Naazim Richardson promised that we wouldn't see "B-Hop" against Tavoris Cloud, but the return of "The Executioner." I'm just thankful we didn't see the "B-Flop" who quit against Chad Dawson, but whatever Hopkins showed up, it was enough to dethrone the African American, Tavoris Cloud, who was anything but slick.
Hopkins has a history of losing to slick fighters regardless of their skin color. He got spanked by Roy Jones two decades ago and got schooled twice by Jermain Taylor last decade. Joe Calzaghe "slapped" Hopkins silly a few years ago. Then of course there was Chad Dawson who boxed circles, squares and triangles around Hopkins last year.
Cue in Tavoris Cloud, whose plodding style was no different from pigment-deficient Kelly Pavlik's. For twelve rounds he followed Bernard Hopkins around the ring like a chump. Hopkins would break his own record to become the oldest champ at 48. Official scorecards read 116-112 twice and 117-111, all in favor of one of the greatest professional boxers who ever lived (Hopkins can't touch Anderson Silva, the greatest fighter who ever lived, just to clarify).
Hopkins was his usual self, clutching and clinching and essentially depriving the fans of a real fight as he shut down Tavoris Cloud's offense. No one can deny Hopkins' boxing skills and wisdom, knowing prcisely when to throw just the right punches to win rounds. Hopkins knows the game, that's for sure, which brings up an interesting point; perhaps the game is broken.
It's probably never going to change, but the judging criteria in boxing favors fighters who refuse to engage. Fans have been brainwashed to call such fighters "brilliant," while real fighters who give us our money's worth are deemed lacking in IQ. Hopkins' style is effective mainly because the rules favor it, much like in MMA those who "lay and pray" have found the most success.
Maybe it's time for a rule change. What if each of the three judges had one specific criteria to determine which fighter gets the round? Say judge one awards the round to the fighter who throws the most punches regardless of how effective they were while judge two awards the round to the fighter who moved forward for the majority of the round, while the third judge gives the round to the fighter who landed more effectively.
That will only improve boxing 100 times over. It will reward real men who put it all on the line rather than safety-first jokers who win rounds at the expense of fighters who would rather give fans what they want than win a stinker. For now, it is what it is and Hopkins has another strap to add to his collection.