How do you feel about this? Could you warm up to this matchup? Could Mosley do the impossible, the unthinkable? Are you crushed that Juan Manuel Marquez didn't get another crack? Sad that Manny didn't go for his ninth belt in a ninth class, maybe against Sergio Martinez?
Four thousand turkeys were distributed near King’s Deerfield Beach, Fla., headquarters, fanning out to the cities of Miami, Little Haiti, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach; over 5,000 birds were handed out in King’s birthplace city of Cleveland and in nearby Orwell, Ohio; and 3,000 turkeys were made available to those in need in both New York and New Jersey.
“Of all the traditions I have taken part in during my life, none has brought more joy to me than the spirit of giving that takes place during our annual Turkey Tour,” King said. “No matter how good or bad it is perceived to be for most Americans during the holidays, there are always people in need. It has been my experience that a turkey on the table brings families and communities together with much joy.”
Every year it seems the last three months provide the most riveting action for the sport of professional boxing. This year especially as elite boxers showed what they can do in a number of bouts.
Here is a list of the best performers and performances that took place in 2010: Fighter of the Year Sergio Martinez, the middleweight champion of the year, arrived from Spain several years ago to compete “with the best fighters in the world” after beating most everyone outside of the United States. He was looking to prove his ability and eagerly agreed to meet hard-hitting Kelly Pavlik for the middleweight world championship. In that fight he decisively beat the Ohio slugger. Then without hesitation he accepted a rematch against the much feared Paul Williams. In less than two rounds the Argentine knocked out Williams with a left cross. Nobody had ever stopped Williams.
“I came here to prove I belong with the very best boxers in the world,” said Argentina’s Martinez.
Martinez, 35, knows he doesn’t have much time remaining in his career and is going for broke to meet and hopefully beat those considered the best in the sport of boxing. He arrived at just the right time.
Others who deserve mention are Indio’s Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao, Andre Ward and Robert Guerrero. Best Fight of the Year Of all the exciting fights we saw this past month the Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana junior welterweight clash had the most drama. It was one of those beginnings where it looked like Khan was going to cruise to victory then slowly it reversed. Maidana clubbed his way back into the fight and fans were on the edge of their seat wondering if Khan could hold off the savage assault of the Argentine. It was a great fight on Dec. 11.
A close second was Humberto Soto’s 12-round title defense against Urbano Antillon in a lightweight rumble that was like watching two rams going full speed against each other. The match took place in Anaheim on Dec. 4.
In third place was this past weekend as the old wizard of boxing Bernard Hopkins fought to a majority draw against Canada’s Jean Pascal who holds the WBC light heavyweight title. Most felt Hopkins won easily though the judges in Canada scored it a draw. Once again Hopkins proves a master boxer in the ring. He’s 45. Best Round of the Year Round 10 between WBC lightweight champ Humberto Soto and challenger Urbano Antillon on Dec. 4 at the Honda Center exemplified boxing at its best. Both 135-pounders refused to wilt under a barrage of punches that would have made other fighters seek shelter. It made fans squeamish yet it was amazing to watch. It was a great example of how two technically proficient fighters can make brutality almost look like art. Best Knockout of the Year With a single left hand Sergio Martinez proved superiority over Paul Williams with finality. Williams was short-circuited and could not get up for 30 seconds after that blow. Martinez had predicted before the fight that he would knock out Williams who had never been stopped before. The replay of the knockout showed Martinez putting his whole body behind that overhand left and Williams doing the same thing. Martinez reached him first. Upset of the Year Jason Litzau beating Celestino Caballero has to rate the biggest upset of the year. Litzau was a decided underdog against Panama’s Caballero, who was unable to obtain a fight with the other featherweight champions. Minnesota’s Litzau took the Nov. 27 fight and showed that with heart and self-confidence an athlete can do wonders. The junior lightweight from St. Paul was ecstatic following the fight. Rightly so.
Most exciting fighter Alfredo “Perro” Angulo
Every time the Mexicali boxer steps in the ring fans can expect Angulo to look for a decisive win. Angulo’s wins against Joel Julio and Joachim Alcine were brutal affairs that saw the Mexican fighter trace his opponent’s movements like a heat-seeking missile. Both ended in impressive knockout wins. Angulo is having legal problems right now but that doesn’t take away from his accomplishments in 2010.
