It’s the classic battle of youth versus experience. On October 18th the wise and experienced Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (48-5) will take on the young undefeated middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost" Pavlik (34-0). The keyword there is middleweight champion. The upcoming fight will not be at the 160 lbs. middleweight limit, but rather at a catch weight of 170 lbs.
Kelly Pavlik’s rematch with Jermain Taylor in February of this year was at a catch weight of 166 lbs., and many people thought he did not have the same usual knockout power carrying the extra pounds. Could this be a sign of things to come Saturday night?
As expected, Pavlik’s camp thinks nothing of the weight limit. They feel Pavlik’s frame is more than capable of carrying the extra pounds, and they feel it will nothing but benefit Pavlik in his relentless attacking style. They plan to continually work the jab to setup the right hand.
Of course in the rematch with Taylor, Pavlik was not able to double up on his jabs, therefore never setting up that big right hand. Many believe that was due to the extra weight he was carrying. This led to the fight going to the judges’ scorecards for just the fourth time in Pavlik’s pro career.
If anyone can relate to moving up from dominance in the middleweight division, it’s Bernard Hopkins. He holds the record for longest reigning middleweight champion and the most title defenses. Now at the age of 43, he has moved up in weight classes and fought some of the best in recent years, such as Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, and Joe Calzaghe.
Hopkins’ most recent fight in April of this year resulted in a split decision loss to the undefeated champion Joe Calzaghe. Despite knocking Calzaghe down in the first round, Hopkins was unable to escape the ever pressing attack of Calzaghe.
Calzaghe is an attacking fighter, much like Pavlik. The major difference is the fact that Pavlik has one punch knockout power. That could be the difference in this fight, if Hopkins is unable to ward off Pavlik’s right hand.
We must also note that Pavlik was put on the boxing map by knocking out, the then, undefeated middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. As I mentioned, then went on to defeat him in the rematch. Hopkins has also fought Taylor twice. The difference here is that Hopkins was defeated both times by decision. Can Hopkins change the tides and defeat the opponent who knocked out the man who already beat him twice?
Hopkins is still today known as one of the best defensive fighters in the game. Pavlik is known as one of the most powerful with 30 knockouts in 34 fights. Will Pavlik be able to handle the extra weight and effectively hunt down the ever elusive Hopkins?
Or will Hopkins' experience and grave boxing knowledge prevail against the younger powerful Pavlik? Either way it is two of boxing’s best going at in on October 18th. So tune in and check it out!