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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 21,2014 Bernard Hopkins A couple of weeks ago 49- year old Bernard Hopkins stepped into the ring to fight Sergey Kovalev for various versions of the so-called World Light Heavyweight title. Hopkins dropped every round in a loss to Kovalev barely surviving the final i-ound. I am not writing this column to analyze that bout, but rather to discuss the comments leading up to, dur- ing, and after the fight took place. The comments have to do With the supposed greatness of Hopkins fight- ing at such an advanced age, and the superman status that has been bestowed on him. I am going to address the repeated comparisons that have been made be- tween Hopkins and former light heavyweight champion Archie Moore. In the weeks leading up to the bout,-the Hopkins-Moore comparison was made repeatedly with, from what I read and heard, unanimous Opinion that Hopkins has proven himself a greater fighter then the Old Mon- goose, especially when it comes to fighting at an advanced age. Thi.s is just plain silly. Today's so-called experts like to deal in statistics, treating boxing more like baseball. I believe it was President Harry Truman who once said "There are lies, damn lie's, and statis- tics." Well, for the sake of argument, I will begin by cit- ing a few statistics when it comes to these two boxers. Bernard Hopkins: as of the Kovalev bout, had a total of 66 fights with 55 wins, 32 coming by knockout. He had boxed a total of 506 rounds over a career that has lasted 16 years. Archie Moore had a total of 219 fights with 185 wins, with a record setting 131 coming via knockout. He boxed a total of 1,473 rounds during his career, which lasted from 1935 until 1963 an incredible 28 years. Moore had three and a half times more bouts then Hopkins, over three times as many wins, and over four times as many kayos. I don't have those silly punch stat numbers to use as a comparison, but I can assure you that Archie landed a lot more, and a lot iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 'i :il HOPKINS vs. MOORE Give Me A Break more effective blows on his opponents then Hopkins has. Okay, so now that I have cited some statistics, let's take a look at the level of opposition these two faced during their careers and especially during their later years. In a recent New York Times Magazine piece on Hopkins written by Carlo Rotella, Rotella makes the state- ment that "Bernard Hopkins may well be the best old fighter ever ... Even among the few greats who fought into their 40s -- Bob Fitzsimmons, Archie Moore, George Foreman -- it's diffi- cult to find parallels to Hopkin's late career run of lucrative high-profile victo- ries over top-flight competi- tion." What an incredible statement. Does Mr. Rotella really believe Hopkins has been facing better opponents then Archie Moore did late in his career? Let's take a look. From 1958 through 1963 Archie Moore had a total of 23 bouts, winning all but two including two draws. Moore was either 43 or 45 to 48 or 50 years old over this period. (There is some dispute over his actual date of birth. His mother said he was born in 1913.) Over that period he defeated top heavyweights Willie Bes- manoff (Once on points, once by kayo), Alejandro Lavorante by kayo, stopped Pete Rademacher, and beat Charley Norkus. To top things off, he fought a draw with future light, heavy- weight champion Willie Pastrano. Moore was 50 years old when he fought the fleet foot.ed Pastrano. Quite an accomplishment for an old man. His only losses dur- ing this period were to Giulio Rinaldi in Rome, a fight he later avenged, and a knock- out loss to an up and coming heavyweight by the name of Cassius Clay. Going back further in Archie's career we see that he fought a few other notablefighters. Maybe these opponents would not be considered top quality by today's so-called experts, but I will toss their names out there anyway for the fans who remember the greats from boxing's past. In 1955 Moore took on Rocky Marciano for the heavyweight title. In the second round he dropped the champion for only the second knock down of Marciano's career. Moore gave Rocky a very tough fight before .falling in the ninth round. A quick look at Archie's record is a who's who of great fighters. Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles, Harold Johnson; Bob Satter- field, Charley Burley, Jimmy Bivins, Floyd Patterson, Jack Chase, Cocoa Kid and Lloyd Marshall. I could go Archie Moore on, but I think you get the point. Archie fought just about all of the members of the Black Murder's Row, ,per- haps the greatest group of boxers to ever lace on gloves. Let's look at the last five years of Hopkins' career. He had a total of ten fights, winning six with two losses, one draw, one no decision, with a single win via knock- out. He decisoned a washed up Roy Jones, Beibut Shumenov (a fighter with only 14 fights and no trainer), and lost overwhelm-. ingly to Kovalev. He also had" the NC and a decision loss to Chad Dawson. Going back furthering in his career, the high points were wins over Oscar De La Hoya, William Joppy, Antonio Tarver, and Winky Wright. These names are hardly on the level of a Harold Johnson, Bob Satterfield, Charley Burley, or Joey Maxim. Archie Moore was a very great fighter who competed in an era of very great fight- ers. He was able to remain competitive in his old age because he had amazing boxing skills, was a great defensive boxer, and was always dangerous because of his punching power . Hopkins is a decent boxer who has "grown old in an age of mediocrity. The fact that Bernard has been able to remain competitive at his advanced age is much more a commentary on the utter lack of quality fighters entering the ring today than it is on any super human strength that so many of today's so-called box{ng experts have attributed to him. Hopkins is an old fighter. His legs and punch are gone. In any other era he would have been retired years ago. It was sad watch- ing his performance against Shumenov, a fighter with very few skills, who would have knocked out Hopkins if he had even a clue of how to throw a combination. It is fine with me if today's "boxing experts" want to create myths around the current crop of fighters, but please don't do it at the expense of the truly great fighters such as Archie Moore. He earned his boxing PhD in boxing the hard way. He fought for it. BRUINS AT THE QUARTER basically coming apart dur- MARK -- It was a happy ing the final quarter. bunch of Bruins that were all Although it's fairly early in smiles in the locker room the NBA season, the same after blanking the St. Louis process seems to be taking Blues by a 2-0 count at the place again. In the recent Garden to close out the first game against the Cleveland quarter of the schedule. Cavaliers at the Garden, for That's right. Even though example, the C's appeared to it was more than a week have LeBron James and his before Thanksgiving, the vic- band on the ropes as they tory over the second best entered the fourth quarter team in the Western Confer- with a 17-point lead. ence was the 20 a contest for And then they added to the Bruins. It was also their it with an early bucket in 124 win of the campaign and the fourth, stretching the moved them into a tie for margin to 19. But within a fourth in the Eastern Confer- few minutes the Cavs had ence standings with the New whittled that down to nine York Islanders. and it was touch and go St. Louis came into the from there. Finally, late in Garden with a 9-1 record over the game, the Cavs went its last 10 games, but was ahead and won the game by effectively Stopped as the a single point when the B's played a good defensive Celtics missed a game-end- game with goalie Tuukka ing shot as time ran out. Rask turning away all 33 Once more, the Celtics shots on net. It was his 24 th hung their heads, knowing career shutout, moving him that the result should have into seventh place on the been different. team's all-time shutout list "I'm frustrated by it," said behind Byron Dafoe who has Stevens in a somewhat som- 25. ber post-game press confer- It was Boston's first shut- ence, a venue where a this- out win over the Blues since shouldn't-have-happened Reggi e Lemelin posted a atmosphere seemed present 3-0 victory in St. Louis on in the room. "I want to get March 27, 1990. And when better at it (playing in the did the B's last whitewash fourth quarter). I thought our the Blues in Boston. Oh, back energy and togetherness was when Gerry Cheevers got the much better. But you've got call and blanked the Blues to to play all 48. You've got to be the tune of a 4-0 count way great all 48. It's not the same back on January 17, 1979. against everybody but you've It was also a statement" got to be on you're A game the about the team whose play whole time." has been questioned in some Stevens explained that quarters of late. "there are no moral victories. 