Last night in Atlantic City, boxing fans got a lesson from one of the great teachers in the history of the sport. Bernard Hopkins put on a clinic in an overwhelmingly one sided victory over Kelly Pavlik.
The fight was never close and Pavlik was out of the fight by the third round. It appeared as if Pavlik was fighting in quicksand and his arms were almost too heavy to lift. He was sluggish right from the get go was beat up pretty bad through all twelve rounds. I did not score one single round for Pavlik as Hopkins took home the unanimous decision.
Bernard Hopkins looked like he found the fountain of youth. The 43 year old dominated a guy that is 17 years younger than him. He made him look like a very average fighter in doing soon. The game plan that Hopkins had was worked to perfection and there was never any doubt of who was in control. His hand speed was great and his defense was one again top notch. He stayed away from Pavlik, who was never able to get off any hard shots.
Kelly Pavlik after the fight had no excuses but did say he felt sluggish and had a hard time getting his punches off. To me, he almost looked unprepared. Maybe the thought of being the first guy ever to knockout Hopkins was all he wanted to do. I believe he thought his youth would serve him for the best and he would wear down Hopkins. After the first round, it was obviously not the case. The big right hand of Pavlik’s was nowhere to be found and his left jab wasn’t working either. Hopkins neutralized every single weapon of Pavlik’s.
I looked at this fight as a lose lose for Kelly Pavlik. He didn’t have much to gain, except for a nice paycheck, unless he pulled off that KO of the future hall of famer. That didn’t happen so it will be very interesting to see what happens next in the career of Pavlik.
One sided fights like this can do a lot to the career of a prize fighter. Many guys have fallen of the radar after getting manhandled the way Pavlik did. Other guys have come back better than before and went on to very successful careers.
Kelly Pavlik could have easily quit during the fight, a la Samuel Peter from a few weeks ago. That isn’t in the makeup of Pavlik. The biggest asset Pavlik has is his heart, not his lethal right hand. I believe this is just a bump in the road for the middleweight champion. Defeat makes true fighters even hungier to be the best. Pavlik is still only 26 years old and learning. He’ll get back in the gym, work on a few minor flaws and come back in a few months better than ever.