Hopkins-Pavlik: Preview and pick for Saturday's fight

Hopkins-Pavlik: Preview and pick for Saturday's fight

Hopkins-Pavlik: Preview and pick for Saturday's fight

It's not a matter of if Hopkins loses, it's a matter of how badly.

Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, 48-5-1, 32 KO's, may want to request extra padding under the ring canvas, because there's a strong possibly he'll be landing flat on his back, thanks to the right hand of Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik, 34-0, 30 KO's.

Hopkins, a crafty and smart fighter, undoubtedly has a good chin, he's never been knocked out in 54 professional fights, but so did Jermain Taylor, who still sees little tweedy birds after being knocked out by Pavlik.

Hopkins' career gage may be on E, but the fumes he's running on may still be enough to allow him to hear the final bell. Hopkins' defensive skills and slickness make even the best of fighters look bad. Aside from being a crafty boxer, Hopkins boasts respectable punching power as well.
The cherry on top is a rock-solid chin.

At this stage of his career, Hopkins is more of a minivan than a sports car. With age and the 54 wars he's been in, he may not be able to handle round after round of being Pavlik's punches. If the Executioner can stay active the full length fight, he could finish, but that’s a big if.

Hopkins tends to pace himself in an effort save energy for the championship rounds - a dangerous tactic considering his opponent.

The Ghost is a non-stop, unmerciful puncher until the final bell. Pavlik, 26, is a freight train loaded with power in both hands. He’s a no-frills, meat and potatoes type of fighter who sticks to a straight forward boxing style.

Pavlik tears his opponents down by putting powerful right hands behind stiff, straight jabs.
He attacks the body and head and seems to only get stronger round by round.

Hopkins has the knowledge to survive late into the bout, but like Miranda, Taylor and 28 others he'll eventually have the ref come to his rescue.

Pick: Pavlik  (-450) - by knockout in eighth round.

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Re: Hopkins-Pavlik: Preview and pick for Saturday's fight

Old man Hopkins looks to hand Pavlik first loss

Kelly Pavlik is looking for more than a knockout against Bernard Hopkins. He is looking to end Hopkins' career.

The 26-year-old Pavlik will put his undefeated record on the line Saturday night when he faces the 43-year-old Hopkins in a 12-round fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

The non-title bout that will be contested at 170 pounds features the current middleweight champion against an aging boxing showman who dominated the middleweight ranks for a decade before moving on and winning the light heavyweight title.

''Bernard is a legend,'' said Pavlik. ''I want my legacy to be great, also.''

Pavlik, of Youngstown, Ohio has been spectacular in the ring. Always on the offensive, he has ended 30 of his 34 professional fights with knockouts.

Getting one against Hopkins will be tough. The Philadelphia boxer (48-5-1) has never been knocked out. He has only been on the canvas twice, knocked down two times by Segundo Mercado on Dec. 17, 1994 in a fight held in a bull ring in Quito, Ecuador, which has an elevation of just under 10,000 feet.

Many blamed the altitude and the lack of training in it for the knockdowns.

Pavlik's fists can be just as dangerous an enemy, although Hopkins is one of the best defensive fighters in the sport.

Hopkins laughs about age being a factor, noting Lance Armstrong is making a comeback to cycling at 37 and Brett Favre is still among the NFL's top quarterbacks at 39.

During a recent physical, he said doctors were amazed to discover he was 43.

''You look at an age, yes, but you look at a body, that's somewhere else,'' said Hopkins.

''Ninety percent of the fighters that don't have longevity in boxing, nine out of 10 it's not because of boxing it's because the candle was burning on both ends because of their lifestyle.''

Hopkins is coming into the fight off a controversial loss to Joe Calzaghe in April. It was his only fight this year. He has lost three of his last five fights, dropping two bouts with Jermain Taylor in 2005, when he lost his unified middleweight title.

He moved up the light heavyweights ranks in 2006 and beat Antonio Tarver and defeated Winky Wright the following year.

A fighter who will push the rules with his punches and his tactics, Hopkins isn't sure Pavlik will be able to handle his style.

''How does he change his stripes in the middle of the war?'' Hopkins said.

However, Hopkins knows Pavlik, who battered Gary Lockett in his first title defense in June, is dangerous.

''Anybody can be knocked out,'' Hopkins said. ''I'm not saying that no one can be knocked out.''

HBO Pay-Per-View will televise the card starting at 9 p.m. The earliest the main event will start is 11 p.m.

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