By: William Holmes, Ringside
The televised portion of tonight’s card started after about a forty minute break after the last fight on the undercard. There were some empty seats in the arena and portions of the 200 section were covered with black drapes to give the appearance that it was close to sold out.
Jan Zaveck (32-2) was the first person to enter the ring and the hard hitting and Clearwater, Florida native Keith Thurman (19-0) entered the ring second. Thurman has steam rolled his past 19 opponents with ease, but Zaveck was by far Thurman’s toughest opponent to date.
Michael Buffer made the in ring introductions for this WBO Intercontinental Championship bout.
Thurman started off this fight cautiously and wisely, as Zaveck showed early good heavy movement and a tight guard. Thurman’s left hand was effective early, especially his left hook and left uppercut. He avoided steam rushing his opponent and concentrated on sticking and moving, and it that game plan worked.
Thurman began to work the body of Zaveck in the fourth round and landed a solid left hook that got the crowd to its feet. Zaveck briefly mounted an effective offensive attack in the sixth round, but Thurman responded by snapping the head of Zaveck backwards with a stiff jab. Zaveck landed his best punch of the night in the seventh round with a solid overhand right, but Thurman continued to stick and move and pound Zaveck with his combinations.
Thurman nearly got a knockdown in the ninth round when he closed off a combination with a stiff left uppercut, and he forced Zaveck to hang on in the tenth round after connecting with three straight right hands.
This was the first time Thurman ever went past eight rounds but he showed that he can be an effective and efficient boxer and not just a knockout artist. There was no doubt who won the fight when it ended and went to the scorecards.
Keith Thurman remained undefeated with a clean 120-108 sweep on all three scorecards.
The main event was between Tavoris Cloud (24-0) and Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2) for the IBF Light Heavyweight Title. Cloud was the first fighter to enter the ring with his promoter Don King in tow. Bernard Hopkins was the second man to enter the ring, and he had his usual executioner mask.
The crowd in attendance in Brooklyn, NY was strongly supporting the ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins . If you’re an athlete from Philadelphia who gets a bunch of New Yorkers to chant your name, you’re a legend.
The first round started off slowly, but Hopkins showed the in ring experience advantage he had over Cloud early on. He landed a short right uppercut on Cloud when he rushed in and was able to cleanly duck the wild hooks of Cloud.
The crowd booed some of the inaction in the first two rounds, but a fight in the crowd in the third round livened up both the fans in attendance and the action in the ring.
Hopkins began to land his straight right hand in the fourth round and was obviously frustrating Cloud who could not connect on any of his wild punches. Cloud snapped the head of Hopkins backwards in the fifth round but still got tagged by more jabs and combos from Hopkins.
Another fight broke out in the crowd in round five, and Hopkins continued to make Cloud miss and keep his jab in the face of Cloud. Hopkins landed a clean right hand in round six that opened up a cut over the left eye of Cloud. Cloud complained that he was hit with an elbow, but replay showed it was a clean punch that opened up the cut.
The crowd again began to chant B Hop in round seven. Hopkins showed a little bounce in his step and highlighted that round with a stuff two punch combination. Cloud had his best round of the night in the eighth round when he connected with a hard left hook and a straight right hand.
Hopkins however, continued to put on a boxing clinic in the later rounds by easily side stepping the wild punches of Cloud and touching him with his jabs and two punch combinations.
The crowd cheered Hopkins before the start of the last round and it was clear to everyone in attendance that Cloud needed a knockout to win. That knockout never came.
Hopkins becomes the oldest champion of all time and the new IBF Light Heavyweight Champion with scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 116-112.
Afterwards Bernard Hopkins stated, “I got history of destroying young champions”.
Yes you do B Hop, and you look you can be a champion until you’re 60 years old.