As the executioner stands at the gallows, he peers out to the crowd. Tired and weary he ponders the life he has chosen.
The most feared figure in the town, his myth perpetuated by the fact his visage is covered by a dark cowl.
Ghosts of victims past haunt his psyche and hold his thoughts hostage.
For a man who commands fear can also be controlled by fear.
This may serve as the philosophical way to look at the upcoming fight between Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins and Kelly "Ghost" Pavlik.
A look at Pavlik:
As the Ghost runs through his home of Youngstown, Ohio on his daily training regime he sees not only the road ahead but another challenge.
In 2007, Owning a perfect 34-0 record, no other boxer's star shone more brightly than his.
His assent is the type of thing that causes boxing historians to peer out of their history books that document past heroics and take note.
Can this ghost haunt the executioner?
Pavlik can do it all, every type of punch at any angle.
This fight is being held at a catch weight of 170 pounds, 10 pounds above the middle weight limit. Pavlik's training regime has consisted of strength increase exercises and bulking-up routines.
Thus, if the regiment is followed correctly it should make this power puncher stronger, that’s a scary prospect.
Pavlik should avoid being drawn into the quicksand of a fight on the inside. He needs to create space and tee off, much in the same way he did with Jermaine Taylor.
However, Hopkins is much better at cutting of that ring than Taylor or most other boxers at the moment.
The key to victory is in Pavlik’s punching power and ratio of punches per round. Make the veteran struggle to keep up with the high tempo and punish his body.
This was a strategy that garnered Joe Calzaghe a win, albeit a controversial one.
Hopkins is famous for his fabled cast-iron jaw; this is where Pavlik must use his strategy.
If you punish the body the head will fall, and Pavlik needs to remember this.
A Look at Hopkins:
Behind this hardnosed boxer is a relentless drive and desire.
Hopkin's desire lifted him from the depths of prison to the heights of the boxing elite. The Executioner is not just a nickname that was given to him, it was earned.
At 43 years old, are his best days behind him?
Victories over Winky Wright and Jermaine Taylor would suggest otherwise. The last blot on his record was against Joe Calzaghe. Despite his loss, he could still pull his weight against the world's ranked pound-for-pound elite
Hopkins must muddy this fight, make it into a brawl and slow down the tempo. Counter punching will also be key. As we saw in the fight with Taylor, Pavlik can get overzealous.
The result in that fight was Pavlik hitting the canvas.
Jermaine Taylor will never be classed as one of boxing’s smarter, technical fighters. This was a fact Emmanuel Steward echoed in the pre fight hype before the Taylor/ Winky Wright showdown:
“He just never listened in the gym to what I was trying to teach him.”
Hopkins can capitalize on Pavlik's weakness where Taylor could not.
Pavlik hasn’t been in many high profile fights. Even with 34 fights under his belt, he hasn’t fought the caliber that Hopkins has been in with.
Hopkins needs to control this fight and show the bite he had in his younger days.
Can Hopkins turn back the hands of father time for one more fight?
We will just have to see.
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