views from canada’s left coast

views on movies, sports, and politics

I can no longer dislike Bernard Hopkins

Prior to this weekend I disliked Bernard Hopkins as a person, as far as his public image goes, and as a boxer because of his overly defensive style. After this past weekend, I have an enormous amount of respect for Bernard Hopkins and I will listen more carefully to what he says in public.

Hopkins did not just defeat Kelly Pavlik this past Saturday, he absolutely destroyed him. You might think that any time a boxer makes it to the final bell that he cannot have been totally destroyed, but I think the fact that Pavlik lasted 12 rounds just furthered his complete and total destruction. Hopkins won almost every minute of the fight. Pavlik was bloodied, bruised, and completely exhausted by the end of the fight. Hopkins may have been able to press harder and actually knock Pavlik out, but that does not seem to have ever been Hopkins style. Hopkins executed a brilliant tactical fight, and at no time did he seem to deviate from his plan, which was to counter punch effectively, stay away from Pavlik’s power right hand, and score quick one or two punch shots before getting out of harm’s way.

Bernard Hopkins deserves now, and he most likely deserved before, to go down as one of the greatest fighters of his generation. As a 43 year old man, Hopkins totally dominated a 26 year old undisputed champion. I think that Pavlik can still have a long successful career ahead of him, but he really needs to develop some more as a fighter before he can be considered great. Hopkins is clearly nearing the end of his career, but I think that with his brilliant performance this past Saturday he deserves a couple more big money fights. Hopkins has proven that he can still excite a crowd if his opponent’s style is such that it allows him to excel.

Though I think that Joe Calzaghe will likely defeat Roy Jones in their upcoming fight, and Hopkins has said he wants to fight the winner, I would rather see Hopkins fight Jones regardless of the outcome of the fight. Jones and Hopkins should have fought a rematch around a decade ago, but it is better late than never, and the end is nearing for both of these great fighters. Hopkins and Jones may be old, they may only be half of what they were in their primes, but they can both still put on exciting fights, and I for one would love to see them do battle.

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October 21, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , | Leave a comment

A weekend of boxing

For the first time in a couple of months I watched a significant number of boxing matches over the weekend.  I was excited to see Chris Arreola and Chazz Witherspoon fight, two young, undefeated American heavyweights. I have seen Arreola fight a few times and I really like his style.  He comes right at you, constant pressure, with good power, and a solid chin.  I think that Witherspoon could be a good fighter, but he lacks the power to back a guy like Arreola off.  Anyone with a strong chin, and good power can walk right through guys like Witherspoon and that is just what Arreola did.

There is some controversy surrounding the end to the fight. Witherspoon was disqualified when his corner stepped into the ring before the official end of round 3.  Witherspoon was knocked down with about 5 seconds to go in round 3, he beat the count and stood on very weak legs. Referee Randy Phillips did not seem to be aware that time had expired in the round.  Phillips should have quickly declared the round over, and then Witherspoon’s corner could have entered the ring and helped Witherspoon to his corner.  I have no problem with the stoppage, but it is unfortunate that the result is a DQ win for Arreola and not a TKO.   Witherspoon’s corner should count their blessings and be happy that Chazz did not go out for the 4th round where he almost certainly would have gotten clocked a couple of more times and then the fight would have been over.  I am always amused with boxers and their handlers who complain about stoppages when they probably just got a huge break.  It is sad to see a fight go on to long and watch one guy get his head totally beat in.  Once it is clear that a guy is going to lose the fight it is the right thing for the referee, doctor, or the corner to stop the fight.

Another exciting fight was the Arthur Abraham vs Edison Miranda rematch.  I am not sure if Abraham’s convincing knockout win proves that he is a good fighter, or whether it just proves that Miranda is not a world class type of fighter.  Miranda lost convincingly to both Pavlik and Abraham, proving that he cannot match up to top notch competition.  I think that Pavlik has proven himself to be an exceptional fighter by defeating Jermain Taylor twice.  Abraham is going to have to beat someone of Taylor’s pedigree in order to be considered an elite fighter in my view.