'here were a lot of people We can't talk about learning. questioning our hockey team We've .got to just get better. and we wanted to prove them We've got to do it. And I think wrong," stated forward David that's where we all are. We Krejci. "We showed that we can't get frustrated with it." can play hockey against one He noted that the Cleve- of the best teams in the land loss came with more league. We had good first and than 70 games left in the second periods and finished season. "We can't lose sight strong in the third. I thought of that fact. The good news is it was a good effort by all four that there is a belief growing lines. It was'a big win for all but it's got to be rounded out." of us." "We've got to stay aggres- Fellow forward I>atrice Ber- sive," noted center Kelly geron echoed Krejci's as- Olynyk. "We are playing the sessment. "It was definitely right way,. pushing the ball in a big win for us. It was a big transition, moving the ball. effort against a team that Then we get a big lead. I don't doesn't give you much and know if we are trying to pro- has great skills." tect it but we just have to "We started off really hard," keep playing .the same way said Rask. "The first period we are playing and keep the was probably the best one. heat on rather than pull off You're always going to have and try to defend it." little ups and downs through- Three nights later it was out the game,-but for the Phoenix that did the deed. most part we kept things Rather than being ahead by tight and played a goOd game. double digits, the C's rallied I thought everyo/he was from a deficit in the third and "going, yola know,/full 60. made the fourth quarter a We're a good tam when battle for the game. But in we have everybpdy going, the end it came down to the As far as the teaIii effort goes, closing moments and once I think that w/as our best again the Celtics came up game of the se/ason." short. Once again, the same So, it's on tYthe next quar- sad song was sung. The Suns ter of the season. Everything left with a victory and the is still very much in flux, but Celtics exited with a loss. It it was a good conclusion to was also another night that the first quarter, the C's were 0utscored in the Turning to the Celtics, it fourth, this time by a 29-26 is the season once again, count. The season of the fourth As Stevens notes, there's quarter letdown, still time to right the Celtics' During the 2013-2014 cam- ship. But it needs to happen paign, the first under Head- in the near future before the Coach Brad Stevens, the C's gloom of another losing year lost numerous games by sets in. Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 21,2014 Bernard Hopkins A couple of weeks ago 49- year old Bernard Hopkins stepped into the ring to fight Sergey Kovalev for various versions of the so-called World Light Heavyweight title. Hopkins dropped every round in a loss to Kovalev barely surviving the final i-ound. I am not writing this column to analyze that bout, but rather to discuss the comments leading up to, dur- ing, and after the fight took place. The comments have to do With the supposed greatness of Hopkins fight- ing at such an advanced age, and the superman status that has been bestowed on him. I am going to address the repeated comparisons that have been made be- tween Hopkins and former light heavyweight champion Archie Moore. In the weeks leading up to the bout,-the Hopkins-Moore comparison was made repeatedly with, from what I read and heard, unanimous Opinion that Hopkins has proven himself a greater fighter then the Old Mon- goose, especially when it comes to fighting at an advanced age. Thi.s is just plain silly. Today's so-called experts like to deal in statistics, treating boxing more like baseball. I believe it was President Harry Truman who once said "There are lies, damn lie's, and statis- tics." Well, for the sake of argument, I will begin by cit- ing a few statistics when it comes to these two boxers. Bernard Hopkins: as of the Kovalev bout, had a total of 66 fights with 55 wins, 32 coming by knockout. He had boxed a total of 506 rounds over a career that has lasted 16 years. Archie Moore had a total of 219 fights with 185 wins, with a record setting 131 coming via knockout. He boxed a total of 1,473 rounds during his career, which lasted from 1935 until 1963 an incredible 28 years. Moore had three and a half times more bouts then Hopkins, over three times as many wins, and over four times as many kayos. I don't have those silly punch stat numbers to use as a comparison, but I can assure you that Archie landed a lot more, and a lot iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 'i :il HOPKINS vs. MOORE Give Me A Break more effective blows on his opponents then Hopkins has. Okay, so now that I have cited some statistics, let's take a look at the level of opposition these two faced during their careers and especially