â†µAnd so, it would seem, they have. Despite a lackluster, often tedious victory in which he was floored in the first round, Calzaghe’s star is ever ascendant in the boxing world after his grabfest with Hopkins, with HBO analyst Max Kellerman calling him the second best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and with what is shaping up to be a superfight scheduled for November 15th between Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. â†µâ†µ
â†µMeanwhile, the overwhelming public assessment of Hopkins’ performance is that he should retire, an opinion seconded by none other than his head trainer, Freddie Roach. One might be inclined to interpret some recent news to mean that BHop is going to do just that, as it emerged in the last 24 hours that Bernard has made it clear he is not interested in what certainly would be a big-money rematch with Felix Trinidad. Tito’s team is pursuing a showdown with Jermain Taylor instead, while Hopkins’ future remains uncertain. â†µâ†µ
â†µAs a Philly guy I’ve always stood by Bernard and found him great entertainment in the boxing ring, even at his most foul-filled and elusive best. Though I think he lost Saturday night’s fight by a landslide, I admit that he’s right about it in one respect – he definitely made Calzaghe look bad. For a 43-year-old fighting a man of the Welshman’s abundant talents, that’s no small achievement. â†µâ†µ
â†µAnd yet making someone look bad is not winning a fight. Calzaghe accepted the fact going in that this was not going to be one of his beautiful performances à la Jeff Lacy or Mikkel Kessler. But he did what he had to do to win and on my scorecard at least he won handily. Other than the flash knockdown in round one, not a tremendous amount of damage was done by either man in the fight, and that being the case it’s very hard indeed not to give the decision to the man who relentlessly came forward the entire night and overwhelmingly threw the greater number of punches. â†µâ†µ
â†µThat said, you can understand Hopkins’ frustration, because he was not conclusively beaten by any means. Generally when there is no stoppage in a bout you want the decision to favor one fighter having clearly imposed his will upon the other, and that simply didn’t happen Saturday night. Even at 43 years old, Bernard is too wily, too skilled and, well, just too willful to let that happen. And trust me, if Calzaghe couldn’t manage it, I’m not sure there’s a fighter on earth who could. â†µâ†µ
â†µThis is something that Bernard knows in his heart, and in that no one loves the thrill of the battle more than he does, you can imagine how difficult it is for him to contemplate leaving the game once and for all. But if he doesn’t, I fear he’ll be in for a string of these kinds of inconclusive disappointments, fights where very little of consequence happens and where he loses the same narrow decisions to younger, more active fighters and finishes the night in the same angry press conferences repeating the same cries of outrage and disbelief. As someone who’s followed him for a long time, I must say I dearly hope he does whatever he needs to do to avoid such a fate. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.