Bernard Hopkins made his way through the ESPN car wash today, appearing on just about ESPN show in existence. He capped the day with an appearance on Friday Night Fights, which beamed a signal from the Reno Events Center in Nevada. It turned out that Hopkins' tangle with Teddy Atlas was more compelling than the talents of the supposed upper tier American heavyweights on display.
The Executioner talked about how he was able to become the oldest man to win a title, and said the key was maintenance, watching what he ate 24-7. (I watch what I eat; I watch it go from the plate, to the fork, to my mouth, to my gut. One day, I will secure 20% of Hopkins' discipline in this area and I will be a slimmer, trimmer winner.) Hopkins said that he wasn't posturing when he and Pascal beefed during press conferences, that he truly took umbrage when Pascal accused him of taking PEDs. Hopkins admitted that he looks for psychological advantages when he signs the contract for a bout. The boxer explained that he took shots at Donovan McNabb because he is still the present, not the past like McNabb. He also said he was a bit nervous while he waited for the decision in Montreal last weekend. He explained his pushups before the round began, saying he decided that he'd get into Pascal's head by showing him that he was fresh.
Hopkins chatted with Teddy Atlas, and busted his chops for saying the week before the bout that it was possible that Pascal would stop Hopkins. Atlas didn't let the chopsbust lay; Atlas said Pascal wasn't busy enough, and telegraphed his shots. he then lauded Hopkins as a pros pro, a master of basics.
"At 46, you're taking advantage of what's there or in some cases, what's not there. I think that's very fair to say. Would you agree with that Bernard?" Atlas said.
"No, I don't Teddy. What I agree with is that I have the ability to make a guy fight my fight. That's a part of strategy," Hopkins answered.
Atlas wouldn't give up. He called Hopkins "terrific" but said Pascal wasn't throwing straight, wasn't using his jab, was only fighting in spots. Atlas said that guys in this era simply don't measure up, that they don't even master fundamentals.
These two could argue for a month and neither would give ground. This was some compelling TV, for the hardcore fight fan anyway. TSS Universe, you agree with Atlas, or Hopkins, or what? Frankly, sorry for being a Libra, but I agree to a degree with both men. Hopkins is a snake charmer in the ring, and Pascal absolutely cooperated by not working hard enough, not making the 46 year old push his body to the max.
Hopkins said he will fight Chad Dawson in the fall. Hopkins said he looks forward to Dawson having Emanuel Steward in his corner. The vet said he can look mellow but can explode. "I won't understimate him...I know he's going to be better than he was on the undercard," he said. He laughed when it was pointed out he has some grays in his beard, and said he was against dye-ing.
"I am the Archie Moore of this era," he said, and then looked at some video of Moore fighting.
Chris Arreola (age 30; from Riverside, CA; now 32-2 ) got the nod in the main event at the Reno Events Center. Weighing in at 236 pounds, tight and trim for him, Arreola met Kendrick Releford (living in Texas; age 29; now 22-16). This was Arreola's second fight in 13 days; he beat Nagy Aguilera KO3 on May 14. He looked sharp, though Releford is usually in catching mode, so that helps anyone look good. Arreola admitted that he liked the trimmer torso, because it helped him with his head movement. Atlas said he likes Arreola at this weight, maybe a couple pounds more or less.
Releford took a knee, off a left uppercut, in the sixth. He'd eaten a lot of clean shots, and certainly earned his check. His dad was working his corner, for the record. The ref saw enough in the seventh, after a right uppercut-left hook combo landed on a clearly gassed Releford. The end came at 2:43.
In the TV opener, Maurice Harris (24-14-2 entering), age 35, took on Tony Thompson (35-2; age 39) in a heavyweight eliminator. The winner would get to fight Eddie Chambers, and the winner of that fight would fight a Klitschko. The lefty Thompson kept Mo at bay with a jab, and then got to work in close early on. He scored a knockdown off a right hook which Mo didn't see in the second. In the third, Mo went down again, off a minor right to the chin. This occurred as Teddy Atlas said, "Does he want to stand up, that is the question?" TT clubbed Mo, who went to the deck from fatigue with 1:15 left. He got up, but had the look of a man who didn't want to be in the ring, so the ref stepped in and halted the affair, a TKO, at 1:51 of the third. Not sure what is going on in Mo's life but his desire wasn't in the room.