Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle, which mean this week marks the 20th anniversary of George Foreman’s victory over Michael Moorer to regain a version of the heavyweight title at 45. It’s kind of fitting, then, that Bernard Hopkins, who’s even more ancient at 49, is fighting this week. B-Hop has never done a commercial for Oscar Mayer Big and Juicy hotdogs, though, probably because he doesn’t eat them. It’s a great ad, though.
Oh, you’re here for the schedule! Here you go:
- Bernard Hopkins Vs. Sergey Kovalev, Saturday, HBO, Atlantic City. How do you pick an old man like Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KO) against a bone-shaking puncher like Kovalev (25-0, 23 KO)? Part of me thinks B-Hop is just going to age in fast forward and turn to dust like the Nazi at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark as soon as Kovalev touches him. But picking against B-Hop is generally a bad idea, and it could be that Kovalev is the one that does the fast forward claymation decay thing. Either way, somebody is going to be left a hollow husk of what they once were. Want a better preview than that? Tune in for Tim’s full shebang later in the week — it’ll be good. The undercard should be good, too, with Brooklynite Sadam Ali (20-0, 12 KO) taking a huge step up against Argentina’s Luis Carlos Abregu (36-1, 29 KO). Personally, I think it’s a bridge too far. Abregu is a bad dude with a hard head, hard hands and an awkward, active style that’s all wrong for someone like Ali, who really even had a fight against a legit fellow-prospect yet.
- Amir Mansour Vs. Frederic Kassi, Saturday, NBC Sports, Bethlehem Pa. Mansour (20-1, 15 KO), who is old (not Bernard Hopkins old but still old) and nifty takes a bounce-back fight after a loss to Steve Cunningham against the unimaginatively named (and unimaginatively matched) “Big” Fred Kassi (18-2, 10 KO), whose 20 southern opponents were batting below .50 as a group.
- Diego Magdaleno Vs. Hevinson Herrera, Saturday, UniMas, Pharr Texas. It seemed like it took lightweight prospect Magdaleno (26-1, 10 KO) forever to get a really tough fight and when he finally did, against Rocky Martinez, he lost it. So now I guess we have to look forward to more middling match-ups like this one against Colombia’s alliteratively named Herrera (17-9-1, 11 KO).
- Fernando Montiel Vs. Sergio Puente, Saturday, BeIN Sports Espanol, Monterrey Mexico. Now the elder statesman of his clan, Montiel (54-4-2, 39 KO) takes on up-and-comer Puente (15-0, 6 KO) at junior lightweight. From what I’ve seen of him, Puente is a passable kind of guy — not a big puncher, but not afraid to mix it up either. He’s also about the same size and Montiel (who’s tiny at this weight). Could be fun.
- Felix Sturm Vs. Robert Stieglitz, Saturday, Stuttgart. Middleweight stalwart Sturm (39-4-2, 18 KO) moves up a few pound to take on Stieglitz (47-4, 27 KO) in a fight at a 166 lb catchweight. Normally I’d favour the more skillful Sturm, even at the tail end of his 13 year career, but the weight throws an interesting spanner in the works — who knows how he’ll fair against the naturally larger man.
- Tomasz Adamek Vs. Artur Szpilka, Saturday, Krakow Poland. If you can somehow find a way to track this one down, it may be well worth it. Adamek (49-3, 29 KO) isn’t what he once was, which is good for his tough but limited compatriot, Szpilka (16-1, 12 KO). And good for us. Adamek is rarely in a bad fight, and a come-forward type like Szpilka is likely to bring out the best of him in front of their home crowd. What’s not to like?