On Saturday, just weeks away from his 52nd birthday, Bernard Hopkins returns to the ring for what he says is a final fight.
He takes on consensus top ten contender Joe Smith Jr. and, as tolerant as I am of the great man having one last showcase (one he will probably be able to win on points), in light of the frightful Kovalev beatdown two years ago, let’s hope it really is his last go-around.
B-Hop, you officially have the boxing world’s permission to retire and return to your home planet. (Credit to @bostello for that one)
David Haye has to be one of boxing’s greatest conmen.
Two comedy fights on Dave and here he is with a foul-mouth fuelled PPV headliner against cruiserweight beltholder Tony Bellew, the ideal money-spinning route to what he really wants: Anthony Joshua in a stadium fight.
After a failed acting career, perhaps he’s turned screenwriter. Certainly, he couldn’t have scripted it any better: bags of cash for a return to PPV in a bout he is almost certain to win.
It takes two to tango, and for AJ-Haye to eventually materialize, Joshua will have to negotiate a far more serious obstacle, that of former perennial champion, old Wlad Klitschko.
Even though he’ll be coming off a 17 month layoff and a terrible showing against Tyson Fury, there still exists the real chance that he’ll know too much for a conventional, if bull-strong & hammer-fisted Joshua.
That said, I favour AJ’s youth and momentum (4 fights since Wlad last laced them up) over Klitschko’s inactivity and reluctance to throw. Even though Joshua will be the opposite of the unorthodox, moving target of Fury, I still find it hard to see Klitschko really letting his hands go with enough confidence to get the win.
Ok, so Shannon Briggs has missed out on the promised David Haye fight and probably has nothing left to offer in the ring.
But doesn’t that make it all the more astonishing that, after several years of catchphrase invention and social media mastery, he has yet to land a significant fight, especially in a heavyweight division that has never shied away from a good freakshow?
Maybe his mandatory position for the WBA’s ‘regular’ trinket can be the opening he needs.