CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Hopkins wins — And We’re not talking Bernard
Hopkins lost his only attempt at a title against Kendall Holt and as a fighter, he is closer than Arnoutis to the top. On Friday night, both fighters moved up to welterweights to see if they can make an impact in a big money division.
Hopkins began the first round with a game plan and showed the discipline of executing that plan from the first minute to the last minute of the fight. In the first round, he boxed around the smaller Mike Arnoutis.
In the past, Hopkins have always found himself being tentative and believed that this cost him against Holt. Against Arnoutis, he didn’t have to be too offensive but simply allow his opponent to move in while nailing him with swift combinations.
His jab controlled the real estate and his opponent return jab was ineffectual. This went on round after round.
By the fifth round, Hopkins connected on three times as many punches as Arnoutis while throwing twice as many. He simply dominated the fight by using his jab that disrupted Arnoutis’ attack.
His best round has the sixth as he was able to connect his straight left near the end of the round but throughout most of the round, he had to find a way to slip past those jabs.
In the eighth round, Hopkins became more aggressive and forced Arnoutis on his heel but in the process, he got nailed with a few counters. The rest of the fight, he continued his boxing and simply won the fight going away.
The judges had the fight 99-91, 99-91 and 100-90.
The scores reflected the fight as Hopkins showed that he is in the top ten of welterweights but for Arnoutis, he failed once again to make the big move toward the top.
Arnoutis’ problem is that he has yet to show that he can beat a top ten fighter and his career have settled into a being a good fighter but not one that will challenge for a title.
He is slowly evolving into a gatekeeper, a fighter whose young prospects must show they can beat if they are to make their own more. As for Hopkins, he is put himself in contention for a title shot against some of the champions like Andre Berto or even a bigger money fight against a Shane Mosley, an old but still good hall of fame fighter.
In the opening fight, lightweight prospect Francisco Contreras fought Erick Cruz. Contreras came into the bout not only undefeated but was the bigger fighter. He had fought as a junior welterweight whereas his opponent spent his career as a featherweight and junior lightweight.
In the opening round, Contreras took advantage of his height as he threw quick combinations, going to the body and moving up to the head. Cruz did not use his jab effectively to get inside the taller Contreras and simple became vulnerable to the punches coming in his direction.
In the third round, Contreras wobbled Cruz with a right hand but he did not go down and recovered to continue his pressure style. In the fifth round, Cruz managed to nail Contreras with a solid right that shook up the young prospect.
He managed to shoot his right over a Contreras left hand and as Contreras moved straight back, he got caught. This impacted him as he moved from a more aggressive approach and boxed, taking advantage of his height.
By the end of the seventh round, fans started to boo as they were hoping to see Contreras knock out his opponent but saw him boxing.
In the eighth round, Contreras attacked and seek the knockout that fans looked for. He threw punches in desperation as he fought as if he needed a knock out to win. Cruz used his experience to deflect many of the punches but he was ineffectual in countering.
Contreras simply could not stop his opponent and had to be satisfied with an easy decision. Two judges gave Contreras every round and the third gave Cruz two rounds but that was more charity than reality since Contreras was dominated throughout the fight.
The real question is whether this fight showed Contreras is a prospect or someone with much more to learn. He has been in with soft opposition and could not stop a fighter who was not only a smaller fighter moving up in weight but a fighter that he easily out punched.
Contreras did not show that he is ready to move beyond prospect and his career is still potential yet realized.