Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Officer and a General

Retirement is supposed to be for the elderly who have paid their dues. In the world of boxing, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins has paid his dues. No, he has never been beaten ala Arturo Gatti or knocked senseless ala Bob Satterfield. He has, however, executed brutal victories from Philly to Vegas. He often looks the winner even when pronounced the loser.

For the current middleweight king, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik, all his victories have been emphatic; even if he has taken some nasty bumps along the way.

At a prep rally in Youngstown, Ohio, a horde of 600 fans of the hometown hero, Pavlik, showed their support. Hopkins did not repeat the "whiteboy will never beat" phrase that endeared him to many US and UK fans when he met his last conqueror, Joe Calzaghe. In fact, he was rather complimentary of his future adversary.

“A good general always respects his enemies,” said Hopkins.

But the young commander-in-charge was eager to remind everyone why he's the best middleweight around.

“For me to go in there and not only beat him, but do it convincingly with maybe even a late round stoppage, it’s probably the biggest accomplishment you can get in your career,” Pavlik said, matter of fact.

But Hopkins' trainer, Nazim Richardson said that while Pavlik is a champion, Hopkins is a legend.

While it's hard envisioning the ageless Hopkins mauling the younger Pavlik, stranger things have happened. Let's just hope the winner of this fight allows for only one king and fight Arthur Abraham, possibly the most dangerous middleweight after Winky Wright.

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