Cloud vs. Hopkins Predictions

By Boxing News on March 8, 2013
Cloud vs. Hopkins Predictions
Cloud looked less-than-remarkable when he fought Gabriel Campillo in Corpus Christi.

Bernard Hopkins needs to prove that it’s not over until the fat lady sings, or, failing that, it’s not over until he says it’s over…

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (24-0) defends his IBF light heavyweight title against Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (52-6-1). Hopkins needs no introduction and perhaps Cloud doesn’t deserve one, but he’s the champ and no one can take that away from him—expect perhaps the seemingly ageless Hopkins. Both men are coming off sub-par performances. The 48-year-old Executioner looked old in losing to Chad Dawson last April. And Cloud’s most recent outing was a less-than-remarkable performance against Gabriel Campillo. As a result, both fighters have something to prove. Cloud needs to show the world that, despite his so-so competition, he’s not a flash in the pan. Hopkins needs to prove that it’s not over until the fat lady sings, or, failing that, it’s not over until he says it’s over. This is how the Boxing.com writers see Cloud vs. Hopkins.

Adam Berlin: “Unless a fighter can gain The Executioner’s respect, and most victims can’t, Bernard Hopkins remains the picture of calm as he subtly, and not so subtly, uses every trick in his voluminous book to dictate pace. Joe Calzaghe, a master in his own right, took B-Hop out of his comfort zone. Chad Dawson, displaying no fear in their first truncated match, also didn’t allow Bernard to click into auto-pilot during their rematch. Between those two losses, Bernard Hopkins spent four years doing what he does best—not winning spectacularly (except when he schooled Kelly Pavlik), but never losing. Tavoris Cloud works hard in the ring, but he’s not particularly fast and he doesn’t possess intimidating power. I see Hopkins assuming the role of professor in this one, winning a dull decision, and once again holding back (when the referee isn’t looking) the hands of time.”

Cheekay Brandon: “Many who saw the Bernard Hopkins’ loss to Chad Dawson said that it was the first time that Hopkins was actually “beaten up” in a fight. Noticeable damage to his face, defeated convincingly. Through the years only a single kind of fighter has given Hopkins trouble: uber-athletic, rangy fighters with fast hands. This explains the losses to Roy Jones Jr., Jermain Taylor, Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson. Tavoris Cloud, on the other hand, fits the bill of fighters that Hopkins has historically feasted on: brawny young punchers. From Felix Trinidad to Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal, Hopkins routinely embarrasses boxers who fight like they have an extra Y chromosome. This time, however, I expect different. Hopkins’ work rate seemed historically low against Dawson, and the reliable Hopkins’ second wind never quite showed up, demonstrating that, for the first time, Hopkins really is starting to fade in fights. Few fighters are hungrier than Tavoris Cloud. Armed with a rags-to-riches story of his own, Cloud fights like the stakes of every round are for the proverbial “last piece of bread.” Cloud isn’t within a galaxy of Hopkins in terms of boxing skill, ring generalship or any neck-up boxing characteristic. I’m not entirely sure that Tavoris Cloud is any, if at all, better than Jean Pascal, who Hopkins made short work of. But Cloud’s work rate will be very high, which will allow him to steal rounds, and without the Hopkins second wind, this means piling up points early. Hopkins will surely outbox Cloud for stretches, but these stretches will be shorter and shorter than ever before, leading to a Tavoris Cloud unanimous decision victory.”

Teron Briggs: “Predicting Bernard Hopkins fights, much like watching them, has become a dull and tedious task. So I’m going to spice things up by going out on a limb. I’m picking Cloud to win by late round stoppage. Four or five years ago I think Cloud would have been the perfect prey for The Executioner. A come-forward fighter with little technique, he would’ve been unable to solve the complex puzzle that is B-Hop. However, at 48 with declining physical strength and increasingly unstable legs, I don’t believe Hopkins is able to go twelve rounds with a world-class, well conditioned athlete with the kind of brute power that Cloud possesses. I think early on we’ll get an ugly fight with lots of wrestling and clinching, which will weaken the older man and allow Cloud to stop him on his feet in the later rounds.” 

Clarence George: “Will Bernard Hopkins enter the ring with the aid of a walker? He’s 48—in the boxing world, that makes him Methuselah’s older brother. I’ll be happy as long as he doesn’t come caged and dressed like a lion. Hey, I’m happy just to see him fight, though I do want him to retire sooner rather than later. And how much later can it get? The main question, though, is does Hopkins still have the juice to beat Tavoris Cloud, a formidable opponent? I say he does. Cloud’s a power puncher, which is more than can be said for Hopkins, but he can’t match his opponent’s experience, savviness, and ring generalship (well, colonelship). I see Hopkins outsmarting, outclassing, and outboxing Cloud, taking the win and the IBF strap by hard-fought unanimous decision.”

