The perverts, freaks, and republicans are gonna be out in record numbers this Saturday, as apparently not one, but two Ghosts have managed to find their way into a title card in Jersey. The venue? Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, a veritable crap-hole in main event boxing locations, but pleasant nonetheless, a perfect setting for a washed up has been to meet and combat a highly likely never will be.
The first ghost comes true to form, a wizened old gap-tooth with an iron chin from Philly by way of the Graterford State Penitentiary. He’s lost three of his last fights and like many of his predecessors, the aging Bernard “the Executioner” Hopkins is refusing to stay down. The question now becomes whether, at 43 years old, “ the Executioner” can conjure up enough juice to find his own chair.
Regrettably, during his last fight with the modestly hard-hitting Polish puncher Joe Calzaghe, Hopkins, on repeated occasions could not manage to find the chair in his own corner. Hey, it happens. But multiple times in the same fight? Calzaghe packs a punch, but this was just goddamn stupid and nothing if not a flashing neon sign that Hopkins' better days are long behind him.
And who’s this young whipper-snapper Hopkins is up against? None other than a 26 year old throwback to the great Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, another stoic pasty guy from Youngstown, Ohio, the appositely named Kelly “the Ghost” Pavlik. While Pavlik has an impressive record of 34-0, the list of high tier fighters he’s faced has a staggering sum of three and even those guys weren’t all that great.
Not to worry though. The kid’s got some moves including a respectable right, and an obstinate ring ethic. Apparently he trains in a tractor factory or something. So if anything we know if he doesn’t make it as a boxer, the kid's got alternatives.
So there you have it. Has Hopkins enough old school wisdom to knock this young punk on his butt? I say, “Who cares?” If he does, it proves that Pavlik is a product of the corrupt marketing and bogus promoting Hopkins has been fighting against his entire career and he never should have taken the fight in the first place.
Exposing frauds is hardly the legacy he should be trying to leave at this point. On the other hand, a victory for Pavlik will do little more than confirm the obvious. It’s high time Hopkins use all the scratch he’s made in boxing to get his teeth fixed and start working out his application to the George Foreman school of geezer-boxer broadcast journalism. Then he can alloy with poets like Larry Merchant and finally get some meaning out of life.
The one absolute about this fight is that it’s going to be nothing if not completely boring. No matter how old Hopkins gets, no one can seem to knock him out. As his virulent offense has slowed down over the years, he’s become an increasingly difficult counterpuncher with an impermeable defense.
And of course someone with the boxing intellect and ascetic mindfulness of Pavlik just simply knows better than to try and one punch Hopkins. If Pavlik can manage to floor Hopkins, it will definitely be in the later rounds, long after both of them should have gone home and found something more constructive to do.
Either way both of these jerks are getting three million dollars win, lose, or draw and I can’t even afford to order the fight. And with that, I'll leave you with a quote from my hero, the late great Hunter S. Thompson.
“It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die."
Enjoy the fight.