Hopkins is Bad for Boxing

Bernard Hopkins has had a great career, compiling 48 wins and holding championships in the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions, but the future Hall of Famer is bad for boxing’s desire to increase marketability.

 As a boxing fan, I have great respect for Bernard Hopkins as a fighter. “The Executioner” is immensely talented, hard-working and no doubt one of the most skilled counter-punchers of the last few decades. With that said, he is one of the least enjoyable fighters to watch. He embodies the qualities that have made boxing so unappealing to the new breed of fight fans. Hopkins spends the majority of his time in the ring with his back up against the ropes, navigating the mat and waiting for his counter-punching opportunities. He throws one or two punches at a time and then proceeds to clinch and hold his opponent until the referee has to break them up. This was evident in the brutally boring fight he had with Winky Wright in 2007 and now with his recent loss to Joe Calzaghe on April 19th, 2008.

 In the Calzaghe fight, Hopkins backed away the entire bout and grabbed for Calzaghe’s arm so much, he looked like a child being left by his mother at school for the first time. Outside of the first round, he barely initiated any of the action and got more attention for blatantly trying to disrupt the flow of the bout when he milked a soft low blow, then he did for any of his actual skills in the ring. In short, Hopkins is a calculating, scratch-it-out fighter without the punching power to change the course of a bout in one instant. When you stack that up against the power and speed that is offered in a typical UFC fight, it is no wonder that many viewers tend to switch over to SpikeTV or shell out $40 for a UFC Pay-Per-View card.

 If you asked me if I preferred boxing or MMA, I would still say boxing. However, if you asked if I’d rather watch a Kimbo Slice fight, or a Hopkins fight, I’m choosing Slice every single time. That’s more a commentary on the quality of Hopkins’ fights than it is on the spectacle that Slice has become.

 “The Executioner” has had a great career and will undoubtedly win another fight or two before he hangs them up, but I seriously doubt whether anybody would really want to watch. I’ll take a ten count on that one, and you can count me out.

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