He did it. Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins took care of Howard Eastman in his 20th title defense Saturday night at the Staples’ Center in Los Angeles. It was a tougher fight than many had expected for Hopkins who looked a little bit closer to his age than he had in his last fight against the Golden Boy last September. For Hopkins took many shots that some had never seen him take before, but Hopkins was able to land many more on Eastman, and successfully defended his middleweight crown, setting up huge future fights with Tito Trinidad, or even Jermain Taylor.
To begin his 20th defense, Bernard Hopkins came out jabbing, feinting, and dancing around the ring to get acquainted with Battersea Bomber’s supposed awkward style. Hopkins landed the first clean punch of the night in the form of a leaping left hook that put Eastman off balance. The crowd wanted more action, but did not get it in the opening round as both Hopkins and Eastman fought close for the remaining minutes of the frame.
Eastman landed a quick right uppercut upstairs on Hopkins to begin round two, but Hopkins used his quickness to land an overhand right to counter while Eastman was retreating. The two fighters took turns trading off shots that ranged from stiff jabs to hard hooks down below for the following minutes, but still neither fighter seemed willing to invest too much time within their opponent’s reach.
Half way through the third round, the Executioner caught the Battersea Bomber with a hard left hook upstairs, but Eastman was not phased. He instead countered with a hard hook upstairs of his own while he had Hopkins laying against the ropes. Eastman stalked Hopkins for the last ten seconds of the round hoping to land a flush power punch that never happened.
Before the fourth inning got underway, referee Raul Caiz Jr. warned the two fighters to not use their heads as a weapon, and with that Hopkins and Eastman began the round that had seen the best action so far. Eastman caught Hopkins with a right hook upstairs, who then countered with a left to Eastman’s head, but Hopkins used the rest of the round to feint and dance around the aggressive Eastman in order to keep him at bay.
The Battersea Bomber attacked Hopkins with hard combinations upstairs to begin round five, which started the best exchange between the fighters in the fight so far, as both landed hard combinations of hooks and crosses to the other’s head. The last minute of the round had Eastman catching Hopkins with amazingly clean shots forcing the Executioner to actually hold onto his opponent, but Hopkins answered back with quicker jabs to Eastman’s head that put him off balance.
Hopkins continued to use his superior feinting skills in round six, allowing him to land crisp shots upstairs while Eastman was forced to reset his stance. Hopkins caught his opponent with a great right hook upstairs, turning the head of Eastman. However, the Battersea Bomber wisely held onto Hopkins forcing his opponent to fight out of the grasp, and the two fought closely inside of each other for the final ten seconds.
The seventh round was fought in a phone booth with both fighters using their jabs to set up power shots that were mostly dodged or deflected, but in the eighth round, with both fighters fairly rested from the previous round off, Hopkins and Eastman went toe-to-toe with the Executioner getting the better work in. However, in the remaining minute both fighters simultaneously landed a crushing right hand upstairs to knock both fighters off balance. Eastman fired back first with another right, and Hopkins was right there to counter with another hook upstairs that landed flush on Eastman’s cheek. With the great exchange of power shots, neither fighter wanted to see an end to their handy work, and continued firing off wild leather even after the bell, forcing Caiz Jr. to enter danger territory and physically break them apart.
In the ninth round, Hopkins landed a nice left hook to Eastman’s face, but could not add any more leather to solo punch, as Eastman was there to throw an overhand right that missed the top of his opponent’s head. While the two fought in the center of the ring with seconds left in the round, Hopkins caught Eastman with a crushing right hook upstairs when Eastman missed his target at his opponent’s head. As the bell sounds, Hopkins got off a final left hook upstairs to take the round against Eastman.
The Executioner was clearly out boxing the Battersea Bomber in the tenth frame landing single jabs to the face of Eastman. Hopkins also scored points by countering Eastman’s attack with right hooks crosses upstairs. Hopkins best work was to land a crushing hook upstairs, and then get out of the way before Eastman could counter with any shots of his own.
The first of the championship rounds had Hopkins once again outjabbing his opponent and landing the cleaner shots upstairs. As the two fighters fought close, Hopkins had the best success landing hard crisp jabs and uppercuts to Eastman, while the Battersea Bomber felt it wisest to toss out as many wild punches upstairs missing Hopkins with every one aimed his way.
In the twelfth and final round, both fighters came out firing right hooks to each other’s head that landed cleanly upstairs, but Hopkins once again had the most success when he landed his leather in single doses. His best were his right and left hooks that easily found the head of Eastman, but in the final minute, both fighters hung on close to each other landing short jabs and uppercuts to their heads with minimal effect. Hopkins got Eastman off balance with a quick jab to his face in the final seconds, but the Battersea Bomber did not have time to counter as the bell sounded to end the fight.
When the judges had their say, they gave Hopkins his 20th successful defense with the scores of 118-110, 117-111, 116-112. Hopkins improves to 46-2-1 (32), while Eastman drops to 40-2 (34).Taylor Annihilates Edouard in Three
Since neither Jermain Taylor nor Daniel Edouard had a loss on their record walking into their fight Saturday night, both fought tentatively for the first minute of the opening round, until “Bad Intentions” Taylor landed a huge right hook the head of his opponent. Edouard countered with a shot upstairs of his own, but missed the quicker Taylor.
Edouard landed the first leather in the second frame in the form of a quick jab upstairs, and Taylor was right there to counter with a quick one-two of his own. With the fight entering the phone booth for most of the first half of the round, referee Ray Cornona had his work cut out for him as he was forced to break the two fighters up on more than one occasion. However, once they were free, Taylor and Edouard went head-hunting landing clean shots upstairs with hard right and left hooks.
