posted on Dec, 9 2003 @ 07:56 PM
Miami Herald - December 8, 2003
Bernard Hopkins' plan of legacy-enhancing fights has not exactly materialized since his victory over Felix Trinidad two years ago.
Bouts against Morrade Hakkar and Carl Daniels -- his only ring appearances since the Trinidad fight -- are merely additional winning lines on Hopkins'
résumé. Instead of capitalizing from high-profile performances, Hopkins has settled for nondescript, already-forgotten opponents.
"I don't [decide the] No. 1 contenders, the sanctioning body does," Hopkins said in a recent conference call while speaking about Hakkar, who spent
most of the fight running from Hopkins. "You fight the guy that they [make] the No. 1 contender based upon keeping your undisputed title, which is
something very rare in boxing."
At least Hopkins (42-2-1, 31 KOs) will face a more established foe Saturday night at Atlantic City. Hopkins, who unified the three major middleweight
belts after a 12th-round technical knockout of Trinidad, will defend his 160-pound title against former WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (8
In the aftermath of the Trinidad bout, Hopkins has heard criticism that he has bypassed stiff competition. A discussed bout with Roy Jones Jr. at 168
pounds broke down because of a conflict in purse percentage.
With Trinidad now retired, Hopkins has no attractive rival in the 160-pound class. In March, when Oscar De La Hoya was promoting a show at Club Level
on South Beach, Hopkins called out De La Hoya, attempting to persuade the then-154-pound champion to move up in weight and face Hopkins.
But De La Hoya has not seriously considered Hopkins, even after losing his super-welterweight title to Shane Mosley in September. Jones is no longer
an option, especially since he plans to fight the rest of his career as a heavyweight.
Without a marquee opponent, Hopkins, 38, finds motivation in extending his string of successful title defenses. If he beats Joppy (34-2-1, 25 KOs),
Hopkins will have 16 defenses since becoming a world champion in 1995.
** Although AmericanAirlines Arena and Miami Arena were considered for the Acelino Freitas-Artur Grigorian WBO lightweight title fight Jan. 3, the
bout will be held at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
** Miccosukee Indian Gaming presents its final card of the year Friday night. The show's main event will be a regional bantamweight title fight
between ex-WBO bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez and Mexico's Sergio Perez. Six additional bouts are scheduled.
** Tony Alongi, a popular heavyweight during promoter Chris Dundee's shows at the Miami Beach Auditorium and Convention Center in the 1960s, died Nov.
27 of heart failure at 64. Alongi, a long-time Hollywood resident, had a career record of 40-2-4 with 23 knockouts.