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Jorge's Corner
The Voice of Boxing in Central and Northern California

 

Hopkins vs. Taylor
Las Vegas, NV
July 17, 2005

I am continually perplexed, often annoyed and always impressed by some of the shenanigans professional fighters pull.  Perhaps Iíve grown jaded, too suspicious or maybe just unwilling to believe what's on the surface. Iíve always relied on my instincts.  I donít believe Hopkins was beaten by Taylor. Everybody whoís fought, worked with real fighters, or been around them, knows how they think.  Anyone who has been around former convicts knows something about them as well.  They also know their willingness to take risks.  As a police officer, I was often amazed at their ability to deceive others.  Working around alleged rehabilitated, former prisoners, I was shocked at how many have taken what theyíve learned in prison, and molded it to serve them in society. I believe Hopkins did just that in his fight with Taylor.

When Shakespeare said, ďthe whole world is a stageĒ, I donít believe he had boxing in mind, but that is where Bernard, ďThe ExecutionerĒ Hopkins staged the deception. I believe what we witnessed was a ďstaged performanceĒ. During my years as a solider, I served with real killers. Not the crazy bastards that chop people up, but the methodical killers, trained to do the job without hesitation, regret or remorse. Hopkins learned these characteristics on the streets and in prison.  He is not afraid to push it to the limits, or take a calculated risk. Heís indifference towards the fans is obvious.  I believe Hopkins has the psychology of indifference. Unlike my colleagues, I believe Hopkins let Taylor win and set up a bigger pay day, and a place in boxing history, just like heís always wanted.

This is not to take anything away form Taylor; I donít believe he was a part of the staged performance. He was an unknowing, unwilling puppet.  I base my theory on years of experience.  Hopkins is not what you might call an exciting boxer.  He goes about his business like a journeyman carpenter. He moves when he as too, works harder when necessary, does his job, collects his pay, and goes home.  There might have been a time, when Hopkins was into knocking the crap out of people, but not now.  Like any other veteran carpenter, itís just a job.  Like any other professional, he sees himself as valuable and wants to make as much money as possible However, now that heís hooked up with Oscar De La Hoya, a veteran at double talking, back room dealer, whoís dump his trainers like dirty laundry, and makes his own rules, Hopkins now has an opportunity.  Like Hopkins, Oscar has skeletons in his closet.  Oscar likes to pretend he is a self made man.  He may be calling the shots now, but that's because he stepped on people all the way to the top.  This does not mean he did not win the fights, he did. However, he failed to thank hundreds of people he used along the way. Oscar reveals his true character when he forgets to thank those that helped him become great.  I was disappointed to speak with Oscarís first amateur coach. The man never spoke ill of him, which is a testament to his character, but he also never said a kind word about Oscar.  Like a gangster from the God Father, Oscar did the job on him. He used him, and then discarded him. I can understand his bitterness.  I tell people, No one ever forgets being screwed over, ever.

Oscarís good looks and quick hands have helped him grow rich, but they did nothing for his character.  Outside the ring, Oscar, like Bernard may not be the kind of person youíd want to associate with.  Inside the ring both of them shine like gold, they move like music and strike like thunder, its easy to admire them.  Which is why I am convinced that this performance was nothing more than a well planned, staged event, designed to squeeze millions out for Hopkins retirement, and Oscarís greed.

The business of boxing, unlike other sports only requires one player.  It only takes one man to make things happen.  I believe Oscar and Bernard cooked up this idea. Hopkins wants to retire.  His main objective is to make as much money as possible, and in the least amount of time. The idea was simple and easy, heíd find a worthy opponent and Oscar would promote the fight.  It was flawless. Basically they'd copy the Gatti-Ward Trilogy. They included an immediate rematch in the contract and they guaranteed themselves a huge payday, twice, maybe three times in a row.  Itís a great money making monster, which includes the fans as unwilling participants. Their rationalization is that the fans will love it. Like all professional performers they have a love-hate relationship with fans, and they know most fans donít know anything about boxing. Fans come to drink, have fun and raise hell.

I donít believe what we witnessed was Hopkins actually trying to win. I believe we watched him trying not to loose so badly, it could have been called a fraud. If I knew a little less about people and The Golden Boy, I might believe it was a real fight.  However, as much as I love boxing, I am also very aware of its dark side. I believe the only way to improve it, is to call it as I see it.

I have to admit Hopkins has not done anything others have not done before him.  In this country the rich look down on the rest of us.  We tend to measure success by the amount in our bank accounts.  Its no wonder so many bend the rules, lie and steal for their idea of the American dream.  Hopkins is preparing his retirement.  I am not sure he even told Oscar, if I were Bernard, I would not trust him.  It just sounds a little too good to be true.  I bet, weíll see Hopkins win back his title in the rematch, making bigger headlines, and more money, then if heíd simply knocked out Taylor as easily as I think he could.

Iíve not had the opportunity to meet Bernard Hopkins, but Iíve met lots of guys like him. I canít prove my theory; itís just my combat antenna buzzing me. My antenna has saved my bacon more than once, and Iíd bet a dollar to your dime Iím right.  We might have to coin a new phrase for what I believe Hopkins did.  Heís hiding in plain sight, much like our Sheriff Baxter Dune in San Joaquin County.  Baxter lied, stole, misused authority, took bribes, and God only knows what else, then pleaded guilty to a lesser crime. Heíll do a year in jail, get out, be free as a bird, plus have his full pension.  Unlike Baxter, Hopkins never swore to uphold the law.  In light of this comparison, Iíd rather hang out with Bernard, who may have been a criminal, but at least can claim self-respect.  Both Hopkins and Baxter can laugh, as they count their money all the way to the bank.  However, the only thing that keeps Dune from being Dung is one simple letter.

I look forward to the rematch. I believe it will be bigger than the first fight. Hopkins will regain his title and join the ranks of men who have avenged a defeat and won honor amongst other great warriors. Boxing will go on generating millions for those who hold the strings.  Me, sometimes I wish I were just a simple, sports fan, blind and willing to believe what's on the surface. Boxing might be more fun.

I have become syndicated and people all over the world are reading my articles.  Iíve also received mail not so complementary, in fact, several of my readers are angry.  The most recent is the uncrowned boxing queen of Sacramento.  Like I explained to her, I only write about boxing.  I never attack individuals.  I write about their performance in the ring. Outside the ring they are as interesting to me as telephone poles. However, A professional performer who takes offense at my observations is wasting precious energy on something beyond their control. I suggest better focus. If I point out their faults, I do so because I love the game, not to insult them. I suggest they get better trainers. If they choose to ignore me, I still say God Bless Ďem, itís their butts on the line.  Pain is an equal opportunity employer. Even with all the negative stuff that surrounds me, I still love this game, so I gotta say, Thank God for Boxing!

Remember to say a prayer for our boys in Iraq and Afghanistan. It couldnít hurt.

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez
Sportswriter/Trainer/Manager
dancingskyhorse@earthlink.net

 

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