ATLANTIC CITY -- Greetings from south Jersey fight fans, where the Blog is coming to you live from Boardwalk Hall. We're four rows from ringside, not close enough to get doused with sweat from a clean headshot (it happens) but just close enough to notice the layers of
I have to admit, I wasn't too high on this fight when it was announced. On the surface, it seemed like such a blatant money-grab. Hopkins, while still a popular fighter with PR skills that improve by the day, is 43 and a shell of the man who ruled the middleweight division for nearly a decade. Never the aggressor, in recent fights Hopkins has settled for 10-15 second flurries followed by 45-50 seconds of clutching and grabbing. Not only is that style not aesthetically pleasing, but it is rarely successful: Hopkins 2-3 record in his last five fights is evidence of that.
Still, this fight has some compelling storylines. First, Hopkins has never been KO'd and the power-punching Pavlik (alliteration, anyone?) stands as the best chance to be the first one to do it. Second, it will be interesting to see how a young Pavlik will handle a crafty, tactical veteran like Hopkins. Pavlik loves the big shot; throughout his career Hopkins has been adept at avoiding it.
So there's that.
Still, I'm taking Pavlik in this one. The fact that Pavlik is roughly a 5-1 favorite had me thinking during the entire 2 ½ hour drive from New York to Atlantic City about tempting fate with Hopkins, but I just can't bring myself to bet on a guy who will need to turn a prize fight into a Greco-Roman wrestling match to win. I just can't.
So there you have it, folks. Let's get to blogging.
Both fighters are clutching now, it's turning into a Hopkins-style fight. Another series of clean shots by Hopkins. Pavlik just can't seem to snap off any combinations.