Michael Katsidis, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez also deserve mention in this category.
Every time Katsidis steps in the ring you can bet the Aussie is going to go hard. He doesn’t have a reverse gear and fights to win no matter who it is. He doesn’t believe in survival mode. It seems every time Katsidis is in the ring you can expect to get your money’s worth.
Pacquiao could have hit and moved when he fought Antonio Margarito but preferred to give the fans a treat and attacked the taller and stronger Mexican. Pacman took some unnecessary lumps in doing so and should be truly commended for his willingness to trade blows. His speed is exciting alone but his heart is amazing too. One of the greats.
Marquez used to have a safety-first style in his younger days, but you can throw that out the window. Now he takes many more chances and has proven that his technical prowess along with his fighting spirit has not weakened one iota. Best Technical fighter It’s close between Hopkins, Marquez and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But with Hopkins going on 46 years of age next month I’ll defer to experience. Hopkins not only fought Pascal to a disputed draw this past weekend, but he also beat old nemesis Roy Jones Jr. decisively to avenge an earlier defeat of 16 years ago. The Philadelphia boxer does so many little things in the ring that go unnoticed. Look at the fight of this past weekend and watch how he slips Pascal’s left hook by moving into the blow instead of away from it. Most boxers would try to duck under it or block it. The Canadian boxer was baffled. Most inspirational Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero’s ability to halt all training to assist his wife battle leukemia and then go back into training to fight the best prizefighters in the world successfully is legendary stuff. He’s a great fighter and an even greater person.
Honorable mention goes Yonnhy Perez of Colombia who spends most of the year here in Southern California pursuing his dream. He has a large family back in his country and uses boxing to feed and house all of them. Contender of the Year Miguel Angel Garcia quietly moved into the Riverside area and just as quietly moved into the number one spot as a featherweight contender. His boxing skills are no longer remaining a secret as he eliminates fellow contenders one by one. Garcia had five big wins including four by knockout in 2010. Top Rank’s Bob Arum has Garcia pegged for a title bout in 2011 possibly against Cuba’s Yuri Gamboa. That should be a great fight.
The young featherweight is knocking on the door of a world championship. It just might be the year of Garcia in 2011. Best six-round fight Usually I don’t consider fights of less than 10 rounds for special recognition. But a fight that took place at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario between Colton’s Artemio Reyes Jr. and Alan Sanchez of Northern California was one of the most memorable in years. The crowd was mesmerized by the two boxers who battled like their life depended on it. It was great stuff on June 18. Reyes showed more defensive skills and won a razor close split decision. Best four-round fight Since I’m mentioning six rounds, might as well take a look at the four-round fights too. Ramon Valadez, a hard-charging junior welterweight slugger from East L.A. and Oscar Andrade, a southpaw slinger from L.A., both met at Club Nokia with identical 1-0 records. After four brutal rounds Andrade emerged the winner but the two fought ferociously like two alley cats for four rounds. Fans went delirious from the action.
The eminent philosopher Leon Spinks considered the draw a fair and honorable result in a close fight.
“Nobody win, nobody lose, and everybody get to fight another day,” explained Neon Leon.
Let’s see: According to a WBC communication which landed on our desk two days after Saturday night’s affair in Quebec City, Jean Pascal is still the light-heavyweight champion and Bernard Hopkins is still the “Emeritus Champion.” (The coveted Diamond Belt presumably remains vacant.)
Everybody ought to he happy, but instead of celebrating the 45 year-old Hopkins’ achievement in pulling out a draw after falling hopelessly behind on the scorecards, the residue of the last big fight of 2010 is a bitter aftertaste. Prompted by B-Hop’s whining, his supporters have embraced the position that the majority draw represents a larceny of the first order and that anyone who disagrees must be a “hater.”
On Monday Hopkins, through his publicist, circulated a press release in which the decision was labeled a “robbery.” (In a fight that was in every estimate extremely close, a win by either man would have been controversial, but it’s hard to understand how anyone can get this worked up about a draw.)
