The Lukie Report: Weekend in Review DC Edition
Some moments feel special, it’s not just the slow burn of fight night, but a subtle walkout or a significant moment that you know will be archived well beyond your lifetime. In a night of action from Washington D.C., some felt it would be nothing more than a few showcase bouts yet more than that occurred. All of this with Bernard Hopkins, the living legend, the 49-year old light heavyweight champion, who continues to defy the odds, doing what he has done for the past twenty plus years, winning in the feature attraction.
Bernard Hopkins who changed his moniker last fight from “The Executioner” to “The Alien” is proving the nickname true to form. Hopkins, who adorns the alien costume for his modern day allure of looking to be the first championship boxer at the age fifty, something I doubt will be duplicated seems to be inhuman with his level of discipline. As Hopkins’ ability to thrive a sport widely known as a young man’s game is simply for lack of a better pun, out of this world.
The 49-year old fighter who is not far away from getting discounts at select food establishments turns back the clock in the ring as Hopkins looks no older than 31 as a much younger Beibut Shumenov simply looked lost mostly hitting air all night. Shumenov may have also made the task of beating one of the wiliest veterans much harder by not enlisting a trainer as he stoically sat on a stool as hall of fame cut man “Stitch” Duran fixed the mounting damage to his face.
Hopkins, who famously left prison only to hear a warden tell him “[he] will see him soon” for which Hopkins replied “…no you won’t.” to holding the middleweight title in for a little over a decade starting from the early 90s. Hopkins is the type of guy who has always fought like an old man, tactical, lots of holding and lots of fouling. For a man who spent a lifetime in boxing, his speech is clear and thoughts are deep, explanation of the fight turn into fascinating stories of life lessons from days gone. Hopkins’ is true throwback to an era that may never occur again, and even then we wonder we tune in not due to his fight style, but to wonder will father time catch him finally.
The Hopkins story seemed to be over when Hopkins lost two fights to Jermain Taylor, then it seemed over for good when Chad Dawson beat Hopkins two times, once on a dreadful PPV that turned into a NC after Hopkins suffered an Arn Anderson spine buster early in the fight. The odd thing is Hopkins will lose to these fighters than rally back and beat a hot prospects or contender to stay relevant. In contrast those who beat him have faltered and then went into obscurity for example Dawson followed up his win over Hopkins with back to back KO loses to Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson.
This past Saturday, it was the sum of the parts as Hopkins like it always seems to be, especially in the second and third act of Hopkins career. Hopkins starts slow as if reading and analyzing the style of Shumenov seemingly giving away rounds. After the third round, one could argue that Hopkins never lost another round as he smirked outboxing Shumenov from the outside. It was a display of what makes Hopkins great, a methodical slow paced fight which nearly ended with a knockout as Hopkins knocked down Shumenov in the eleventh. The roar of the crowd was enormous as if the sounds of crowd chanting to gather would collapse Shumenov’s will to fight back yet it was not to be for Hopkins who earned his most impressive victory since Kelly Pavlik in 2008.
Enter the cynic who says “Well, is this more so a reflection of the modern day light heavyweight division?”. In reality it is probably a mixture of both as Sergey Kovalev, the man some believe to be the best light heavyweight turned down a Hopkins fight last year, leading one to believe that Hopkins may just be the most feared man in the division. The true test should come this summer as Hopkins more than likely will face his toughest test since losing to Chad Dawson in the man, who all but relegated Chad Dawson into obscurity in Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson, who recently signed with Al Haymon is looking for a big fight for his Showtime debut and though Andrzej Fonfara of Chicago had originally been viewed as that man, Hopkins would trump him.
The next level of Hopkins legacy is not what he can add to it, but simply how does it end? Does Hopkins end on his own terms, does he end morbidly beaten by a quicker, younger man one night or does it go on for a bit longer as writers continue to revisit the last chapter of Hopkins fight career confused on what will happen? The tough thing is, realistically if Hopkins beats Stevenson, it is hard to see anyone in the division who can beat him for sometime, so it simply seems like when will Hopkins body give out on him and show the limitations of the human body.
Porter pummels Paulie
Shawn Porter has largely been a disrespected fighter as of late, even after replacing Amir Khan to fight Devon Alexander for IBF welterweight title last December and soundly defeating Alexander. Detractors did not know how to evaluate Porter, a large welterweight whose frame seems more so that of a middleweight. Porter who has spent the past few months in the bay area honing his craft working with Victor Conte and the SNAC System team has been all the talk of the area as stories have circulated of the work ethic Porter shows as well as some of his fabled sparring sessions, ie. his sparring with James Kirkland.
