming soon. But Haye sees only one winner, and it’s the man he wants to fight; hopefully next summer at Wembley.