On March 9, in Brooklyn's Barclays Center, 48-years-old Bernard Hopkins will step on the ring to try to renew his own world championship age record, which he established two years ago. This time The Executioner's opponent is going to be IBF light-heavyweight champion, 31-year-old Tavoris Cloud.
The 17 years age difference is not bothering Bernard. The very same it was with The Canadian Jean Pascal in 2011, when Hopkins beat him by unanimous decision and became the oldest world champion in the boxing history at the age of 46. Well, its been two years already and Bernard doesn't become any faster or stronger, but probably even opposite. Hopkins himself keeps to rely on his experience. "I have the exposure and I have the experience. I have three bullets and he has one. What's going to win this fight is Bernard's experience and his inexperience.", says Hopkins.
Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud won the title in 2009, beating by points The Englishman, Clinton Woods, 37 by then. After Cloud defended his belt four successful times, beating once 41-years-old Glen Johnson and had very doubtful decision win over The Spaniard, Gabriel Campillo. Even the champion himself admits the leak of respect from the boxing experts. "I'm trying to separate myself from the light heavyweight class, but I don't think I've got the respect that I deserve, because I feel like in this division fighters have been ducking me for a long time, like Chad Dawson, [Jean] Pascal, and a couple of other fighters. I'm in no hurry to be recognized as the greatest. When it happens, it happens." On the question, how he is planning to beat Hopkins, Tavoris answer "You have to go in there and whip his ass. You have to beat him with punches just the same way you beat any other fighter. I do expect a lot of dirt from him."
PREDICTION: Cloud can win if he will attack since the first and until the last bell, rallying and use the various punching combinations. Hopkins' advantage could be into the taking his time, clinching and using "the accidental" moves with the head and elbows, which The Executioner knows so well, but the referee, probably, will pretend not to seeing them. I would bet 60/40 on Cloud!