The Hopkins partisans cite the fact that the Canadian crowd booed the decision as evidence of impropriety, but knowing what we do of Quebecois boxing crowds, it seems likely that many of them were booing because they thought it was Pascal, having Hopkins on the canvas three times before their eyes, who had been robbed.
In the rush to jump on the B-Hop bandwagon it has been widely assumed that American judge, Steve Morrow, who scored the fight 114-112 for Hopkins, got it right, and that Claude Paquette (Canada) and Danny Van de Wiele (Belgium), who both scored it even, were guilty of either wholesale corruption or rampant homerism in arriving at their conclusions.
Ringside judges are charged with scoring each round independently. The three officials hand in their scorecards after each round. They don’t maintain running totals. Those are added up by the local commission (in this case the Cousee de Quebec) at the fight’s conclusion. Judges do, of course, have a general idea of how their scorecard stands, but it’s the rare judge who is such a mathematical whiz that he remembers exactly how his scorecard stands, and the notion that Paquette and Van de Wiele decided to play “Switzerland” and deliberately rigged their scorecards to come up with even totals is pretty absurd.
We’re in no position to argue with the decision one way or the other. We weren’t there, and watched most of the fight with the sound turned off. But a post-mortem analysis of the three scorecards is in this case particularly instructive.
Van de Wiele, for instance, probably overstepped his bounds in recording only a 10-9 edge for Pascal in the first round, despite a knockdown. That score might be justifiable if Hopkins had literally thrashed his opponent for every portion of the round save the knockdown, but that was clearly not the case. Rather, it would appear that the Belgian judge decided that the knockdown was questionable even though Mike Griffin said it was, and elected to editorially overrule the referee. In doing so he would have been exercising a latitude which isn’t supposed to be within a judge’s purview. If the ref says it’s a knockdown, it’s a knockdown.
Van de Wiele, it should be noted, evened things out with a mid-course correction in which he scored the tenth round even.
But in examining the three scorecards, Paquette and Van de Wiele appear to have at least been watching the same fight. The rogue card, if there was one, was actually the one belonging to Morrow, who was all over the place.
All three judges had the same fighter winning in each of six rounds. Rounds One and Three went to Pascal on all three cards; all three judges gave Hopkins Six, Seven, Eleven, and Twelve.
The judges disagreed on the remaining six rounds, and in five of them it was Morrow’s card that diverged from those of his colleagues. The American gave Hopkins three rounds (Two, Five, and Eight) the other two both thought Pascal won, but he also gave Pascal two rounds (Four and Nine) everybody else thought Hopkins won.
Had Morrow scored either the second, fifth, or eighth for Pascal (and none of those would have been a stretch), he, too, would have come up with a draw. Instead, by what can only be termed a happy accident, his inconsistent card adds up to 114-112 and he finds himself being praised as the only honest one of the bunch. Does that make sense?
By the way, though it may have only marginally affected the scorecards, it’s interesting to note what a clubhouse lawyer Hopkins has become in his old age. Constantly complaining to the referee would have at one time been antithetical to his very nature, sort of the fistic equivalent of running to the cops.
Like the carping of a demonstrative basketball coach, B-Hop’s mid-ring pleas for law-and-order can produce its desired effect. In the absence of Hopkins’ howling, Griffin might have ruled a third knockdown (in the fourth), which would have put the issue out of reach. On the other hand, if Bernard Hopkins gets rabbit-punched once a week for the rest of his life he’ll still be way ahead in that department.
Freddie Roach says Mosley won't be easy, and Larry Merchant told us a few days ago that Temm Pacquiao considered Mosley the stiffest test of the final three in consideration, the other two being Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto. Mosley has looked close to shot recently, and is 2-2-1 in his last five. We tend to trust Roach explicitly, so we'll try our best to totally respect his stance.
At age 39, with excessive mileage on the tires--the guy has been fighting for 31 years!--can Mosley give Manny a run for his money? Or is this just a run for some money, the last big adios payday?
