On May 21st, Bernard Hopkins won't just be fighting Jean Pascal for the light heavyweight title and a satisfactory resolution of the controversial draw decision in their last fight. He'll also be fighting to break the legendary George Foreman's record as the sports oldest fighter to win a significant world title.
"Bernard has to realize, as I did when I fought Michael Moorer, you must get a knockout."
Hopkins, 46 and dangerous as ever, would break the record Foreman set in 1994 when he shocked the world and defeated heavyweight champion Michael Moorer at the age of 45. Foreman, for his part, wouldn't be too upset, so long as it's a fighter of Hopkins' caliber breaking his record. "He’s probably the only one who could break such a record," Foreman says of Hopkins. "Not only does he possess this big punch to get a knockout, but he’s also a good boxer and at times, a counter-puncher. He can pull it off, no doubt about it." But it's not going to be easy for him. Foreman continues, "Bernard has to realize, as I did when I fought Michael Moorer, you must get a knockout. This fight and the record will not be broken on a unanimous decision. There must be a knockout."
With the Berto-Ortiz fight just days away, we asked the fans to share their predictions on HBO.com, Facebook and Twitter. Berto appears to be the favorite, but not everyone's convinced he has what it takes to get past Vicious Victor. Here's what you had to say:
Many fans think Berto is simply too quick for Ortiz, like Lawrence Henderson, who writes on Facebook, "Berto's quickness and power will damage Ortiz's face around the 6th or 7th Round and KO him for sure!" and @voodoodoc who tweeted, "@AndreBerto should prevail..speed ALWAYS kills!"
Others think Ortiz just doesn't have the heart. Juan Maldonando writes on Facebook, "Berto has heart... Something Victor "Not so Vicious" lost to Maidana. Berto will make him quit in the 7th round by KO or Victor not able(willing) to continue." And Elfran Navar writes passionately, "I like ortiz, but Berto will win EASY. Ortiz is going up in weight and facing the fastest fighter he has ever faced. Ortiz has been easy to hit, and Berto will use him as target practice.... And we all know Ortiz doesn't have the heart to fight through a beating."
Ortiz, however, does have his supporters. On twitter @SonnyGirard writes, "Ortiz if he can capitalize on Berto's open defense early." And on Facebook, Gregory Q. says, "If Ortiz comes out fearless he will win. Berto has never faced anyone with Vicious' power and Victor has the speed to land the shot if he doesn't fight tentatively. Berto has been shook up before and he will be shaken and hurt come Saturday. What Victor does to capitalize on that is entirely up to him."
Former IBF light welter champ Paulie Malignaggi (28-4), aka the “Magic Man,” is looking for redemption the night of April 9th against the family Cotto, taking on the brother of the fighter who handed him his first loss, Miguel Cotto. Malignaggi looks to do that voodoo he does so well against Miguel’s brother, José Miguel Cotto (32-2-1, 24 KO’s), to prove to naysayers that he can climb the welterweight mountain to win his second championship.
In one of those feel-good boxing stories, undefeated James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KO’s) continues his comeback after two years in the stir for a parole violation. Coming from East Austin, Texas, where both sides of the track are wrong and where it’s easier to get into trouble than out, Kirkland is getting what he calls “not a second chance, but more like a third chance as far as my criminal background,” and vows to make the most of it. With two quick KO’s in his two comeback fights -- one in 30-plus seconds, the other in two rounds -- the heavy-handed southpaw now faces his sternest test in former junior middleweight champ Nobuhiro Ishida, who has never been stopped. With a win over Ishida, Kirkland stands on the cusp of a title shot by the end of the year and is determined to acquit his lifelong dream of becoming a champion in the near future despite his troubled past.
As Matthew Hatton prepares to take on Mexican phenom Saul Alvarez this Saturday for the vacant WBC light middleweight title, we caught up with another fighter who knows what Matthew is going through, his brother and former welterweight champ Ricky Hatton. Here's what Ricky had to say:
When Saul Alvarez and Matthew Hatton meet Saturday they will pursue two objectives. The first is victory and its subsequent rewards. Second, the winner will take a step toward establishing a unique identity.
by Lee Groves/CompuBox
Last month Amir Khan weathered Marcos Maidana’s last-ditch surge to gain sole possession of the WBA junior welterweight title. On January 29, IBF/WBO champ Devon Alexander and WBC king Timothy Bradley seek to consolidate their belts, settle their scores and become Khan’s definitive rival. Bradley is nearly a 2-1 favorite.