Will The Executioner Be Executed?
By Eric Marks (July 4, 2007)
Ah yes, Bernard Hopkins, the story we love to hear: the guy who was put in jail at 17 for armed robbery- learning to fight while imprisoned, the non-smoker and non-drinker who’s work ethic appears to exceed all other fighters, and the guy who at 42 years young will officially come out of retirement on July 21st to fight the crafty, ultra-talented Winky Wright. The only question is would Bernard’s late mother forgive him for breaking his promise to her that fighting would cease at age 40? Given what is on the horizon for Bernard, I think she would.
Outside of Rocky Balboa, Philadelphia’s favorite son will try to do what so many other fighters have attempted and failed to do, namely mount a successful boxing comeback past their prime. Hopkins has been warned against this course of action, but given he and Sylvester Stallone performed so well in their last fights against ‘Magic Man’ Antonio Tarver, otherwise know as ‘Mason The Line Dixon’ from his fight with Sly in the latest Rocky film, why hang up the gloves now?
To answer the questioned posed in the article title, the Jerry Rice of boxing will not be sent to the guillotine. Bernard’s likely fights in his comeback will be Winky Wright, Joe Calzaghe, and/or the guy who refuses to quit tarnishing him image, namely the illusionary Mr. Roy Jones Jr. himself. Hopkins should fare well in all these fights, ensuring at the very least that he does not suffer Holyfied/Tyson/Roy Jones syndrome—for those who are unaware of this ailment, it is simply a condition that affects the cognition of a fighter by convincing a boxer he is better than he really is and has unlimited fights left in him.
Bernard is bigger than his likely three potential foes in his comeback. Winky can’t punch…so even if Wright does outpoint Hopkins in a close decision, the fight should be highly competitive and a close decision loss to one of the pound for pound best would not hurt Hopkins badly. Joe Calzaghe, while compiling an impressive winning streak has not fought any big names or anyone comparable to Hopkins skill level. It is quite doubtful that Calzaghe could make Bernard look bad the way Kevin McBride made Tyson quit or Antonio Tarver knocked out Roy Jones Jr. That being said, it is hard to predict exactly how a fight with Calzaghe would unfold making it an intriguing encounter.
And lastly, we come to Mr. Jones himself, a guy that deserves his own paragraph. Not sure how many fans are interested in a rematch between Jones and Hopkins, one that should have occurred, ah, say 6- 10 years ago. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that this Roy Jones is not the one we enjoyed watching when he was in his prime and the danger he poses to Hopkins is slim to none. Additionally, there is the distinct possibility that Mr. “He’s Back,” (referring of course to the title of Jones July 14th fight with young undefeated light heavyweight Tony Hanshaw) will soon be Mr. “He’s on his Back” after his nex fight, ruining a potential fight with Hopkins.
Therefore, Bernard appears to be in minimal danger of aging overnight given his likely comeback opponents. Even a possible third fight against Jermain Taylor at light heavyweight will probably not stain Hopkins image, given the closeness of their first two fights and Taylor’s recent struggles.
We can therefore conclude that this ageless wonder of a fighter will continue to impress (at least not embarrass) us and maintain his status as ‘The Executioner’ rather than adopt a newly crowned title as ‘The Executed.’ I’m sure his mother is looking down from above with a deep satisfaction, sense of pride, and forgiveness of a broken promise. And so we shall embrace his comeback... Long live ‘The Executioner’.
your final predictions? Winky vs Hopkins