The outcry from that fight led to an immediate rematch between Hopkins and Mercado, which took place April 29, 1995, less than five months from the original fight. With fight stats from Saturday night clearly in his favor, as well as the majority of media reports and fan outcry backing Hopkins' assessment of the outcome, a rematch between Hopkins and Pascal should be scheduled immediately.
"I knew if they could they take it from me they would and now that I have had the chance to review the fight on tape, I clearly know I won that fight," said Hopkins. "Jean Pascal, his corner and all of the Canadians in the arena and on television know I won the fight too. The crowd was loud in the beginning but the silence was deafening as I dominated Pascal from the middle rounds all the way to the end of the fight. After the last round Pascal went back to his corner with his head and hands down. I am sure he is still hanging his head today to think he let a 45-year old man beat him up the way I did. If I were him, I would want to redeem myself and my reputation immediately after what happened Saturday night."
For Hopkins it was a brillant performance in front of a sold out crowd at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada as well as for the millions watching on SHOWTIME® in the United States, on pay-per-view in Canada and around the world. Complementing his argument for an immediate rematch are the statistics behind the bout which reflect the pure genius of Hopkins' intense execution of his own game plan and his destruction of Pascal's. Hopkins threw a total of 445 punches, of which he landed 141 power shots, more than 50% of the 270 he threw. Pascal threw 100 less punches than Hopkins with 353 total shots, but landing only 85 of the 196 power shots he threw.
"Again it is crazy to think that a 45-year-old fighter like myself threw and landed more punches than this so-called young gun, the current champion and still I am not given the win," said Hopkins. "Watch the tape. The poor guy was running scared, winded and backing up from round six and on. He seemed to just be holding on for dear life. But he knows what happen in there and he has to live with it too. The film doesn't lie but I bet he doesn't even watch the tape so he, and all his people around him, can tell him something other than the truth. He lost the fight."
Hopkins continued. "The whole thing is bad for boxing, bad for Pascal and especially bad for Canada. Pascal knows he should do the right thing and fight me as soon as tomorrow."
16 years earlier Hopkins got his rematch and convincingly defeated the Ecuadorian to capture his first middleweight world champion.
"Pascal is a hard punching, a young gun you gave it his all Saturday night," said Hopkins. "But he is 18 years younger than me and that speaks for itself. It showed Saturday night too by just getting a draw, which everyone knows is really a loss, against a 45 year old man. If this guy has a backbone and wants to walk around with his any kind of dignity and self-worth, the only thing he can do is fight me again. If that was me I know that is the only way I could really live with myself."
If you come into a young man’s hometown, get knocked down twice in the first three rounds (even if only the second was legitimate) and fall five points behind in a title fight it’s not a robbery when they don’t give you the decision. Of course, it’s also not right that they didn’t because Hopkins won without much question eight of the final nine rounds and deserved the 114-112 nod US judge Steve Morrow gave him.
The proof of that was twofold. First, not even Canadian-born judge Claude Paquette could in good conscience give Pascal the decision. Neither could Belgium’s Daniel Van de Wiele. What they could do though was simply stay out of it even though their job is to be into it.
Those two chose to play Switzerland rather than perform their only function (that we know of) at ringside Saturday night and judge the fight, opting instead to both call it a draw. One had it 113-113 while the other saw it 114-114. Either way Pascal had reason to celebrate Christmas a week early because the result was a majority draw and hence he retained his now diminished title.
The second bit of evidence that this decision was like someone pulling a wallet out of an unsuspecting innocent’s coat in a crowded arena was that over 16,000 Canadian’s booed lustily when the outcome was announced even though it allowed the hometown hero to retain the WBC’s version of the 175-pound title.
Hopkins, to be fair, lost nothing but the opportunity, as he put it last week, “to join the 7-foot lady’’ in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest fighter in history to win a legitimate world championship. Of course, that assumes you consider the WBC legitimate, which is a subject for another day and certainly not for the holiday season.
What the non-loss provided Hopkins was what he likes best: a chance to portray himself as victimized by the world in general and boxing in particular. In this case he’s right but enough already with that song.
“This was a sure enough robbery,’’ Hopkins said. “This is what hurts the sport.’’