Taylor caught Edourard with a crisp short left as he was coming out of his corner for the third round, but Edourard came back with a hard left hook a minute into the frame. However, with less than a minute remaining, Taylor caught Edouard with a beautiful combination that included a lead left jab, followed by a hard right hook, ending it with a massive left hook upstairs. This clearly hurt Edouard who retreated to a neutral corner, but Taylor quickly caught up with his stunned opponent and continued to unleash left and right hooks upstairs until Corona stepped in at 2:26 of round three to once again give Taylor his 17th KO. Taylor remains undefeated with a record of 23-0 (17), while Edouard drops his first with a record of 16-1-2 (9). Afterwards, Taylor told the media that he looked at this fight as an audition for bigger things to come, and that being a prince is okay, but he wants to be the king.Lovemore N’dou Gets Off Mat Twice to Excite Crowd in Loss to Witter
After a tumultuous week of this fight being on again – off again, the Black Panther finally got into the ring with Junior Witter and showed he was ready to take on the best in the junior welterweight division. N’dou beautifully dodged the normally elusive fighter’s punches in the first half of the opening round, and countered with a shocking right hook that stumbled Witter to the corner ropes. Witter fought back, but N’dou got Witter off balance again in the closing seconds of the round with a hard right upstairs.
Having lost the first round, Witter came out much more aggressive in the second round jabbing N’dou, and landing quick combinations upstairs. However, in the third Witter fought with hands dangerously low at his knees, relying on his quick movements to avoid the Black Panther’s hard hooks. At times it worked for the southpaw, but at times N’dou was able to land a wild left hook to the side of Witter’s head. With seconds left in the third round, Witter forced N’dou back against the ropes and landed a nice left uppercut that put N’dou off balance and onto the mat. N’dou quickly rose and went back to his corner as the bell sounded to end the third.
Witter tried to land that uppercut again in the fourth frame, but N’dou caught on to the Brit’s tactics. After missing with a wild left to counter Witter’s combinations, N’dou was caught with another left by Witter, this time in the form of a hook upstairs, to put the Black Panther on the mat for the second time of the night.
The fifth round had Witter attempting to land his deadly uppercuts again, but N’dou caught his opponent with a crushing right hook to put the Brit off balance. N’dou fired of another hook, this time a left, and landing it flush on Witter’s head. Witter spent the remainder of the round keeping N’dou close inside and landing soft jabs at him until the bell sounded.
N’dou was caught with a crushing right in the opening seconds of round six by Witter, which stunned the Black Panther, and resided to the ropes while Witter landed more quick leather. However, N’dou came back strong in the remaining moments, landing monstrous rights and left hooks flush on the side of Witter’s head. N’dou was swinging for the fences and landing most of them upstairs, and awed the crowd with each one that crushed the side of Witter’s face. Witter remained upright and surprisingly was able to counter with soft jabs, after the punishment he took from his opponent.
N’dou came out right where he left off in the previous round, swinging hard at the head of Witter. The Brit did a little showboating in the middle of round seven by winding up his punches, but N’dou would have none of it. The Black Panther smashed Witter’s head with hard left hooks and crushing rights, forcing Witter to only toss out jabs and attempt his previous knockout punch, the uppercut, but to no avail.
The first punch N’dou landed in the eighth, was a crushing left hook upstairs that shook Witter. He countered with a combination of jabs, but N’dou put his opponent against the ropes and landed another left hooks upstairs. This time Witter held N’dou in order to bring a halt to the punishment he was taking, and the referee broke them up. Witter came back towards the end of the frame with more jabs, but it was now apparent that N’dou was truly having an effect on his opponent.
Showing no signs of growing tired, N’dou kept coming at his opponent with hard shots upstairs, but Witter used his quickness to avoid most of the Black Panther’s hard shots in the opening moments of round nine. The two fighters danced in the center of the ring during the middle portion of the round, but N’dou came back strong in the remaining minute putting the Brit in trouble with hard quick hooks and crosses upstairs. With seconds left, N’dou came on strong with more hooks, while Witter was content holding onto the Black Panther in order to avoid any more punishment.
Clearly the fresher fighter, N’dou came out strong in the tenth landing more of his hard hooks upstairs, but Witter brilliantly countered with a massive left hook upstairs which stunned N’dou and had him on the ropes protecting his target. N’dou was still covered up, and sprang up to once again go on the offensive. However, knowing he had hurt his opponent, Witter had the momentum behind him to land quick jabs to the head of N’dou.
The two fighters took most of the eleventh round off as they both had given the crowd at the Staples’ Center an amazing spectacle, and in the twelfth and final round, Witter must have thought that he was well ahead on the scorecards as he ran for the first half of the round. To the dissatisfaction of the crowd, Witter avoided N’dou’s offensive attack by getting on his bicycle, but the Black Panther was able to land some hard shots upstairs whenever he was not having to chase his opponent or get out of a clinch. Witter threw his best shot of the round in the closing seconds in the form of wild left, but it had a better chance of hitting the judges than it did N’dou. The Black Panther tried to counter with an overhand right, but the momentum of Witter’s put Witter on the floor since he missed his target.
When the judges had their say, one had it 115-111, while the other two saw the fight 114-112 all for Junior Witter. The decision was not met to the delight of many in the crowd as it was N’dou who showed more heart and sportsmanship in the twelve round battle. Regardless, Witter improves to 31-1-2 (19), while N’dou drops to 39-8-1 (25).
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