Kelly Pavlik Vs Bernard Hopkins: The Lion Vs The Tamer

Andy GrannellContributor IOctober 15, 2008

Bernard Hopkins is not getting any younger, Kelly Pavlik knows this, Hopkins friends and family know this. Do you think he knows it? Not a chance. He wouldn’t be taking this fight if he did. On paper Bernard shouldn’t have chance.

The veteran is 43 years old, arguably ten years past his prime and is 2-3 in his last five fights. His body may have aged but his heart is as young as ever. Kelly Pavlik on the other hand is at the other end of the spectrum.

The 26 year old has left a wake of destruction in his path, knocking out almost all comers and sending out a message to the boxer world, that the knockout artist is for real.  There is one problem for Kelly Pavlik however, how do you knock out Bernard Hopkins?

The answer, it’s simply not possible, not with the way Hopkins fights. Bernard has perfected the art of defensive boxing, frustrating his opponent, taking them out of their game and throwing shots at the right moment. This was evident in his last bout against Welsh man Joe Calzaghe.

Bernard was winning that fight right up to the closing rounds and it was there his age became evident. He was simply outworked, not able to throw the same volume of punches as the much younger fighter.

There were many positives to take from that fight for Bernard though, he still has serious punching power and can still go twelve rounds with a younger fighter. The problem is Kelly is a lot younger then Joe Calzaghe and hits a lot harder.

The undefeated 26 year old from Youngstown, Ohio has made his name knocking out the likes of Edison Miranda, Jermain Taylor and Gary Lockett. His style is undeniable. He comes forward and doesn’t stop attacking.

To add to this his jab is world class and he has proved he can go the distance against top level opponents. In his second meeting with Taylor, “The Ghost” proved he has all the tools to be an elite boxer as he wore him out for a well earned decision.

What was interesting about that particular bout was it was fought at 164 pounds, four pounds over Pavlik’s usual weigh he competes at.  A question lingering around the boxing community is will pavlik be the same animal come October 18th as the bout will have both fighters weigh in at a catch weight of 170 pounds.

This is where this matchup becomes very intriguing as Pavlik was unable to put away Taylor in their second meeting at 164. It will be the toughest night of Kelly young career as Bernard Hopkins is going to make Kelly fight his fight. Up close, gritty and slow.  Kelly is going to have to out work a man that won’t let him work. 

There is a distinct possibility Kelly’s speed will not crossover to 170 and Bernard Hopkins will be the stronger man. Will the lion be tamed or will he prove his worth by beating the master in Bernard Hopkins? It’s a win-win for Bernard and one thing is for certain Kelly better come prepared.