It doesn’t help but what actually hurts the sport is that a 46-year old fighter can come into the hometown of a 28-year-old world champion, be hit in the back of the head once and have it called a knockdown and then get dropped by two legitimate left hands two rounds later and still end up not only beating said champion but making clear that he wanted to win more than the champion did.
In recent years the wily Hopkins has been forced by the unavoidable consequences of age to slow down his pace in fights. He always picked his shots carefully even as a young man and went about his work in the ring with the same stealth he once used to operate in the streets of Philadelphia.
But against Pascal, Hopkins knew he was in early trouble and so chose to simply outwork his younger opponent, tearing into his body with enough hooks to the liver and kidney to make Pascal a quite unwilling participant in the second half of the fight.
That allowed Hopkins to display what was for him a furious pace, outworking Pascal and out fighting him. In the end, Hopkins would throw nearly 100 more punches (92 to be exact) and land 66 more than the younger man. More significantly, over the final few rounds, the ones where championships are most often decided, he came forward and pressured Pascal while the latter seemed to be saying, “If you want it that bad…well, here.’’
“He looked tired from the sixth round,’’ Hopkins (51-5-2) claimed. “He was gasping. He held every time I got close and I just kept coming forward, throwing punches. I dominated the fight. Look at his face. Look at mine.’’
Visual evidence is often, though not always, significant both in robberies and boxing matches and so it was Saturday night. By the end of the evening Hopkins looked pretty much the way he had at the start while Pascal’s face was red and swollen on one side and he seemed decidedly underwhelmed by what had just transpired.
“I thought I won,’’ Pascal (26-1-1) said sheepishly, knowing he was fortunate Joe Isuzu wasn’t doing the interview.
“I thought I won…(“He kicked my ass but, hey, I’m Canadian!),’’ Isuzu would have muttered.
“It’s not that he’s that good (Just good enough to beat my butt all around Quebec City for a half hour or so!),’’ he would have admitted.
Whatever the truth of Pascal’s thoughts about what had happened at the Pepsi Coliseum, Hopkins was not hurt either by Pascal or by the result. He left without another belt but he’s already got enough belts to open an accessories shop in Philly if he wanted to and the fact is he was unlikely to ever defend it anyway because at 46 that’s not what it’s about any more.
For Bernard Hopkins it’s about getting paid and getting off on slapping around young kids like Pascal, who don’t know how much they don’t know about boxing until someone like Hopkins comes in and gives them a very expensive tutorial on prize fighting.
Saturday night Hopkins got both and that’s what is actually bad for boxing. Not Hopkins himself because he is one of the few recognizable names the public has left in the game and he is enjoyable for anyone who appreciates the dark art of pugilism because he is a master at its many sordid details.
Watching Hopkins work on an opponent is like watching a master wood carver transform a block of fir into a carved-out sculpture. It is art with a brutal twist.
But the artist was not robbed Saturday night in Canada. He just had his pocket picked. By boxing standard’s that’s barely a misdemeanor.
Holyfield (43-10-2, 218 KOs) will defend his World Boxing Federation heavyweight title against battled-tested veteran Sherman “The Tank” Williams (34-11-2, 19 KOs) in the 12-round main event.
“Redemption In American,” presented by ARK Promotions in association with The Greenbrier, will be distributed in North American by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 9 PM/ET 6 PM/PT on both cable and satellite pay per view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, Avail-TVN and DISH Network in the United States, as well as Viewer’s Choice and Shaw PPV in Canada, for a suggested retail price of only $29.95.
“Redemption” will fuse world class boxing and entertainment; showcasing a production that includes high-energy music presented by Broadway performers, along with dancers and aerial artists. Competitive supporting fights, soon to be announced, will set the stage for the main event featuring Holyfield on his journey to become the first heavyweight champion to regain the coveted world title four different times.
“Our show will be a one-of-a-kind event – real pain, real boxing, real entertainment,” ARK Promotions president Rick Lazes said. “Redemption is about America and Evander Holyfield on the road back to the top. America’s down but not out: Americans are winners, not quitters. Just like when we put a man on the moon; when we are challenged, we are at our best, so don’t ever count us out. Just like America, Evander will show the world that he still has what it takes to rise to the challenge.