Norman Marcus: “I have to go with my neighbor B-Hop. Told me he has a surprise in store for Cloud/King. The guy is such a ring general, I’ll have to back him up here. I call it a UD12 for Bernard. A legend can be hard to beat. Could be Bernard has won the head game already.”

Matt McGrain: “I wrote some years ago that when Hopkins loses I’ll be happy to be wrong rather than know the weird stare he put on the press rows after his domination of Kelly Pavlik is in some way meant for me, and in the spirit of that statement I’m picking Hopkins. More about what makes Hopkins special is retained in that granite dome than is the case for any other fighter of my generation and although, even in his genius, we now have to acknowledge that his brain might be writing checks that his body can’t cash, you can bet your ass he’s seen something. Of course, I said the same thing about his second fight with Chad Dawson but Cloud is more limited and we’ve seen him reasonably befuddled in the ring once already, with Gabriel Campillo. I predict a sneaky Hopkins UD.”

Robert Mladinich: “I don’t know much about Tavoris Cloud, but a perusal of his record shows that he is of sturdy stock. However, even at his advanced age, Hopkins is very formidable against all but top echelon opponents. My guess is that Cloud will not have the wherewithal to deal with Hopkins’ ring savvy and will get outworked. I would love to see Cloud emerge as an exciting American-born breath of fresh air, but believe Hopkins will win a dull decision. Hopkins W 12.”

Ezra Salkin: “Unlike Chad Dawson, and much like Jean Pascal, B-Hop has found himself an opponent whom he can use to break his own record as the oldest man to win a title. How absurd is this situation? Pascal was better than Cloud and that should allow Hopkins to win a drama free decision, though Cloud’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, is a crafty one. But no one beats Bernard in craft.”

Ted Sares: “This fight is between a guy who has a troubling ring IQ and one who has a near genius one. One is cagey and can get into your head. The other fights in spurts and is vulnerable to head games. That said, however, my bet is that Hopkins’s aging, but fit, body cannot sustain him against a very strong Cloud. I see the younger fighter winning by a decision in what should be an ugly, boring, and foul-filled bout. If you like chess, than this one should be appealing. If you like action, forget about it.”

J.E. Simons: “Bernard Hopkins’ last 13 fights, spanning almost nine years, have all gone the distance, mostly in his favor. He hasn’t stopped anyone since that wicked body shot starched Oscar De La Hoya in 2004.Tavoris Cloud has knocked out 19 of his 24 opponents, so can punch, though he hasn’t fought anyone with Hopkins’ acumen, class or experience, so its beautifully poised. But can a 48-year-old man really beat a 30-year-old man? I think he can. Hopkins wins by split decision for me in one that will even test the patience of the purists and enhance his own existing record as the sport’s oldest world champion. One that will surely never be beaten?”

Peter Wood: “Bernard Hopkins wins—but Don King somehow intervenes—and Tavoris Cloud goes home with the decision.”

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  1. nicolas 12:12pm, 03/09/2013

    Hopkins has had a career like a cat. First he was almost written off after falling out of the ring against Allen earlier in his career. Many felt that Trinidad was going to win, He was written off before the Tarver fight, and against Pavlik. But he has always come back. But I can’t see nine lives, or even 5 lives as this fight might be. At 48, father time has to catch up, and many felt that way after his last fight with Dawson. Just a few years ago, the idea of a Cloud victory would not have been thought, but I think that Hopkins to win this title needs to win seven rounds or more convincingly for several reasons. First, this fight for the IBF title. Does the IBF want to have three champions who have been beaten by another reigning world champion? You might get away for regional reasons with Froch and Salgado, but if Hopkins wins the title, him being from the same country like Dawson, and having lost pretty convincingly despite it being a majority decision, I think the IBF does not want to be known as the Inferior Boxing Federation. Also, of course there is the Don King factor, I am sure if Hopkins does lose he might bring that up. Finally, if Hopkins does win, is his win really all that great for boxing. It suggests that boxers coming up are today inferior (which many will say anyway) and even though he is a legend for it, I don’t think that Foreman’s victory over Moorer at the time was really all that good for boxing.

  2. T.O.N.E-z 04:47am, 03/09/2013

    this will be interesting, cloud (in my opinion) hasn’t shown that champion performance yet. and b hop is still a beast! I think it’ll end before the 5th by knockout with cloud as the victor or b hop will fight till the last round and win on points and aggression

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