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HBO Boxing – Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe Play By Play

Watching the psychological warfare that Bernard Hopkins uses was fascinating. He gave Tito Trinidad a bag of beans and rice. Ha!

I’m watching this a little late because I watched UFC 83 earlier today. Not a bad day to be a fight fan today.

I’ve only seen Joe Calzaghe fight twice, once last year against Mikkel Kessler and was impressed at his constant punching. He never stopped and didn’t really let Kessler breath. I’ve been really impressed by Hopkins since he knocked Oscar De La Hoya out with a body shot. A body shot. While I don’t expect a knockout to happen tonight, it’s definitely going to be an interesting fight. Calzaghe is fighting outside of his home and is stepping up in weight. Hopkins is like the fountain of youth.

Ray J is singing the National Anthem. I think Kim Kardashian’s backside just winced. And now I know why Whitney Houston is here. Only Ray J knows if Whitty can still hit those high notes. Simon Cowell and Jay-Z are also at the fight.

Hopkins definitely looks a bit bigger than Calzaghe. By the way, thanks to HBO, this is in HD~!

R1

About a minute in, Hopkins dropped Calzaghe with a short right. Wow, that was quick. Calzaghe looked more embarrassed than hurt. In the clinch, Hopkins just seems stronger. Calzaghe is obviously going to be busier as it’s just his style, but Hopkins did get the knockdown so I guess you have to score it as a 10-8 round in favor of Hopkins. Other than the knockdown, it was even.

R2

Hopkins scored with the bigger shots, which were counter right hands. He is even leading with the right hand at times. Calzaghe seems to be a little worried about opening up because of Hopkins’ counter rights. I’d score the round for Hopkins again.

R3

Calzaghe is going to steal some rounds because he’s simply the more active fighter. But in no way is he doing what he wants to do. Hopkins is still fighting his fight, but Calzaghe might’ve done just enough with his punches to win the round. It was very close, but I’d give it to Calzaghe.

By the way, Sylvester Stallone and Simon Cowell are sitting next to each other. Maybe they’re talking about getting Frank (Stallone) on American Idol this year?

R4

Calzaghe is turning his back to Hopkins when they get tied up. Whether he’s doing it because he wants to or because Hopkins is forcing him that way, it looks like a sign of weakness. Calzaghe is throwing more punches again, but Hopkins is cleaning up when Calzaghe comes inside. That was Calzaghe’s round again, but mostly because it was his style of round. He was more active, dancing around a bit more, and though none of his punches looked like they had any power on them.

R5

They both landed some good shots, but Calzaghe was quicker to the punch and is starting to land those flurries that judges always love. They don’t really hurt the other boxer, but they look good, and thus they help win rounds. I’d slightly give the edge to him again.

R6

It was an ugly round and both guys were running into each other, but it was also Calzaghe’s best round. He’s starting to take this fight from Hopkins. He’s punches are quicker and they come out faster than Hopkins’.

R7

Hopkins buckled Calzaghe again near the end of the round, but other than that punch, I’d still score it as Calzaghe’s round. He’s making Hopkins look old. But at any time, it seems that Hopkins can put him down. It’s a weird fight. Actually, I’m expecting Hopkins to get another flash knockdown, just because of how recklessly Calzaghe comes inside.

R8

What’s very transparent now is that Calzaghe is simply able to fight his way out of Hopkins’ clinch, which wasn’t happening in the first few rounds. He’s also feinting him a little more, which shows that Hopkins is still hard to hit, but it also shows that Calzaghe is starting to think that it’s his fight. I’d give that round to Hopkins, just because while Calzaghe is more active, Hopkins is actually fighting well defensively and hit the bigger punches.

R9

Another good round for Calzaghe. He landed both the flurries as well as some bigger shots late. Hopkins landed a couple of crisp shots, but not enough.

R10

Calzaghe’s father (also his trainer) thinks Hopkins is ready to go down. I’m not sure Calzaghe is hitting him hard enough to drop him. Calzaghe hit him low and then went behind him and did a shimmy shake. On the cool scale, that shimmy shake was about a negative 1. Hopkins took about 2 minutes until he was ready to fight again. If it was Ray J, it might’ve taken two hours to heal. It’s the closest thing we have to a draw round tonight, so that’s how I’ll score it. That breather looked like exactly what Hopkins needed.

R11

Through ten rounds I have the fight scored 96-94 in favor of Calzaghe, so on my card, Hopkins would have to win the next two rounds to make it a draw.

Another weird round. Hopkins went down in the corner supposedly from a low blow, but the referee didn’t see it so he didn’t allow Hopkins any rest. Calzaghe is also starting to give Hopkins some receipts for the early tactics Hopkins was doing like hitting in the back of the head. He also was busier and looks like the much fresher of the two. Hopkins needs a knockout on my card.

R12

Calzaghe is dropping his left hand low, but Hopkins doesn’t seem to follow up. Just another ugly round. There was no urgency from Hopkins and Calzaghe was throwing wide looping punches that weren’t really landing. He was just more active and pushed the pace. Probably his round again.

I have it 116-112 for Calzaghe.

Let’s see what the judges say.

114-113 – Hopkins
115-112 – Calzaghe
116-111 – Calzaghe

Winner: Joe Calzaghe by way of split decision

He’s also the new Ring Magazine Linear Light Heavyweight Champion.

Here’s a link to ESPN’s recap. Excuse the goofball Sports Center anchors.

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