“This show is a feel-good story about America and Evander Holyfield. It opens with a performance of Ray Charles’ ‘America,’ by Tony award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays the lead in the upcoming Broadway play, ‘Unchain My Heart,’ chronicling the life of Ray Charles. The audience will see a collage of America’s beauty and strength, including the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Statue of Liberty, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Marilyn Monroe, etc. All this will accompany Brandon’s amazing live performance of ‘America.’ I guarantee that it will give everyone goose bumps. The evening continues with non-stop boxing action, complimented by high-energy musical entertainment. It’s going to be a night to remember. No one has ever seen boxing presented like this before. If I were David Haye, I’d be counting my days as world champion.”
Holyfield has fought and beaten a virtual Who’s Who of the heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions during his Hall of Fame-bound, 26-year pro career, including world champions such as Mike Tyson (twice), George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, James “Buster” Douglas, John Ruiz (twice), Hasim Rahman, Chris Byrd, Pinklon Thomas, Michael Dokes, Dwight Muhammad Qawi (twice), and Carlos De Leon. Holyfield’s last fight was a win by eighth-round technical knockout against Frans Botha (47-4-3) last April for the vacant World Boxing Federation crown.
Williams, a native of Freeport, Bahamas, has defeated former world champion Al “Ice” Cole, fought multiple world title challenger Jameel McCline to a draw, and extended former world heavyweight titlist Ruslan Chagaev the full distance in their 2005 fight. Williams is a rugged heavyweight who has never been knocked down so expect an action packed fight to the finish.
Packages include event tickets, hotel accommodations plus tickets to the Greenbrier Classic PGA Golf Tournament in July and tickets to two concerts starring Tim McGraw and Keith Urban. Ticket/hotel packages can be purchased beginning at $575.00 per person at www.greenbrier.com or by calling 1.800.453.4858. Deadline to book reservations is Jan. 21.
Doors open at 6 PM/ET, first bout at 7 PM/ET, and first PPV fight at 9 PM/ET, 6 PM/PT.
MOST EMBARRASSING HIGH-PROFILE MISMATCH OF THE YEAR: Vitali Klitschko vs. Albert Sosnowski for the WBC heavyweight “championship.” Sosnowski had never fought, let alone beaten, a world-class fighter. Last year, he fought to a draw against Francesco Pianeta. Eight months before that, he lost an 80-72, 80-72, 80-72 decision to journeyman Zuri Lawrence. Lawrence has fifteen losses on his record and has been knocked out eight times. WORST STOPPAGE OF THE YEAR: Referee Gelasio Perez Huerta's fourth round stoppage of Lucas Matthysse vs. Vivian Harris in Mexico City. One punch, not very hard, and the referee stepped in. How bad was the call? So bad that there wasn’t any controversy over it Everyone with a brain agreed that it was just plain wrong. SILLIEST CLAIM BY A FIGHTER'S REPRESENTATIVE: The assertion by Leonard Ellerbe (Floyd Mayweather’s business representative) that there had been no negotiations for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. THE “THIS WILL MAKE THE ANTITRUST LAWYERS HAPPY” QUOTE OF THE YEAR: To Oscar De La Hoya, who told Ben Grossman of Broadcasting and Cable magazine, “I commend UFC for what they have done in such a short period of time. They are the only real player in their category, the mixed martial arts world. We [Golden Boy] need to sign all the talent and get all the TV dates. Then you can have your own agenda. You can do a monthly PPV, a bi-weekly HBO fight. When you have five or six promoters, it's very difficult.” BRAVEST CORNERMAN OF THE YEAR: Herman Caicedo, chief second for Shannon Briggs, when Briggs fought Vitali Klitschko. Honorable mention to Robert Garcia for his work with Antonio Margarito in Pacquiao-Margarito. HEADLINE OF THE YEAR: “Sulaiman Urges Calzaghe to Confront Cocaine Problem” (Headline we wanted to see in response: “Calzaghe Urges Sulaiman to Confront Obesity Problem”). THE NATO AWARD (No Action, Talk Only): To