We heard Bernard Hopkins the weeks before his latest masterpiece--before painting Tavoris Cloud in a corner, and not letting the younger man do anything he wanted at Barclays Center on March 9--tell us that he was looking forward to beating Cloud, and thus ending Don King's business.
Cloud became King's top client as Ricardo Mayorga drifted toward semi retirement and Devon Alexander jumped to Golden Boy. Hopkins told us that when he beat Cloud, that would be the end of the King Era.
I thought of that after Hopkins had his hand raised in Brooklyn and the 48-year-old hitter reminded all about his quest to finish off The Don (pictured in Hogan photo, above, with Cloud days before Hopkins schooled the younger man) at his post-fight presser.
On the way out of the building, I joked with Allan Hopper, King's PR man, that Hopkins still had some work to do to nail the coffin shut on King. King has a few guys in his stable, still, including 38-3 cruiserweight Guillermo Jones, of Panama. Jones fights Denis Lebedev, who holds the WBA cruiser title, on May 17. Also, to bury Don, Hopkins would need to go to heavyweight, and take out Bermane Stiverne, another King fighter, a Bahamanian with a 22-1 mark. He meets Chris Arreola, in a WBC title shot eliminator, on April 27. Yessir, Don stays relevant if Stiverne beats Arreola, because he'd likely get a crack at WBC champ Vitali Klitschko.
Oh, and King has a pretty fair junior welter, in Cuban Angelo Santana (12-0 with 9 KOs) under contract as well. I give Hopkins immense credit, always, but think I'd do the unthinkable, and bet against the old man to be able to head down to 140 pounds, to truly finish off The Don.
Yep, this burial party was premature; King will leave the business on his own accord, I think. He's mellowed, sure, but enough of the fighting pride is left that he'll not be ushered out of the arena till he's damn well ready.