I must admit when I heard that Kelly Pavlik the Middleweight Champiion of the world had decided to fight the great Bernard Hopkins I began to panic.
You see I am not particularly impartial, I am a big fan of Kelly Pavlik. He reminds me of a white Thomas Hearns but with a much better chin. These first years of Kelly's career as the middleweight king are probably the most important of his career. With this in mind why would you take any chances with a crafty all-time great at the end of his career?
I can only assume that Hopkins sees something much like Max Schmeling noticed the flaw in the armor of Joe Louis. Once Joe fired his powerful jab and began to pull it back to his guard he dropped it slightly on the way back. Schmeling was able to capitalize on this and knock Joe out with a series of amazing right hands over the lazy jab. Does Hopkins see a similar flaw?
This is really the only chance that Hopkins has. He cannot keep up with Kelly's workrate and frankly wont even try. He attempted to hang with Calzaghe which was the reason for his eventual loss. Kelly has a rock solid chin (when he isn't sticking it out for Jermain Taylor). Kelly always comes in in amazing condition I mean we've all seen the training regimen on the Countdown series.
Kelly has no chance to knockout Hopkins, or does he ? Lets think about this for a moment. Hopkins has fought and knocked out some historically big punchers. Both Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya attempted to remove the crown from Bernard and failed.
What is important to note here is that both were coming up in weight. Felix started his career at Welterweight and Oscar at Super Featherweight. Did they bring their power to the Middleweight division? It seems unlikely. Kelly on the other hand is a natural middleweight with a very strong punch. His frame is large enough to support much more weight so we shall see when he plateaus.
So does Bernard have much of a chance here? The statistics say no. He's brilliant, he's amazingly rough on the inside, but we all grow old sometime. And boxers generally grow old overnight.