David Haye, for talking big and offering nothing but gobbledy-gook as an explanation for why he was ducking the Klitschko brothers. MOST ILL-CONSIDERED DECISION BY A REFEREE: Arthur Mercante’s handling of Cotto-Foreman. IRONIC STATEMENT OF THE YEAR: Jose Sulaiman (at the March 11th press conference in Dallas for the Pacquiao-Clottey undercard): “Whoever knows me knows that I speak the truth or I don’t speak at all.” – It was duly noted by those in attendance that Sulaiman’s remarks were brief. AWARDS OF THE YEAR: To the NABF, which bestowed the following honors for the reasons quoted herein: (1) Promoter of the Year – “Square Ring kept the career of the legendary Roy Jones Jr. alive. Promoting fights between Jones and Omar Sheika and Jeff Lacy led to much bigger bouts for Jones against local hero Danny Green in Australia and a long-awaited grudge match against Bernard Hopkins.” (2) President’s Award: “Gale Van Hoy’s long and meritorious contributions to the organization are tremendous. Each year he runs a memorabilia auction that raises funds for the NABF treasury. Van Hoy is quick to assist in any endeavor that will enhance the reputation of boxing in general and the NABF in particular.” INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD AWARD: To Bernard Hopkins, for suggesting that Manny Pacquiao is reluctant to fight “a top-notch black fighter" because the styles that African-American fighters bring “from the streets” would be successful against boxing’s reigning pound-for-pound king. Hopkins is already fondly remembered for declaring “I would never let a white boy beat me” before losing to Joe Calzaghe.
THE "DO YOU REALLY EXPECT US TO BELIEVE THAT" STATEMENT OF THE YEAR: To Wladimir Klitschko. When every network in the United States passed on Wladimir’s title defense against American Eddie Chambers, Team Klitschko arranged for a pay-per-view webcast on Klitschko.com, and Wladimir issued a press release that read, "I enjoy working on the computer and I am very interested in new technologies. I like the idea that we are pioneers with this new technology.”
THE IL PAPA DOC AWARD: To Jose Sulaiman, who was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as “the longest-serving president of a world sports organization.” Sulaiman’s reign as WBC president (thirty-five years and counting) is well behind the benchmark for monarchs set by Ngwenyama Sobhuza II of Swaziland, whose reign dated from 1899 to 1982. King Sobhuza had seventy wives and 210 children. However, none of the children is believed to be as charming as Jose’s son, Mauricio.
ADVICE OF THE YEAR AWARD: To whoever tells Emma Bowe that, if she wants to “help” Ricky Hatton, she should shut her big fat mouth.
Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at email@example.com. His most recent book (“Waiting For Carver Boyd”) was published by JR Books and can be purchased at http://www.amazon.co.uk/ or http://www.abebooks.com. Hauser says that Waiting for Carver Boyd is “the best pure boxing writing I’ve ever done.”
Hopkins asked the media not to downplay his foe if he won, and he damn well deserves that respect. After a rough early going, he got the old bones and joints lubed, and put Pascal in a trance. Can we question Pascal's gameplan? Sure; but only minimally, because Hopkins, with his mind games, and with his superior ring generalship, rendered the Canadian the lesser being after the weak start. After, Hopkins said, "The world seen it..I had the guy beat up, he was the guy holding. I'm the older guy, c'mon man. That's not right, man. I won every round..."
He said the first knockdown wasn't legit, a "a back of the head shot.
"I dominated the fight..look at his face, look at mine," he said. How about a rematch? "I'm too dangerous for everybody. This was a sure enough robbery. I took him to school." He said he got screwed, because he was in Pascal's territory. "I believe I won, I know I won," he said.
Pascal said he thought he won, and said Hopkins fought "ugly, dirty." He said he didn't get a gift from the judges. "If he want a rematch, anytime," he said to Jim Gray post-fight.
"I think I did enough to win the fight," he said, as Gray told him he lost.
