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March 10, 2013

By Rick Evans

Bernard Hopkins W12 Tavoris Cloud... Bernard Hopkins added to his first-ballot Hall-of-Fame legacy on Saturday by scoring a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  In doing so, Hopkins once again set a new standard for excellence in athletics at an advanced age, eclipsing his own record from 2011 by becoming being the oldest man (48) to win a recognized championship belt.  Hopkins claimed Cloud's IBF light heavyweight championship by official scores of 116-112 (twice) and 117-111. From the opening bell, Hopkins (53-6-2 with 32 KOs) was in control, dictating the pace to the 31 year-old Cloud (24-1 with 19 KOs). Hopkins used his jab and evasiveness to engage and disengage at will. A recurring theme throughout the twelve rounds was Hopkins circling to Cloud’s left, thereby lessening the away the threat of Cloud's powerful right hand. Time and again, Hopkins made Cloud miss badly with a big punch, and put himself in prime position to follow with a counter flurry.  This seemed to dishearten Cloud. Round six was a big round for the Executioner, who cut Cloud above the eye with a left hook. Cloud complained to referee Earl Brown that he was cut by an elbow and Brown ruled it was due to an accidental head butt. HBO replays showed Hopkins opened the cut with a punch, not a butt or an elbow but the officiating error did not affect the outcome of the fight.  Round eight was the best showing for Cloud, who landed his most effective shots and for those three minutes, got the best of Hopkins in most of the exchanges. However, Cloud was unable to maintain the momentum as Hopkins once again took control in round nine and returned to the same pattern of controlling the distance and making Cloud look amateurish by missing punches and leaving himself open to the counters of the ageless wonder from Philadelphia. Afterwards, Hopkins told HBO analyst Max Kellerman that he will continue to fight and hopes to fight again in Brooklyn.  source: hbo world championship boxing

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