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Pavlik-Hopkins: You've got to accentuate the positives

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He's not Chris Mannix, but Bart Barry has a fine column over at Sportsline.com that really takes the cake for junk coverage of this past weekend's Hopkins over Pavlik stunner.

Some excerpts for your enjoyment, and mine.

Before we begin our obligatory allusions to all-time greats, before we take an oath to write the word "legend" as often as we write the name Hopkins, we might answer this question: Did Hopkins win boxing any new fans Saturday night? Plenty of fans -- mostly from Ohio -- just left. But did the legendary all-time great Hopkins just give his sport a net win? Doubtful.

This is sort of like the current World Series matchup, Philadelphia against Tampa Bay. Folks will say things like, "FOX must be happy with that!" They're sarcastic, of course. FOX wanted Red Sox-Dodgers, Red Sox-Cubs, White Sox-Cubs, Angels-Dodgers, Angels-Cubs, Red Sox-Phillies -- pretty much anything besides this or Rays-Brewers.

Well, I don't care what FOX wanted, and I don't care what draws big ratings. The World Series will happen again next year regardless of the TV ratings. What I'm looking for is good baseball. Philadelphia-Tampa Bay promises that. So how the general public reacts is not my concern.

Bernard Hopkins put on a performance for the ages on Saturday night. He thoroughly entertained, something he hasn't done often over the years.

Yes, it would've been great for boxing had Pavlik won decisively, knocked out the old Hopkins and become an even bigger star. It didn't happen. It didn't come close to happening.

So instead of the story leading with Pavlik becoming a major marketing force, we have the inspiring story of 43-year old Bernard Hopkins taking one of the best champions in the sport to boxing school. Oh, shucks.

Hopkins undid Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City on Saturday. He beat him from turnbuckle to turnbuckle and won a unanimous decision one judge had 119-106. I had it 116-110 because a fighter who stays on his feet for 12 rounds probably deserves more than 106 points.

This is asinine. 116-110? The fight wasn't near that close. Anyone scoring it that close did it out of pity for Pavlik, who took a beating the entire night and won no more than two rounds. Staying on your feet for 12 rounds does not give you extra credit. He was hurt repeatedly, never hurt Hopkins, and was out-thrown and out-landed by a 43-year old man. Pavlik got his ass kicked.

It's not that Mr. Barry's points are wrong. Undoubtedly, Hopkins winning did not "win new fans for boxing." But would a Pavlik knockout have really WON any NEW fans for the sport? I doubt it. This was a $50 show on pay-per-view, a big card to be sure, but I don't think anyone new was looking to Pavlik-Hopkins as a fight that could expand their sporting horizons, a chance given to the sweet science, "dead" sport that it is.

It didn't help, no. It probably didn't hurt, either. Hopkins is an all-time great -- a genuine legend. Saying that giving Hopkins that respect is an "allusion" by desperate fans of the sport is foolish and just plain wrong. And Pavlik, 26, has plenty of time.

All fighters lose, especially the ones that face great competition. I've said that before. But Kelly Pavlik lost because he took a legitimately tough opponent, and he should be given respect. Instead of worrying about whether all of Kelly Pavlik's fans gave up on boxing thanks to this loss (they didn't), maybe it'd be better to accept this incredible night for what it was, bask in Bernard's glory for once, and look forward to Pavlik's return to the ring. The story may be about Bernard Hopkins right now, and I guess that disappoints some people. But there are more Kelly Pavlik stories to be told.