during their later years. In a recent New York Times Magazine piece on Hopkins written by Carlo Rotella, Rotella makes the state- ment that "Bernard Hopkins may well be the best old fighter ever ... Even among the few greats who fought into their 40s -- Bob Fitzsimmons, Archie Moore, George Foreman -- it's diffi- cult to find parallels to Hopkin's late career run of lucrative high-profile victo- ries over top-flight competi- tion." What an incredible statement. Does Mr. Rotella really believe Hopkins has been facing better opponents then Archie Moore did late in his career? Let's take a look. From 1958 through 1963 Archie Moore had a total of 23 bouts, winning all but two including two draws. Moore was either 43 or 45 to 48 or 50 years old over this period. (There is some dispute over his actual date of birth. His mother said he was born in 1913.) Over that period he defeated top heavyweights Willie Bes- manoff (Once on points, once by kayo), Alejandro Lavorante by kayo, stopped Pete Rademacher, and beat Charley Norkus. To top things off, he fought a draw with future light, heavy- weight champion Willie Pastrano. Moore was 50 years old when he fought the fleet foot.ed Pastrano. Quite an accomplishment for an old man. His only losses dur- ing this period were to Giulio Rinaldi in Rome, a fight he later avenged, and a knock- out loss to an up and coming heavyweight by the name of Cassius Clay. Going back further in Archie's career we see that he fought a few other notablefighters. Maybe these opponents would not be considered top quality by today's so-called experts, but I will toss their names out there anyway for the fans who remember the greats from boxing's past. In 1955 Moore took on Rocky Marciano for the heavyweight title. In the second round he dropped the champion for only the second knock down of Marciano's career. Moore gave Rocky a very tough fight before .falling in the ninth round. A quick look at Archie's record is a who's who of great fighters. Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles, Harold Johnson; Bob Satter- field, Charley Burley, Jimmy Bivins, Floyd Patterson, Jack Chase, Cocoa Kid and Lloyd Marshall. I could go Archie Moore on, but I think you get the point. Archie fought just about all of the members of the Black Murder's Row, ,per- haps the greatest group of boxers to ever lace on gloves. Let's look at the last five years of Hopkins' career. He had a total of ten fights, winning six with two losses, one draw, one no decision, with a single win via knock- out. He decisoned a washed up Roy Jones, Beibut Shumenov (a fighter with only 14 fights and no trainer), and lost overwhelm-. ingly to Kovalev. He also had" the NC and a decision loss to Chad Dawson. Going back furthering in his career, the high points were wins over Oscar De La Hoya, William Joppy, Antonio Tarver, and Winky Wright. These names are hardly on the level of a Harold Johnson, Bob Satterfield, Charley Burley, or Joey Maxim. Archie Moore was a very great fighter who competed in an era of very great fight- ers. He was able to remain competitive in his old age because he had amazing boxing skills, was a great defensive boxer, and was always dangerous because of his punching power . Hopkins is a decent boxer who has "grown old in an age of mediocrity. The fact that Bernard has been able to remain competitive at his advanced age is much more a commentary on the utter lack of quality fighters entering the ring today than it is on any super human strength that so many of today's so-called box{ng experts have attributed to him. Hopkins is an old fighter. His legs and punch are gone. In any other era he would have been retired years ago. It was sad watch- ing his performance against Shumenov, a fighter with very few skills, who would have knocked out Hopkins if he had even a clue of how to throw a combination. It is fine with me if today's "boxing experts" want to create myths around the current crop of fighters, but please don't do it at the expense of the truly great fighters such as Archie Moore. He earned his boxing PhD in boxing the hard way. He fought for it. BRUINS AT THE QUARTER basically coming apart dur- MARK -- It was a happy ing the final quarter. bunch of Bruins that were all Although it's fairly early in smiles in the locker room the NBA season, the same after blanking the St. Louis process seems to be taking Blues by a 2-0 count at the place again. In the recent Garden to close out the first game against the Cleveland quarter of the schedule. Cavaliers at the Garden, for That's right. Even though example, the C's appeared to it was more than a week