The last fight that I watched was the Amir Khan vs Michael Gomez slugfest from the UK.  Khan has quickly been moving up the lightweight ranks.  The fight with Gomez was fast paced and really exciting.  Gomez and Khan were both down early in the fight.  I think that Gomez is the type of fighter that could probably get up after almost any punch and continue fighting, but that just means that he takes an unneccessary beating.  Khan went down from a hard left hook but never looked like he was truly in danger of losing the fight, just that he had to weather a couple of difficult rounds.  I loved Khan’s speed, he looked great in the ring, and adapted well to Gomez’s constant pressure.  I look forward to seeing Amir Khan face some of the big names in the lightweight division.

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment

youtube is not necessarily lost ppv revenues for boxing

I read this on Boxing News today and I must say that I disagree with the article pretty strongly.  Basically the article highlights the large number of people now watching boxing matches, or portions of matches on youtube.com shortly after the fights are done (usually their are uploaded within a day).  Using the recent Pacquiao-Marquez rematch as an example the article says that potentially hundreds of thousands of pay per view dollars are lost when fans choose to watch the fight on youtube rather than purchase the fight for $50 to watch it live.  The assumption that many of the people watching on youtube would actually buy the fight if not for youtube is a weak one in my view.

A casual boxing fan is not likely to shell out $50 to watch any fight.  The casual fight fan might watch some highlights, might see a fight at a bar showing ppv sometimes, or watch fights available through regular cable channels.   Casual fight fans are also likely to check out some fights, or some clips on youtube on a regular basis.  By watching clips or entire fights on youtube that casual fight fan might even become a serious boxing fan if they like what they see.  Without youtube many boxing fans would never get to see many of the best bouts.  Most top boxing matches are put on ppv, usually at $50 or more for the card.  Only very serious fans will actually pay $50 a piece to see a fight, and only serious fans will manage to pool together several friends to buy the fight and watch it together.  Only serious fight fans will make a point of going out to a bar showing the fights on a Saturday night.

Youtube catches the attention of mostly casual fight fans, most of whom in my view would never consider buying the fights that they are watching.  It is my opinion that youtube might even lead to great ppv revenue as casual fight fans slowly become serious boxing fans as they are exposed to more and more great fights.

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | Leave a comment

boxing vs mma, a draw in my opinion

These days it is hard to find any true boxing fans, especially in Vancouver. I have plenty of friends who are sports fans, and many of them follow mixed martial arts, primarily through the UFC, but none of them are real boxing fans. I can understand some of the appeal of MMA and the UFC. The top selling point is that top fighters are continually matched up against other top fighters. A loss is not a crushing blow to the career of an MMA fighter, whereas and undefeated boxer can lose most of their luster with a single defeat. What confuses me about most MMA fans, and their general apathy towards boxing is that the most popular fighters and the best fights tend to involve strikers and big knockouts. Boxing is all about punching, it is all that you can legally do in a fight. Most exciting MMA fights involve two guys who stand up and throw punches with perhaps a flying knee or a head kick thrown in.

I am not saying that MMA fans are wrong for liking the sport. What I am saying is that MMA fans should give boxing another shot. I think that largely due to the popularity of MMA boxing promoters have been forced to put on better fight cards. Top boxers are now facing other top boxers with increasing regularity. Last year was an outstanding year for boxing, and so far this year has been plenty entertaining as well. Pacquiao-Marquez II this past week was action packed, bloody, and brutal, a great fight. Even the generally lacklustre heavyweight division (which is still my favourite) put on a decent show between Sam Peter and Oleg Maskaev.

I think that boxing and MMA fans should stop arguing about which sport is better and start watching each other’s fights. I prefer boxing, but MMA offers a different brand of fighting that can be very exciting. For MMA fans who tire of too many long drawn out fights taking place mostly on the ground they should check out some of the big name boxing matches that have been and are continuing to take place. Even the heavyweight division, long the star of the boxing world, should get more exciting this year than in years past. Sam Peter now holds the WBC title and is due to fight Vitali Klitschko; they are both big punchers and Peter lacks almost any ability to avoid a punch. With fighters like Peter and Wladimir Klitschko at the top of the division there are bound to be some good slugfests coming up in the division.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , | Leave a comment