Judge Steve Morrow had it 114-112, for Hopkins, while Claude Paquette saw it 113-113, a draw, and Daniel van de Wielle had it 114-114, for a majority draw. But it was the Philly man, who has forgotten more than virtually anyone else has learned, who owned the second three quarters of the scrap. We don't need any judges to tell us how to view this effort. You bet against, or write off Hopkins at your own peril. To you all, to Hopkins I say: never again. Even if he gloves up in 2016, against the latest young gun, I'm not going to go there. It's not prudent.
Pascal (26-1 entering; from Haiti, and living in Quebec) weighed 174 3/4, while Hopkins (51-5-1; from Philly) was 174 1/2 pounds on Friday. Hopkins made his way to the ring first. He was booed like he just said that he came from spitting on the grave of Rocket Richard. The vet wore a balaclava, rather than a more ornate executioner mask, as he soaked in the boos, and fueled himself with the derision. To add to the moment, an old crooner belted out "My Way" as he walked behind Bernard to the ring. Michael Griffin reffed, and had a more than respectable outing.
In the first, Pascal circled the huge ring. He wanted Hopkins to lead. A counter left by Pascal and a solid right to the ear both told Hopkins that Pascal wouldn't just jab and run to a win. A right to the side of the head, as Hopkins crowded him, sent Hopkins to the mat at the end of the round. He grinned as he sat on his stool. This was the first time he'd been down in 16 years.
In the second, Pascal again wanted Hopkins to lead early. Bernard got more comfortable, landing and clinching. But a leaping left by Pascal gave the crowd a buzz to end the round.
In the third, Pascal backed Bernard up at times, and then circled, and waited patiently, and dictated the tempo. A left hook put Hopkins down with 30 seconds left, as he got caught as he was about to counter, in close, once again. Hopkins threw for two seconds after the bell ended the round. Did he not hear the bell in a loud building?
In the fourth, Hopkins ripped hooks and rights to the body. But when he missed, he missed big. He went to the mat again off a right hand. Again, he wasn't looking, and got clipped. But it was a foul, behind the head, clearly. This round, Pascal worked after the bell.
In the fifth, Hopkins' hook had zing. Was Pascal respecting the elder too much? Pascal slipped a shot, and delivered a right hand that landed clean at the end of the round, to cap a decent round for each man.
In the sixth, Hopkins' jab wasn't a factor early, despite a plea from trainer Naazim Richardson to use it. He landed a right counter which backed up Pascal at 1:50. Pascal made Hopkins miss a good deal, but didn't make him pay. He needed his corner to offer a Plan B. He was running too much from an "old" man.
In the seventh, Hopkins scored with the left hook. His hand speed was superb, for a twentysomething. Another round for the canny vet. The crowd reacted; they were church-quiet.
In the eighth, a right by Hopkins sent a signal that he would be in charge this round too. A left counter scored, but Hopkins grinned and mugged. Pascal finally awoke from the trance in this round. It was a close round, in a close fight, and the fans sat quiet, contemplating the unexpected.
In the ninth, there was some hot action. Hopkins slammed home a right cross at 1:20. Again, a tight round.
In the tenth, Hopkins scored with left hooks to the body, and lead rights as Pascal edged close. Pascal scored clean but the oldster refused to crumble. Sneaky quick Hopkins shook his head, maintaining he wasn't bothered by anything. "Keep attacking," trainer Marc Ramsay told Pascal.
In the 11th, Hopkins was ripping with the meaner shots. Pascal looked weathered. Pascal went down, but from tangled feet with 15 seconds left.
In the 12th, Hopkins came out flurrying. He threw lead rights, came forward, scored with hooks.. 45??? A right counter by Pascal was sharp. They traded, and the house went ballistic. We'd go to the cards.
Hopkins went 171-445, to 105-353 for the hometowner.
SPEEDBAG George Chuvalo, Lucian Bute and Glen Johnson sat and watched live. ---Our own Bernie Fernandez scored from press row for Showtime, and saw it 115-112 for Bernard. ---Antonio Tarver said he wouldn't argue with the decision, but he had Pascal winning. Al Bernstein said, "Hopkins won in perception..I think that the decision is not an absurd one." He had Hopkins up a point. How about you, TSS Universe? Lay it out in the BRAND, SPANKING NEW FORUM, BABY! Comment on this article