In contrast, Paulie Malignaggi is now more of a commentator than a boxer and is simply in the last stages of his career. The match up alone seemed like a rough one for Malignaggi from the get go as Malignaggi is one of the smaller welterweight facing one of the bigger ones in the division whom is heading into his prime. On top of all of this, while Porter was able to focus solely on training, Malignaggi was working as commentator for Golden Boy Live (Fox Sports 1) and Showtime Sports the last of which being a St. Patricks Day card from Boston, MA, which was only a month ago.
The result was what may have been Paulie Malignaggi’s retirement bout as Porter throughly destroyed Malignaggi using his power to overwhelm Malignaggi. At first it was just the power and relentlessness that had some comparing Porter on the internet to a young Shane Mosley. Malignaggi never looked this bad in previous fights over the past two years and recently beat Zab Judah and gave Adrien Broner all he could handle. Malignaggi’s famed speed and movement became mute points as by the second round, Malignaggi appeared to look shocked that the fight was progressing violently against him.
It was a leaping left hook that sent Malignaggi to the floor, that punch seemed to not just sway the fight, but take something out of Paulie Malignaggi. Malignaggi long known for his toughness appeared to be trying survive from that point on. Porter forced Malignaggi onto the ropes as he was vivaciously knocked out in a highlight reel fashion with a flurry that left Malignaggi on the mat badly hurt. A wise man once said that you can’t be great at two things, Malignaggi may have realized last Saturday that his moments in the ring may have concluded as it appeared that his focus may just not be there anymore.
“Go on to be great” Malignaggi said to Shawn Porter directly after the fight. “I don’t want to have lost to an average fighter, I want you to go on to be great!” To of which Porter responded with a hug and said “Stop it, man, you’re going to make me cry.” It was an emotional night as Malignaggi may have witnessed his in-ring career end, Porter on the other hand finally got the respect he hand long deserved, but one thing remained both had the up most respect for one and another.
With this win now sets up Porter for a big money fight against Kell Brook on a rumored date of July 19th that would more than likely take place overseas. Brook, an untested European fighter has been long ranked high in the welterweight rankings, but has yet to fight quality opposition.
Kid Chocolate stocks value stagnant
WBO Middleweight champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin continues his streak of lukewarm to less than stellar wins in his championship reign. Quillin fought a game Lukas Konecny who just appeared to be undersized and unable to hurt Quillin with anything he threw. Quillin who essentially won every single round barring one or two here managed to still show signs that are worrisome. Most troublesome of all his tendency on the ropes to get hit by the overhand right which Konecny landed multiple times.
Konecny whose best day were at light middleweight and most notable his upset win over Matthew Hall in September of 2010 was a man fighting on his last legs. Quillin, whom his promotion has boasted to be the best middleweight in the world has the dubious distinction of a lot of question marks on his record. Konecny is a good fighter, but it was clear as day after a round or two he just could not match Quillin in physicality. This is directly after fighting Gabriel Rosado in a fight many people thought was turning in favor of Rosado late in the fight, right before a cut stopped the fight in Quillin’s favor.
The expectation for Quillin is high and though middleweight is a deep division, the network wars between Showtime and HBO have deeply hurt Quillin up until this point as he just can’t get the elite to come over to face him. Top middleweights such as Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin are both under contract to HBO and Martin Murrary who some believe beat Martinez last year can’t get into the United States due to past troubles in his past. Sergio Mora took to social media after the fight calling out Quillin, but Mora is a high risk, low reward fight that might be a last ditch effort.
Konecny was game and gave him a quality 12 rounds, but for most watching they wanted more from Quillin, who seemed content mid-way through to go the full duration. This is a far cry from the power punching middleweight whom forcibly took the belt from Hassan N’dam two years ago in the debut of boxing in the Barclay’s Center. Quillin now has a lot to prove as he is fighting for his respect as a champion, who still has a lot of what ifs and unanswered questions?
This was only heighten by in the inclusion of Danny Jacobs to the broadcast booth, a middleweight who survived cancer and has been slowly gathering steam to potentially get his second crack at a title after his first chance was ill-fated against Dmitry Pirog for the WBC middleweight title. It seems all, but a foregone conclusion that the two will be featured on an upcoming card in Brooklyn, but when is the bigger question?