by Jackie Kallen
I wish I were going to be in Brooklyn this weekend for the Hopkins/Cloud fight. Not because it will be the Fight of the Century (although it might be pretty good) but because I’d like to witness a man who is close to 50 years old take on a man 17 years his junior. It could end up like Ali/Holmes with Hopkins looking at the referee, praying for a stoppage. Or Hopkins could stun the world by putting an end to Tavoris Cloud’s undefeated run.
Common sense would tell one to put their money on the younger man. Cloud is a strong, strapping young fighter who has destroyed almost 80% of his opponents by way of knockout. They don’t call him “Thunder” for no reason.
Hopkins, who has been fighting pro since Cloud was six years old, is a veteran of 62 pro fights and has more KOs on his record than Cloud has total fights. Cloud has had 24 fights. Hopkins has stopped 32 of his opponents.
Add to the equation the fact that Hopkins has never been KOed. He has stepped into the ring over sixty times and no one has ever stopped him. Six men have gotten decisions over him including Chad Dawson, Jermain Taylor (twice), Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones, Jr. Though it was a close decision, Hopkins actually lost his pro debut back in 1988 to someone named Clinton Mitchell.
Cloud has handily dismantled everyone he has faced. But there is hardly a superstar name on the roster. He decisioned Glen Johnson a few years ago and stopped Yusaf Mack in 2011, but he has amassed his record against a list of names including the infamous Reggie Strickland, who has been a stepping stone for every boxer since the Marquess of Queensberry rules were created.
Will this be another “passing of the sword” ritual? Or will The Executioner cut Cloud down to size? Is there another big win in Hopkin’s bag of tricks? It has the potential of being the last time we see Hopkins in a ring or the first time that this Cloud comes out of the sky and down to earth.
After his loss to Chad Dawson last spring, a lot of people wrote Hopkins off. Fight fans were blogging about his demise and urging him to hang up the gloves. But here we are–almost a full year later–and Hopkins is jumping back in. I believe he wants to go out on a high note (not a loss) and feels he can beat Cloud. His legacy means a great deal to him and he is taking this fight seriously.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen