image from HBO Sports
Bernard Hopkins is set to challenge IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud for his title on Saturday night.
It is increasingly tough to predict the outcome of Hopkins' fights. He still appears to have the savvy and instincts to remain competitive, but you have to wonder when he, at 48 years old, will have an elderly moment in the ring.
I predicted in my preview that Cloud would win by split decision, but if this were an NFL-style confidence pool, the prediction would be numbered around a four.
In an effort to gauge what others in the know think about this fight, I went digging for predictions.
Here's what I came up with:
Brandon Krause—Boxing Trainer
ESNEWS' YouTube channel got Krause on camera to discuss his training of a few young Golden Gloves hopefuls, but they also got him to give a prediction on Cloud vs. Hopkins.
Take a look at the video below. He starts to discuss the fight at the 1:00 mark. He agrees with me and picks Cloud to win.
Krause seems a little on the fence with this one as well. He makes a good point about Hopkins' motives and strategy at this point in his career. Hopkins knows he can't actually take the fight to his opponents, so he aims to make a messy, hard-to-score affair that he'll hopefully win by close decision.
Fighting on a world-class level at his age is a victory in itself, but is this still an approach that produces an entertaining fight?
If this were a lesser-known fighter or someone 10 years younger, the answer would be no. But because we're talking about a future Hall of Famer pushing 50, it's a novelty act.
Jean Pascal—Light Heavyweight Contender and Former Hopkins Opponent
Pascal gives his prediction for the fight and says he sees Hopkins coming out on top. Check out the video:
While it isn't crazy to pick Hopkins to win, one must wonder whether Pascal's pride led to this prediction. After all, Hopkins defeated him in May 2011 to become the oldest man to win a major championship.
Who will win Saturday night's fight?
How would it look if Pascal predicted Cloud to down Hopkins? Some could conclude that Pascal would then be implying that a potential future opponent is even better than a man who already beat him.
I'm sure that violates some unwritten law of acceptable fighter behavior.
In Andrews' preview of the fight, he says, "I would love to see Hopkins lay a beating on Cloud, but I anticipate a good paced fight, with Cloud coming out on top as his youthful aggression and power will win the fight in a 12-round decision."
This may accurately describe the sentiments of many Hopkins fans. Even the most ardent supporter has to be anticipating the day Hopkins loses his battle with Father Time.
To his credit, he has kept the inevitable at bay better than any other fighter in history. The end is near. The only question is whether Hopkins will fall hard or fade away with respectable losses.
Saturday night's bout could ultimately be the biggest indication of just how Hopkins' legendary career will end.