Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2 32KO) (aka BHop, The Alien, The Executioner) makes (what he claims) to be a final ring appearance this Saturday, December 17th. At 51 years of age, his “prime” years are behind him, but does he have enough in the tank to grab one last win before hanging the gloves up?
Hopkins sports a record that looks like a who’s who list of dominant fighters from the last two decades. He’s been in the ring with the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Joe Calzaghe. . . . . this list continues, but I’ll let you research that yourself. There’s nothing his opponent, Joe Smith Jr., can do in the ring that Hopkins hasn’t encountered before. Hopkins’ chin is perhaps his greatest asset, having never been stopped throughout his career, despite the elite level opposition he’s been in the ring with. Combine his chin with his defensive style designed to minimize damage and irritate the opponent into making mistakes, and Smith is starting to look like he’s at a pretty big disadvantage.
Enter Joe Smith Jr. (22-1 18KO), a young, good old fashioned blue collar worker who boxes as a hobby and for a little extra money on the side. That is until he stopped (then) highly ranked Andrzej Fonfara in the first round. That upset win landed Smith this fight, along with a high ranking at light heavyweight. Smith’s power is his greatest asset going into this fight, with his youth being a close second. If he is going to have a chance against Hopkins, he should be using an approach similar to Kovalev’s during his match with Hopkins, measured but constant aggression. Make Hopkins feel old, make him realize that his body isn’t what it used to be.
My pick: Hopkins by decision, Smith’s boxing isn’t as refined as Kovalev, so if Hopkins can avoid Smith’s power, he should be able to cruise to a victory. This is boxing though, so anything can happen!
What are your predictions? Let me know below, or on Twitter @TheGreatToddMan.