Last week I wrote an article previewing the Pavlik-Hopkins fight, reaching the conclusion that Pavlik, while still largely untested, probably had more than enough to handle the aged Hopkins. After all, Hopkins was in his mid-30s when he unified the middleweight crown in 2001, and now it was seven years, and several defeats later.
But something happens when you hit your 40s. You start getting smarter. You start knowing things that you didn't know when you were in your 20s. And one of the ways your get that way is by listening to those who are older than you. As it turns out Pavlik should have done just that.
Anyone who shelled out the $50 had the opportunity to hear about two-dozen sound-bytes from both fighters, but the most telling was one from Hopkins when he talked about seeing the look in Pavlik's eyes the first time he realizes he's been lied to..."he's not fighting an old man."
It didn't take long to find out that Hopkins spoke the truth. He kept Pavlik off balance from round one on by scoring first and scoring often. The photo that accompanies this article is a fine example of what on all night long: Pavlik missed, and Hopkins scored. The only thing that happened more often was Pavlik not doing anything and Hopkins scoring.
Of course the official score was foolishly too close, as Hopkins won almost every one of the 12 frames, but then again boxing officials must score the fight at a disadvantage: where we have instant replay and multiple camera angles, they have no brains.
After the decision was read, Hopkins spoke to Pavlik in his corner, encouraging him to get a little slicker, and to dominate the 160 pound division the way he had when he ruled the middles, (warmly reminiscent of Alexis Arguello encouraging Ray Mancini after knocking him stupid).
If Pavlik has learned anything from this fight, it should be to listen and hang onto ever word Bernard Hopkins says.