19.4.08

Round by Round: Joe Calzaghe vs. Bernard Hopkins

The broadcast is off and running with Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman hyping tonight's bout between Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins. Max suggests that if Floyd Mayweather is upset by Oscar De La Hoya later this year, the winner of this one will be considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Emanuel Steward ponders whether or not Calzaghe's lack of experience fighting in the U.S. will be a factor, and a video segment takes viewers inside JoeCal's world. Calzaghe says he wants to retire undefeated - no easy feat when you take on the likes of Hopkins, even at his current age.

Steward thinks B-Hop may have trouble with Calzaghe's speed. Now there's some discussion about the mind games Hopkins has been trying to play, and Kellerman states that this fight turns racial stereotypes of boxers on their heads. The next video package explores the mental aspect of Hopkins' game in more detail, including his treatment of the Puerto Rico flag before he fought Felix Trinidad and his "white boy" comment in the build-up to tonight's fight.

Celebrities at ringside include Whitney Houston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jay-Z, Jim Belushi, Pete Sampras, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sir Tom Jones handles the national anthem of Wales, while Ray J. does the same for the U.S.

The tale of the tape shows Hopkins with a slight height advantage and Calzaghe with a slight reach advantage. They both weighed in at 173 pounds.

Calzaghe makes his way to the ring, and the announcers say that while his fans have traveled well, he doesn't have the same fanatical following as Ricky Hatton. Hopkins gets a mixed reaction as he comes in. His robe says "Executioner" but his mask from his early career is definitely missed.

Joe Cortez is tonight's referee. Michael Buffer handles the introductions and we're all set to go.

Round 1

The opening seconds are cautious as the announce team talks about head butts. Calzaghe tries to get inside and they tie up. Joe trying the jab but no dice so far. Hopkins lands a right to the chin and Calzaghe goes down! That didn't look like it hurt him, but it did surprise him. Calzaghe can't figure out how to get in while punching. Joe misses a big left and B-Hop ties him up again. Calzaghe may be bleeding from the nose already. You couldn't script a better start for Hopkins.

Franchise: 10-8 Hopkins
Uatu: 10-8 Hopkins
Spartan117: 10-8 Hopkins

Round 2

Calzaghe has to make Hopkins work or this is not going to be close. Lots of roughhousing in close which definitely favors Bernard. Joe lands to the body but nothing significant. Cortez warns Joe for hitting behind the head and Bernard lands a right coming out of the break. Now Hopkins tries to come in and Cortez calls time for a low blow by Calzaghe. This fight may break the record for most clinches broken up by the ref, and Cortez is earning his money tonight.


Franchise: 10-9 Hopkins
Uatu: 10-9 Hopkins
Spartan117: 10-9 Hopkins

Round 3

CompuBox says Calzaghe has landed no jabs so far. Hopkins hit by a lead left but Hopkins gets an uppercut off inside. Hopkins goes to the body and clinches. Now a left by Calzaghe. Back against the ropes, B-Hop fights Joe off of him. Calzaghe flurries but Hopkins stands his ground. Steward thinks Joe will still get back into it. The announcers say it's a distance game right now, and it's hard to disagree. Left hands in the clinch by Joe and body shots; Hopkins scores with a counter right. Another ugly round that probably favors The Executioner.


Franchise: 10-9 Hopkins
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Hopkins

Round 4

Joe lands a left coming into the corner but nothing else. Hopkins is just masterful at fighting the way he wants to fight. Bernard pawing with the jab; the crowd roars every time Joe scores whether it does damage or not. Cortez warns both men for rough tactics. Now they finally trade along the ropes. Calzaghe tries to duck in and throw the left but that's not working too well. Joe almost finds the range before the bell but still looks too cautious.


Franchise: 10-9 Hopkins
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Hopkins

Round 5

Harold Lederman has this fight much closer than I do. Calzaghe finally finds a home for a few jabs. Hopkins tries to flurry but JoeCal is covered up. Left along the ropes by JoeCal. More clinches. Hopkins comes in to no avail. Bernard not quite as accurate with the counter shots in this round. Big swing and a miss with a JoeCal left. Right to the body by Hopkins but he hasn't done much offensively this round, and Calzaghe lands a left at the end of the round.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Round 6

The Welsh fans start a little singing in-between rounds. Steward says this fight will be difficult to score. Calzaghe's left is becoming more of a factor, but here's a flurry by B-Hop. Both men trade along the ropes in a roughly even exchange. Right by Hopkins answered by a Calzaghe left. Hopkins counters effectively now with a left. Straight left and right to the body by Joe. Calzaghe tries to steal the round with a late flurry and he may have won it anyway.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Hopkins
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Round 7

