While Bernard Hopkins was doing his best to stay upright during the 12th round of last Saturday’s light-heavyweight unification bout with Sergei Kovalev, I thought to myself ‘how did I get this so wrong… How did I not see this coming?’
The first reason I called B-Hop to nick a points win against Kovalev is because I severely underestimated the ‘Krushers’ boxing ability – he stalked, he waited, he feinted, he out-worked, out-jabbed and most impressively out-thought Hopkins. However, there is a second reason why I thought Hopkins would win (and a piece of me dies inside when I say this)… I bought in to 24/7!
Hopkins always has been and always will be a phenomenal talker. He’s been a notoriously boring (but brilliant) fighter for over 20 years however, he has always sold a big fight. So much so, that when 24/7 had finished he almost had me believing that he was actually an Alien. Boy can he talk!
The thing which got me annoyed with myself even more so is, post fight, when I was thinking back to the second Dawson fight the tell tales signs were there (hindsight is a beautiful thing), he looked old, slow, out of soughts and seemed to just want to get through the fight without caring if he won or not. However, all ‘The Alien’ had to do was give the camera that rough Philly stare, spout a few philosophical lines and remind us of his empathic recent wins and my heart melted. Proper fan-boy melted and I was telling anyone who would listen that Hopkins was ‘going to pull it off’.
Funnily enough, straight after Hopkins was beaten up another 24/7 episode aired and at the end of the episode it had me thinking ‘hmm I think the underdog has a chance.’ I’m talking about the episode which promoted the upcoming return to the ring of Manny Pacquiao as he faces the unheralded but very dangerous Chris Algeri.
Now, maybe HBO have lured me in once again with a very well crafted 30 minutes of edited footage and a voice over that could only be improved if Morgan Freeman was involved but Algeri’s calm nature and self belief makes me want to hang around with him – watching him talk is like reading ‘The Secret’, he is oozing confidence. Whether he will still have that confidence when Pac-Man throws a one million punch combination at him is a different story.
One significant moment during that episode touched on something I have been thinking about since this fight was made – Algeri WILL run. Roach knows it (and he was happy to point out that it concerned him during the show) and Pacquiao knows it but how will they deal with it?
Pac has looked terrible in recent years (at the higher weights) fighting against guys who move their feet – it is not speed of hand that bothers him but rather speed of foot. Granted, he defeated Bradley (rematch), a faded Mosley and (a debatable) third fight with Marquez but the common themes in all these fights are: he looked terrible and they all box on the back foot. When was the last time we seen a dominant performance from the Filipino against a counter puncher?
I think that Algeri is all wrong for Pacquiao and it’s a horrendous decision from Arum to match them together at this stage of his career however, I am not entirely convinced that Algeri will have enough to take the win. I’m calling a very close, boring fight that Pacquiao will nick on points if he can not catch up with Algeri down the stretch.
So, will I be duped again and made a fool out of on the internet thanks to 24/7? Or is Algeri’s confidence justified?