This Saturday night, a living legend will step into the ring with one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Bernard Hopkins will be facing his toughest test since he moved up in weight, while Kelly Pavlik will be fighting his toughest opponent so far in his career.
It will be an interesting matchup for sure.
When they meet, Pavlik will be 10 pounds heavier then he has ever been before for a fight. Will this affect the way he fights? Will he be able to keep his work rate up? Honestly, I would have to answer no to both of these questions.
Pavlik is a large middleweight, and moving up to light heavy isn’t going to affect him or his stamina. He stands at 6'2" inches, which is a large frame for someone who fights at 160 pounds. He has an incredible work rate, and I don’t see the weight affecting that at all.
Will he have to change his work rate because of Hopkins masterful defense? He will have to be a little more cautious due to Hopkins counter punching ability. I think he just has to be smart about when and where he throws flurries and combos.
Normally age would be a factor, but as we all know, Hopkin's body knows no age.
Hopkins—at age 43—doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. Hopkins is still one of the best boxers around, but he tends to fight a little more cautiously when he is fighting someone his own size.
A prime example of this is both fights against Jermain Taylor. Hopkins sat back and waited for counter punching opportunities, which never seemed to happen. But when he fought Oscar De La Hoya, who was much smaller, he went after him like a hurt gazelle.
The biggest task at hand for Pavlik is to force a veteran like Hopkins to fight in a different manner then he wants.
Let’s be honest, for a long time, Hopkins fights were ugly and boring. That was until he fought Trinidad. Since then, he has tried to make the fans happy by being more productive in the ring. While he didn’t do it against Taylor, he did against Oscar De La Hoya, WinkyWright and Antonio Tarver.
With Pavlik constantly pressuring Hopkins, will Hopkins stand there and brawl or will he try to counter punch? Personally, I would like to see him sit in the pocket and exchange with Pavlik, but I doubt that will happen.
Come Saturday, we will know if the extra weight hurt or helped Pavlik. Will Pavlik beat B-Hop? I honestly don’t know, but I, for one, am looking forward to seeing this fight.