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.
By Chuck Johnson
DETROIT – Taking a cue from the Big Three automakers’ dramatic recovery, promoters of Saturday night’s “Super Fight” at the Silverdome are counting on Detroit-area boxing fans to follow the lead of the car-purchasing public and “Buy American.”
Just after Friday’s weigh-in, Inside Fight Week analysts Kieran Mulvaney and Peter Owen Nelson exchanged thoughts on the upcoming showdown between WBA super lightweight champion Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana.
Peter Owen Nelson:
Kieran, yesterday, Maidana’s trainer Miguel Diaz insisted on having the Nevada Commission weigh the fight gloves, which are supposed to weigh 8 ounces. The result was that the executive director of the commission Keith Kizer ruled that Khan’s Reebok gloves could not be used. Surprisingly not because the gloves weighed too little, but because the custom-made Reeboks were 9.5 ounces nearly the size used only above welterweight. In other words, they were pillows.
So what will Amir wear?
Freddie Roach had Golden Boy bring three sets of gloves to Khan’s room: Everlast MX (which Maidana is wearing), regular Everlast, and Reyes horsehair. Roach wrapped Khan’s hands at 7 p.m and after the auditions, the regular Everlasts won Khan’s approval.
Given Roach’s reputation for gamesmanship, maybe Diaz was trying to get in Khan’s camp’s head. But now, it’s just going to make Amir’s punches that much more powerful. That may be the kind of gamesmanship that blows up in your face.
So we just had the weigh-in (Khan was 140 and Maidana 139), and it wasn’t the the most packed we’ve ever seen, but a large contingent called Khan’s Army made up for the lack of a crowd with their boisterous chanting. What do you know about them?
As far as I know, these are Khan’s close childhood friends from Bolton, England. And they fly all over the world with Pakistani and British flags to Khan’s fights (including the last against Malignaggi). Khan seems to enjoy their presence and whatever buoys the champ I’m sure is encouraged by his team.
Khan does seem to enjoy the spotlight, but is by no means desperate for the attention. He looks to be at ease with himself.
Let’s hope he is also at ease with Maidana’s looping right to the head.
Yes, out of all the players of Saturday’s card, Maidana seems a bit more tightly wound and less affable.
He has a tattoo of guns on his waist, so yeah, I’d agree he’s less affable than most people, but perhaps his quiet demeanor is just attributable to the language barrier.
That could certainly be. Taking a step back, we have two 140-lb fights on Saturday and another between titlists Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley next month. Do you feel that this weekend is finally going to kick off that series of great fights in this division that we’ve all been looking forward to?
Let’s hope this trend continues. I believe if this crop of talent fights each other extensively enough a superstar will emerge. In both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather’s cases, their fame was largely built on the back of Oscar De La Hoya’s defeat, but these fighters have a unique once-in-a-generation potential to create stars out of each other.
I may end up looking stupid on Sunday morning, but I think that the one most likely to stand tall at the end of the competition between these fighters is Khan. But don’t sleep on Victor Ortiz, either.
So you’re picking Khan on Saturday?
Yes, I think Khan’s going to outbox him, break him down, and stop him late on Saturday night. I also pick Ortiz to win a decision.
We all know Maidana has knockout power at any given moment. However, I pick Khan as well. I think he’s got a master tactician behind him in Freddie Roach. Maidana is raw ore. And even if Maidana is the one to break Khan down, I believe Khan now has both the experience and skill to outbox Maidana for the decision. I, too, pick Ortiz, but believe he can knock Peterson out.