Quijano: Hopkins proves it’s still brains over brawn

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TIME and again, we bear witness to the human body’s capacity to perform infinitesimal feats and achieve seemingly incalculable goals.

As a sportswriter, I have seen incredible displays of athletic ability that has left me in awe, and last Sunday Bernard Hopkins once again made my jaw drop.

Old man Popkins broke his own record and became a world champion again—this time at 48 years old.


To put things in perspective, I know a couple of guys pushing fifty who get winded just making a sandwich.

In Hopkins’ case, he impressively beat a young undefeated champion in Tavoris Cloud, a fighter touted as a mini-Mike Tyson.

I have no qualms about that comparison since Hopkins used a lot of Evander Holyfield tactics out there to thwart the bull-rushing Cloud.

YOUNG ONES. After Chad Dawson defeated him convincingly last year, doubts were aplenty as to whether or not Hopkins could still sustain his incredible achievements at an advanced fighting age.

But just like Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th, the “Executioner” just won’t go away.

Hopkins himself has swaggered that he has a history of destroying young champions.

Kelly Pavlik was undefeated when Hopkins systematically outworked him. Jean Pascal was also on top of his game, but Hopkins proved he could defeat him in their rematch.

To this writer, aside from his excellent conditioning, Hopkins proves that once and for all, boxing is a skills game. It’s not called the “sweet science” for nothing.

To be fair, there’s nothing syrupy about Hopkins’ tactics nowadays, but it borders on gamesmanship and he does what needs to be done to win the rounds.

Cloud was his usual aggressive self, trying to bully Hopkins around the ring and throwing punches with murderous intentions ala Tyson.

But Hopkins succeeded in thwarting his offense by limiting his punching opportunities, tying him up when needed and not giving his feral opponent room to punch effectively.

The crafty veteran also moved a lot, minimizing the exchanges and taking himself out of harm’s way. More importantly, he controlled the fight and made it his own.

Thanks ‘Nard for proving it’s still brains over brawn.

MERLITO SABILLO. He’s currently the toast of Cebu boxing right now after traveling all the way to Cerete, Colombia to beat local favorite Luis de La Rosa via 8th round TKO.

His spectacular performance netted him the WBO minimum-weight interim-champion status.

If you recall just last week, the regular WBO minim-weight champion Moises Fuentes came to town to challenge Donnie Nietes’ for the latter’s WBO light flyweight diadem which is the next weight class.

The verdict was a majority draw and so that opens up several opportunities for Sabillo.

He could figure in a battle with Fuentes for the regular WBO title if Fuentes decides to remain in that weight category.

If we take Marco Antonio Barrera’s word for it, the Mexicans reportedly had no qualms about coming back (except of course for their preference for a non-Filipino judge, but that’s another story).

This time, he could be taking on Donnie’s stable mate who will definitely be ready eager to defend the ALA gym pride.

UNKNOWN. This Bacolod City native has understandably been under the radar all this time as he has yet to face a big name opponent prior to the de la Rosa fight.

I saw him fight last year at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel at the undercard for Milan Milando’s defense against Jean Piero Perez where Sabillo scored a first round KO over the unheralded Jovel Romasasa.

He also defeated Soffyan Effendi via decision in January of last year, but other than those aforementioned, he has been fighting almost exclusively in Bacolod.

Let’s wish him more success as we continue our search for new pugilistic heroes.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Marit Stinus Cabugon, who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2013.


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