SAN DIEGO – March 9, 2013 – Bernard Hopkins put on a boxing clinic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Saturday, making history by winning a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud in their 12-round light heavyweight fight.
Hopkins broke his own record as the oldest boxer ever to hold a title at age 48, one month, and 22 days. Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) handed Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs), who is 17 years younger than Hopkins, his first defeat.
Referee Earl Brown told Hopkins and Cloud seconds into round one (using colorful language not fitting for a family audience) that he wouldn’t put up with the pair brawling instead of fighting. It was fine by Hopkins, who fought smarter and just hard enough with flurries of combination punches uncharacteristic of his standard brawling style, bolstered by excellent defense and movement. Hopkins made himself a tough target to hit.
“I’m fighting old school in a new world. I had to learn to adapt if I wanted to stay in the game and win,” Hopkins said at the post-fight news conference.
The veteran opened up a cut above Cloud’s left eye in the crease with a strafing left hand in round six, although referee Brown told the judges it was due to an accidental head butt. It was the first time Cloud had been cut in a fight. It ignited the crowd, and made Cloud fight with some desperation, fearing the fight might get stopped.
The fight went the distance, and Hopkins won with judges scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 116-112.
Cloud did connect at times with good shots, but not hard enough and not often enough. The final punch count showed Hopkins landing 41 percent of his punches to Cloud’s 21 percent and landing double the power punches.
“I’m the poster boy for being a clean athlete. Tonight’s fight was so much bigger to me than a win,” said Hopkins, who doesn’t partake in drugs, alcohol, caffeine, or even sugared sodas. He doesn’t sport a single tattoo. But he said he’d treat himself to a piece of cheesecake after the fight, something he did setting the age record when he beat Jean Pascal.
What’s ahead for the new light heavyweight title holder? Post-fight Hopkins told HBO’s Max Kellerman he said to Tavoris Cloud that he “won’t be here for too long, five years.” Later during the news conference, Hopkins said he won’t fight five years, and he might not fight into his 50s, but that he would continuing fighting into the near future.
Hopkins hasn’t been one of the bigger names in boxing, but thanks to his amazing longevity and personal principles, he’s finally getting the attention and accolades he deserves. As he said after the fight, “History outlasts money.” Those of us who admit to being AARP age love seeing “The Executioner” putting it to Father Time.
In the undercard fight, fan favorite Keith Thurman (20-0,18 KOs) dominated Jan Zaveck (32-3-0, 18 KOs) of Slovenia in their welterweight contest. With a 90 percent knockout rate, Thurman had never fought 12 rounds before and no fighter ever really knows how he will fare in the ring going more rounds than he’s used to fighting. Thurman showed good energy and ring generalship. It was a valuable experience for the up and coming coming competitor.
Thurman nearly stole the show at the post-fight news conference when he got into it with Brooklyn born fighter Paulie Malignaggi, telling Malignaggi “Don’t duck me son.” Any meeting will apparently have to wait, as reports have Malignaggi facing WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien Broner, possibly on June 22 at the Barclays Center. Stay tuned for championship trash talking along with any fight that takes place involving these two.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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