A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Hopkins Decisions Wright
All three judges scored the bout 117-111 (twice) and 116-112 for Hopkins. BASN scored the bout 117-112 for Hopkins.
“It was a tough fight, a very close fight,” Hopkins said. “Winky is tough, and he kept coming. He knows that I respect him a lot. I had no ill intent. It was all good for both gentlemen, and boxing is back.”
Hopkins and Wright entered this fight under the perception from the media that their bout would be boring. Wright is difficult to hit. Hopkins is a counter puncher. Wright hasn’t knocked anyone out since February 2002. Hopkins hasn’t won a fight by knockout in several years.
But both fighters managed to put forth a good showing and why shouldn’t they? Hopkins, the former undisputed world middleweight champion converted light-heavyweight, made a division record of 20 defenses of the world middleweight championship. Hopkins is the only fighter to have knocked out Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad. Hopkins has a very rough and rugged style. Hopkins is very aggressive and he can box well on his toes too.
Hopkins, also known as “The Executioner,” fought a very skilled southpaw in Wright. Wright’s right-hand jabs and peek-a-boo style frustrated opponents. In recent years, Wright had twice beaten “Sugar” Shane Mosley to become undisputed world junior middleweight champion before moving up to middleweight to beat Felix Trinidad and battle world champion Jermain Taylor to a draw.
Hopkins jumped at the opportunity to beat one of the better skilled boxers, as Wright moved up two weight classes from 160 to battle Hopkins at a catch-weight of 160 pounds.
Hopkins has fought many bigger and stronger men than Wright — Robert Allen (three times), Antwun Echols (twice), Howard Eastman, Syd Vanderpool, and the list continues. Hopkins is also one of the most effective fighters to take on southpaws. Hopkins knew Wright couldn’t hurt him and it showed.
From the opening round, it was clear that Hopkins looked to attack Wright using the right hand. Hopkins carefully selected different angles to fight the often hard-to-hit Wright. Hopkins threw combinations and proved to be very effective.
In round three, an accidental head butt opened a gash on the left eye of Wright. Suddenly Wright increased his pace with a sense of urgency. Hopkins did what he said he would do and that was to make Wright fight. As Wright pressed, there was a lot of holding and clinching from close quarters as if both fighters were trying to outmuscle one another.
The clinching and holding aspect had to have favored the bigger Hopkins, as Wright was clearly tired in the tenth round. Hopkins did a good job of controlling the fight as his pace and deserved the victory.
What’s next for Hopkins?
Hopkins more than likely will not again until 2008. It would be interesting to see if he’ll continue to fight as a light-heavyweight or challenge the winner of the upcoming Joe Calzaghe vs. Mikker Kessler fight at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Whales. More than 70,000 are expected to be in attendance and already 17,000 tickets have been sold for what could be the biggest fight in the history of the 168-pound class.
Hopkins has also been called out by WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. There is also interest in a 1993 rematch with former middleweight rival Roy Jones, Jr.
Hopkins’ Nephew Shines on Undercard
Demetrius Hopkins, the nephew of middleweight great Bernard Hopkins, fought on the non-televised portion of the event. Demetrius (27-0-1, 11 KOs) knocked out Jaider Enrique Berrio (11-3, 7 KOs) in the first round.
Hopkins has fought professionally since May 2000. Demetrius he has been brought along very slowly. After seven years of fighting professionally and at 29 years of age, Demetrius is finally in a position to challenge for a world title. Hopkins is currently the No. 2-ranked junior welterweight contender by the IBF.
Paulie Maliginaggi recently won the IBF 140-pound title from Lovermore N’dou in June. Although there is talk of Malignaggi looking for a fight with either Dimitry Salita or Arturo Gatti conqueror Alfonso Gomez, Hopkins is the highest-ranked contender in the IBF and should be considered a mandatory challenger.
Demetrius is one of many good young prospects at 140. There is also Junior Witter, Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, and perhaps the most recognizable of them all Ricky Hatton.
More Undercard Results:
WBO interim lightweight champion Michael Katsidis remained unbeaten, but it wasn’t easy. Katsidis (23-0, 20 KOs) survived a series of lacerations on his face, but managed to win the WBC interim lightweight championship following a 12-round unanimous decision against Czar Amonsot (18-3-1, 10 KOs). Katsidis scored knockdowns in rounds two and ten. The scores were 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112.
Former super middleweight world title challenger, the tough and rugged Libado Andrede (25-1, 19 KOs) stopped Ted Fuller (19-11-2, 9 KOs) in the second round. In March, Andrede failed in his bid to capture the unified WBA/WBC super middleweight championships from Mikkel Kessler.
Jorge Linares (23-0, 15 KOs) won the WBC interim featherweight title with a 10-round knockout of Oscar Larios (59-5-1, 37 KOs).