have LeBron James and his before Thanksgiving, the vic- band on the ropes as they tory over the second best entered the fourth quarter team in the Western Confer- with a 17-point lead. ence was the 20 a contest for And then they added to the Bruins. It was also their it with an early bucket in 124 win of the campaign and the fourth, stretching the moved them into a tie for margin to 19. But within a fourth in the Eastern Confer- few minutes the Cavs had ence standings with the New whittled that down to nine York Islanders. and it was touch and go St. Louis came into the from there. Finally, late in Garden with a 9-1 record over the game, the Cavs went its last 10 games, but was ahead and won the game by effectively Stopped as the a single point when the B's played a good defensive Celtics missed a game-end- game with goalie Tuukka ing shot as time ran out. Rask turning away all 33 Once more, the Celtics shots on net. It was his 24 th hung their heads, knowing career shutout, moving him that the result should have into seventh place on the been different. team's all-time shutout list "I'm frustrated by it," said behind Byron Dafoe who has Stevens in a somewhat som- 25. ber post-game press confer- It was Boston's first shut- ence, a venue where a this- out win over the Blues since shouldn't-have-happened Reggi e Lemelin posted a atmosphere seemed present 3-0 victory in St. Louis on in the room. "I want to get March 27, 1990. And when better at it (playing in the did the B's last whitewash fourth quarter). I thought our the Blues in Boston. Oh, back energy and togetherness was when Gerry Cheevers got the much better. But you've got call and blanked the Blues to to play all 48. You've got to be the tune of a 4-0 count way great all 48. It's not the same back on January 17, 1979. against everybody but you've It was also a statement" got to be on you're A game the about the team whose play whole time." has been questioned in some Stevens explained that quarters of late. "there are no moral victories. 'here were a lot of people We can't talk about learning. questioning our hockey team We've .got to just get better. and we wanted to prove them We've got to do it. And I think wrong," stated forward David that's where we all are. We Krejci. "We showed that we can't get frustrated with it." can play hockey against one He noted that the Cleve- of the best teams in the land loss came with more league. We had good first and than 70 games left in the second periods and finished season. "We can't lose sight strong in the third. I thought of that fact. The good news is it was a good effort by all four that there is a belief growing lines. It was'a big win for all but it's got to be rounded out." of us." "We've got to stay aggres- Fellow forward I>atrice Ber- sive," noted center Kelly geron echoed Krejci's as- Olynyk. "We are playing the sessment. "It was definitely right way,. pushing the ball in a big win for us. It was a big transition, moving the ball. effort against a team that Then we get a big lead. I don't doesn't give you much and know if we are trying to pro- has great skills." tect it but we just have to "We started off really hard," keep playing .the same way said Rask. "The first period we are playing and keep the was probably the best one. heat on rather than pull off You're always going to have and try to defend it." little ups and downs through- Three nights later it was out the game,-but for the Phoenix that did the deed. most part we kept things Rather than being ahead by tight and played a goOd game. double digits, the C's rallied I thought everyo/he was from a deficit in the third and "going, yola know,/full 60. made the fourth quarter a We're a good tam when battle for the game. But in we have everybpdy going, the end it came down to the As far as the teaIii effort goes, closing moments and once I think that w/as our best again the Celtics came up game of the se/ason." short. Once again, the same So, it's on tYthe next quar- sad song was sung. The Suns ter of the season. Everything left with a victory and the is still very much in flux, but Celtics exited with a loss. It it was a good conclusion to was also another night that the first quarter, the C's were 0utscored in the Turning to the Celtics, it fourth, this time by a 29-26 is the season once again, count. The season of the fourth As Stevens notes, there's quarter letdown, still time to right the Celtics' During the 2013-2014 cam- ship. But it needs to happen paign, the first under Head- in the near future before the Coach Brad Stevens, the C's gloom of another losing year lost numerous games by sets in.