Left coming in by Calzaghe again. He looks much more relaxed now. Hopkins throwing one punch every time. He comes charging off the ropes but can't find much. The announcers are talking again about how tough the scoring will be. Jab by Joe and right to the body by Bernard. Good counter shots by Hopkins backed against the ropes. Calzaghe tries to surprise Hopkins quickly off the clinch. Both men flurry and come up mostly empty. Big exchange before the bell and Calzaghe almost stumbles down.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Round 8

Now Joe opens up with a flurry. Welshmen starting to get into it again. Jabs landing by Joe as Bernard ties up. Nice left upstairs by Calzaghe. Good counter by Hopkins, then both men land clean. Another left by Joe is answered by a right. Nice combo by Joe and he escapes the return fire. Nice dancing by Hopkins, and it looks like he landed a punch after the bell.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Hopkins

Round 9

Nice right to the body by Bernard. Enzo Calzaghe really laid into his son between rounds. Good left to the head by Joe, then a jab. Flurry both ways along the ropes. Hopkins jumps forward and gets whacked in the side of the head. Plenty more wrestling if you like that sort of thing. Quick combo by Joe, then a hard right by Bernard. Left hand gets Hopkins' attention. Twin lefts by Calzaghe and counter right by Hopkins.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Round 10

CompuBox is having things go more and more Calzaghe's way, not that that means anything. Hopkins goes down but it looks like it was a low blow. Cortez gives Bernard five minutes to recover, but no point deduction seems to be coming. On replay, it's apparent Bernard pulled Joe's head down. It's quite possible Bernard is stalling for time. Calzaghe is loving it, playing to the crowd. It didn't slow Joe down, that's for sure. Hopkins lands a straight right coming in, then another jumping into the body. He's become more aggressive but it may be for naught. Calzaghe tags him coming in this time. Slapping punches both ways. Good lefts but Hopkins stands his ground. Both men let it fly at the bell, mostly for show. Ugly round.


Franchise: 10-9 Hopkins
Uatu: 10-9 Hopkins
Spartan117: 10-9 Hopkins

Round 11

A rare exchange in the center of the ring. Hopkins needs these last two rounds to be comfortable. Calzaghe finds the range coming in. Three clinches in a row. Hopkins pleading about getting hit in the back of the head. JoeCal backs Hopkins up a step. More grappling in the corner and B-Hop tries to plead for another low blow. Cortez says fight on. B-Hop is fired up now. Nice theatrics there by both guys.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Round 12

Left stuns Hopkins as they flurry. I think this one might be up for grabs. Enzo Calzaghe was still spurring his son on. Both men miss as they tie up. Good left by Joe and Bernard tries to counter. Hopkins looking a little more aggressive but it's not all effective. Exchanges along the ropes are mostly for show. Steward seems to think JoeCal's style will play with the Nevada judges. Ten seconds left and Bernard holds on. We'll go to the scorecards now and I wouldn't be surprised by anything.


Franchise: 10-9 Calzaghe
Uatu: 10-9 Calzaghe
Spartan117: 10-9 Calzaghe

Both men play to the crowd as we await the scores. That was more of a chess match than a brawl, but it was not without some drama.

Franchise scores it 114-113 Calzaghe, Uatu scores it 115-112 Calzaghe, Spartan117 scores it 114-113 Hopkins.

The judges score it 114-113 Hopkins, 115-112 Calzaghe and 116-111 Calzaghe. Your winner by split decision and new linear light heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Calzaghe.

Hopkins has a look of disbelief on his face, but that's to be expected. CompuBox had Calzaghe landing more punches against Hopkins than any opponent in his illustrious career. It also had Joe throwing more, landing more and connecting at a higher percentage. Take that for what you will.

Calzaghe says he was not really hurt by the first-round knockdown. He gives due credit to Hopkins for how tough a fight it was, and he admits he was wary of B-Hop's right hand. Joe doesn't think he was hurt at any time in the fight, and he makes a wry comment about the supposed low blow that had Hopkins complaining in the 10th round. He also says he doesn't know who he'll fight next, but does hint at Roy Jones. Steward would like to see that one.

Kellerman does get Hopkins to speak, and he says he was pacing himself in the middle rounds. He says all the fans except the Brits know he won the fight by picking up enough rounds. B-Hop says he was never hurt but did daze his foe several times. He says the fans are the real judges and know he won the fight. They watch the replay of the low blow together and Hopkins keeps pleading his case. Will this be it for him? The Executioner says he'll talk to his Golden Boy partners and let this fight marinate in the minds of the fans.

3 comments:

Limey said...

Thanks guys, you are the best.....ron

Limey said...

Thanks for the coverage guys

The Franchise said...

No problem. I think I speak for all three of us when I say we have fun doing it, and we're pretty happy people care enough to read our take on the fights.